Practical information

In this section you can find practical information, useful apps and advice for finding your way around the city. 

Convenience stores

Grocery shopping has been covered in the Living in Dubai page under budgeting, which discloses necessary information on expected spending, grocery shopping providers and online delivery for supermarkets such as Carrefour, Waitrose and others.

You can find everything you might need in a hypermarket, but some might be too far away, or you may only need to buy a couple of items.

For these cases, you can get what you need from convenient stores available near your accommodation or our campus, such as Zoom and CircleK.

Shopping and retail

Dubai is the shopping capital of the world, hosting a month-long shopping festival and being home to the largest shopping mall in existence, The Dubai Mall. There are also numerous specialist shops, outlet malls, traditional souks and flea markets to enjoy. 

Most items are only a mouseclick away, as e-commerce companies such as Amazon, Noon and Namshi all deliver promptly within Dubai. 

Phone and internet

High speed internet is provided in the UAE by local providers like Du and Etisalat as well as internet packages for your mobile phones through contracts, pay-as-you-go services and customisable packages.

High-speed internet is available for all students and visitors all around the main academic building on campus.

You can acquire your sim card from the following providers in the UAE. You will need your EmiratesID* as proof of your residence.

You can acquire a tourist sim card when you arrive at the airport from one of the local providers below to get you through the first few weeks before you obtain your residence card.

Tourist sims can be find when you arrive at the airport. See here for examples of available packages:

Sim cards are available throughout the country in supermarket, convenience stores and service providers stalls.

*Obtained after the visa process is complete.

Police and personal safety

The UAE is one of the safest countries in the world, and Heriot-Watt University, Dubai is committed to ensuring the very highest standard of safety of all of our students.

Below, you can find important information for emergency and non-emergency numbers for on-campus and off-campus enquiries. These numbers are important, so please familiarise yourself with them.

Emergency numbers:

  • 999 for Police (or 911)
  • 998 for Ambulance
  • 997 for Fire Department (Civil Defence)
  • 996 for Coastguard
  • 991 for electricity failure
  • 922 for water failure

You can also follow the PAF (Police – Ambulance – Fire department) acronym for ease.

  • 999 Police
  • 998 Ambulance
  • 997 Fire Department (Civil Defence)

Aside from emergency numbers, residents in the UAE have access to the non-emergency service by the police if you need police assistance that is not urgent. You may contact the non-emergency number on:

  • 901 for police, non-emergency enquiries

Campus safety

We are committed to ensuring the health and safety of all our students. More information can be found on our Health and Safety page.

While the University will do its upmost to ensure that the campus is safe and secure, there is also a need for you to take responsibility for staying safe.

For on campus safety, please download the SafeZone app to report any emergencies. Familiarise yourself with the app and refer to it for any emergency.

Useful apps and websites

Below, you will find many useful local apps and websites that come in handy for deliveries, transportation, shopping and more.

Food home delivery apps
Among other apps, these are the top providers for home delivery of your favourite restaurants and your companion in exploring new cuisines!

By public transit or taxi, these apps will be your guide around Dubai:

Government services
Government services in Dubai are interconnected and allow you access to many services without needing to visit any branch unless necessary.

News sources

All news outlets have their respective Instagram and Twitter accounts for ease of access.


The Road and Transport Authority (RTA) is the authority responsible for all public transport in Dubai including the Dubai Metro, Dubai Taxi, Dubai Tram, bus, and water bus among other services. Visit RTA for updated information on current public transport services or download the app from your selected app store.

Nol is your RTA eWallet. It is a prepaid account service, which allows individuals and companies to load money into their eWallet account as a payment method for RTA services instead of using cash or credit cards. Pre-loading is available in metro stations and as an online service through the RTA app.

Nol offers a personal card for students through Apply For A Personal (Student) Card. Follow the application steps and provide all the necessary documents found below for students (Ages six to 23 years old)

  • Valid Copy of Emirates ID*
  • School Letter
  • Personal Photo

For an updated map for all destinations from your location or pre-selected destinations, use the RTA app Wojhati to find your way around town using Dubai’s interconnected public transport network. Google Maps and Waze are other familiar apps that also provide vital information for transport around Dubai.

For taxi services, Uber and Careem pick services are available through the app on your phone.

*Obtained after the visa process is complete


Dubai is one of the most vibrant, forward-looking cities in the world, and our accommodation offerings will allow you to experience life here to its fullest. Visit our accommodation page for more information.