You’ll definitely feel uncomfortable by the stares you’ll get from men who find the sight of women’s thighs, knees, lower legs, shoulders, and bare arms attractive.
If the stares don’t put you off, you’ll likely be deterred from dressing like that due to the AC that is on a permanent arctic blast setting in the buildings around town. There are some amazing people here who will support you as you find your way.
None of these negatives are, in my opinion, a reason to forgo living in the UAE or anywhere else abroad. I do not have to wear an abaya or cover my hair unless I go to a mosque.
At the beach or an area where mostly expats will be, it’s fine.
But some malls and other places where conservative Muslims are will have dress codes and will politely and discreetly ask you to cover your knees and shoulders if you’re not dressed appropriately.
They likely don’t identify as “Black”, but I’m going to go ahead and include them in the diaspora. Now, I will backtrack and say that everything isn’t peachy keen here.
In Abu Dhabi, most of the American teachers are Black women. But here, in these United Arab Emirates, I’m American first. There are small groups of Black women who are involved in a certain underground industry in the UAE. The key is it rarely happens, so mostly I’m treated with respect.
While the culture means you may not have much interaction with Emiratis, I have found that the younger Emiratis who are less conservative are relatable and open to engaging with foreigners like me.