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The City

A city of 1.2 million, Abu Dhabi is located on the southern coast of the Arabian Gulf. It is the capital of both the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and the United Arab Emirates. International residents from 120 countries make up 80 percent of the population and join the Emirati citizens who trace their history back to the settling of Abu Dhabi in 1760. You'll hear English, Hindi, Malayalam, Urdu, Farsi, Tagalog, and French spoken as often as Arabic in this global crossroads.  


Arabic is the official language of government and business in the U.A.E., although English is also widely used. All signs (road signs, stores, restaurants, etc) are either in English or both English and Arabic. It is quite easy to navigate the city using English. 

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Time Zone

The U.A.E. is in Greenwich Mean Time plus 4 hours, or 9 hours ahead of New York, Eastern Standard Time. During Daylight Savings Time, Abu Dhabi is 8 hours ahead of New York. 


December through March is considered the mild season with average temperatures ranging from 20 to 22 celsius (about 68 to 72 ferhenheit). August is the hottest month of the year with an average temperature of 40 celsius (104 ferhenheit). There is very little rain in Abu Dhabi from May to October; January is the wettest month, typically yielding about 22 mm (about 1 inch) of rain.

Ground Transportation

There is a city bus system in Abu Dhabi. Metered taxis are inexpensive and readily available throughout the city. The University provides shuttle transportation from the Saadiyat Island campus to various points of interest in the city including The Corniche, Central Souk, Al Wahda Mall, Yas Mall, and more.

Dress Code

Abu Dhabi is considered conservative but tolerant when it comes to dress. Given the diverse nature of the population, one can see many different types of dress: jeans, saris, business suits, dishdashas, and abayas. Visitors are free to wear the same clothes that they would wear at home, but men and women typically refrain from wearing excessively revealing clothing out of respect for the local culture and customs. For most of the year, lightweight summer clothing is suitable. Warmer clothes are needed during the winter months, especially in the evening. 

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