Multi-tasking in the Middle East.
January 18, 2009 12:16 PM   Subscribe

Multi-tasking in the Middle East -- planning a trip to the region and have a few goals to accomplish. Besides being a vacation, this trip is also equal parts family reunion and cultural diaspora study (personal, not academic). Looking for tips on this kind of trip!

Most people asking questions about travel to Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Qatar, etc. tend to be contractors, workers, people looking to follow the money trail at an emerging center of the global economy.

Me? I'm trying to meet long-lost relatives from the Philippines -- cousins my age (late 20's) who moved to Saudi Arabia and the UAE because they found opportunities there that were more attractive than the U.S., Canada, and Europe. Ultimately, I'm interested in the macro story of Filipinos working abroad, and how our culture evolves and adapts to the countries we work in.

There are a lot of moving parts to a trip like this, so I'm in a research-gathering stage.

- At the minimum, I need to find a place to stay for 3-4 weeks. Staying with my relatives may not be an option. Are there any long-term stay arrangements? Rent a condo? Couch-surfing? Craigslist?
- Something "structured" would be helpful too -- it can be anything from a volunteer abroad program to an internship. Besides absorbing the culture, I'd like to be actively helping in a service organization, or learning something in a structured environment. (Universities are being built at a rapid pace there, and big institutions like NYU are opening campuses in Dubai.)
- Any professional events are also cool to attend. Media conferences, world expos, etc. Anything geeky, techy actually. Not sure if that kind of stuff has made it to the Middle East yet, but I'm sure there are at least a few in 2009. Knowing about these events could help me time when I plan to visit.

My questions are pretty broad, but any info is appreciated as I shape this itinerary.
posted by milkdropcoronet to Travel & Transportation (4 answers total)
Where in the region specifically are you headed? City-by-city info will probably be easier to provide.
posted by mdonley at 12:31 PM on January 18, 2009

Without the cities I cant do the search for you (to see if anything actually exists) but has a lot of listings for volunteer opportunities, speakers, events etc... all over the world. You might see what organizations have listings for at least something in the areas you´ll go to and contact them directly or check their webpage if you´d be interested as its possible they might not actively be updating the site with every opportunity.
posted by nzydarkxj at 1:37 PM on January 18, 2009

Yes, idealist is a great start!

Where I'm headed:
- Jeddah (Saudi Arabia)
- Abu Dhabi/Dubai (UAE)
posted by milkdropcoronet at 1:54 PM on January 18, 2009

Try It's the most active network in the UAE (specifically Dubai, but Abu Dhabi is also covered quite well). Lots of flat shares etc and forums to ask questions.
posted by Fezzer at 9:16 PM on January 18, 2009

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