United Arab Emirates

Location, Weather, and Physical Features

Located in the Middle East the United Arab Emirates boarder Oman, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia. The UAE has what is called a Sub-Tropical climate. Meaning weather here is sunny year round. During the "winter" months the air tends to be very dry and because of this there are frequent dust and sand storms. Maximum temperatures have been recorded at over 104 degrees Fahrenheit. The hotter months (from June to September) tend to have a higher humidity.

In the Eastern part of the country are the Al Hajar al Gharbi Mountains. The temperature levels drop dramatically in these parts due to higher elevation.

Language and Culture

The official language of the United Arab Emirates is Arabic. But there are many other languages spoken here. Including, Persian, English, Hindi, and Farsi.
Culture in the UAE is based heavily on religion. 76% of the Emirati people practice some form of Islam. Along with this majority come many of the countries norms and folkways concerning behavior.
One of the norms in the UAE would be having arranged marriages. Along with having their spouses chosen for them Emirati people are highly discouraged against marrying a non-national of the country.
Another common sight in the Emirates would be having large families. Families tend to average at 6-8 children per family. This is encouraged heavily by the government.
Extended family and close relatives often all live in the same neighborhood.
Because of these large family sizes it is common to see each household have at least one or two servants to help them out with day to day chores. These servants are usually of the Asian descent.
Children in these families are raised to respect their elders and to be skilled workers that can contribute to society in a positive way.
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Taboo's and Do Not's of the UAE

Similar to the way families are arranged and raised many of the social taboo's in the UAE are based off of religion.
According to the Islam religion it is forbidden to drink alcohol or eat pork. It is also considered a sin to eat meat not slaughtered in the Islamic Halal Method.
One thing that isn't necessarily considered "taboo" but isn't considered normal is the touching of opposite sexes in public. It is considered odd for men and women to make physical contact in public such as shaking hands.

Subcultures

The United Arab Emirates are broken down into two general subcultures.
The nationals (Al-Muwateneen) and the immigrants (Al-Wafedeen), or incomers. Emirati nationals only account for about 20% of the countries population, making them a minority in their own country.

Cultural Landscapes

One of the main cultural landscapes in the UAE resides in Sharjah, and emirate on the north east part of the country. In 1998 Sharjah was named the Arabic Cultural Capital. Art and culture in this area are heavily encouraged and very well supported.

Cultural Diffusion and Change

Before 1960 in the UAE there were very few hospitals and access to medical care was fairly limited in most of the country. But thanks to cultural diffusion and influence from other places around the world the UAE now has many hospitals and everyone is covered by the governments free modern heath care plan.
Another thing that's changed dramatically in the Emirates is the number of professional workers available. Over the years the UAE has worked to educate its people and now is one of the leading countries in higher education. There are over 18 universities and colleges in the country, allowing for more students to go on to higher education.