Afraid to move to Dubai because you don’t think you speak good English? Don’t be. You will be fine. Honestly, if I can survive Turkey not knowing any Turkish and master the language, you can certainly do it in Dubai!
My biggest advice for anyone in another country where they are trying to learn the language is to not worry and be confident. You will make mistakes, but so what. So does everyone else when they speak and write. Just roll with it and be open to whatever comes with that.
Just as there are Arabic lessons here, you can also take English lessons if you want to perfect your English. There are also very good classes for beginners.
And believe me, you can’t make more of a fool of yourself than I did in Istanbul! Not knowing the language somewhere always makes things more challenging, but also funny. At least in my case it did – and on several occasions, but I will leave you with one for now.
When I decided to move to Istanbul with my husband I genuinely tried to find Turkish lessons in Houston. At that time, there were none. The closest classes I ever heard of were at the University of Texas which was about a 3 or 4 hour drive away. I was a bit intimidated when I would listen to him speak Turkish on the phone. My ear had never heard Turkish before I met him so just taking on the daunting task of where words begin and end seemed like an incredible challenge.
So, when we arrived to Istanbul, I immediately started Turkish lessons. Like all typical beginner classes there is focus on the alphabet and the sounds of the language. For quite a long time the only thing I could really say was Turkçe bilmiyorum which means “I don’t know Turkish”.
I began working part-time and on occasion I would be home in the afternoon. One day the postman came by the door to bring me mail. I later learn mail is usually just left at entrance of the building for all apartments.
He had some papers and said I don’t know what, but it seemed he was asking for money. So being only familiar with the American post system I assumed he was asking for some kind of payment for a registered mail document or something official. It seemed to make sense. I didn’t think anything of it.
A few weeks later he came by asking for what I assumed was the same thing. I was kind of curious why, but I paid him anyway as we still could not communicate very well. By that time all I had mastered was counting. Just like the last time, I paid him how many ever million Turkish Lira was needed.
A couple nights later, my husband saw the receipts on the kitchen counter and started to laugh hysterically. He asked me where I got them. Ok, I was really confused now because I never knew registered mail was that funny, but now afraid of what they might be. He then explained to me that I had purchased tickets to the postmen’s charity ball!!! It was that weekend, did I want to go? I was so embarrassed, and even though I also found it hysterical I turned down my husband’s offer to escort me to the ball. I was also a bit annoyed that he did it to me twice.
Looking back in retrospect, as embarrassed as I was, I wish I had gone to the postman’s ball. If I had access to that now, I would go without thinking twice and dance the night away where ever it is that Turkish postmen go to dance all night. I only hope that our postman sold the most tickets for the ball that year.