The United Arab Emirates is a unique country in which emigrants number is more than the indigenous population. This feature makes the UAE open and tolerant of other cultures. However, the religion of Islam largely determines the customs, communication, and ways of doing business. For this reason, despite the presence of many cultures in the country, it is crucial to take into account their national traditions when meeting with Emirati partners.
UAE residents are amiable and open, and therefore extended greetings and possible hugs are widespread. However, several important aspects should be taken into account during meetings. Women in the country are more modest, and foreigners should not be the first to initiate contact – only a woman can give her hand for a shake. At the same time, any Emiratis may consider the usage of the left hand by the foreigner as an insult since it is traditionally intended for hygienic purposes. People need to use their right hand for handshakes, taking business cards, transferring documents, and other similar purposes.
Religion also affects clothing choices, food, communication, and working days. Friday and Saturday are weekends, and Sunday is a working day. When choosing clothes, it is worth preferring strict not opening the body, and closed shoes. Although Emirates can tolerate foreigners choosing dishes not accepted in Islam, it is better to observe traditions. For example, it is recommended to avoid alcohol, shellfish, and pork, and on the holiday of Ramadan, adhere to a strict fast. In supporting the conversation, non-natives cannot criticize Islam or impose their religion. During negotiations and meetings, foreigners should be patient, as Emirates’ residents do not strictly adhere to the schedule. Simultaneously, it is necessary to monitor poses and gestures – for example, one should not leave the soles visible or point with a finger.
Thus, the UAE, as a rapidly developing and tolerant country, opens up many opportunities for finding business cooperation. However, the country’s culture is formed around Islam, which significantly affects all spheres of life. Before traveling to the UAE and meeting its residents, a foreigner should remember such essential aspects as the use of the right hand, the avoidance of particular food, and other features. Otherwise, there is a possibility of insulting and losing the ability to establish a business relationship.