This week as part of our Expat Interview series, Expat Hour spoke with Vicki from Essex who has started a new life in Dubai. She told us all about her work and social life in the UAE and shares an insight into what to expect when relocating to Dubai.
#ExpatHour is a twice weekly twitter chat for travellers and expats around the world. Ran by Medibroker, the UK’s trusted independent health insurance broker. Join us on Mondays between 12.00 – 13.00 and Thursdays between 14.00 and 15.00 GMT to share your views.
So Vicki, what was the biggest influence that made you want to become an expat?
Rising taxes in the UK, the lack of tolerance people have to one another in the UK and a need for a complete change of scenery/new challenge. We were also sick and tired of the terrible UK weather.
Why did you choose Dubai?
We had a holiday home here for 6 years previous to our relocation.
How long have you been in Dubai and how long do you plan to stay?
15 months and counting – we’ll stay at least another 2 years I think, but probably longer…
What was the hardest adjustment for you in your life in Dubai?
There wasn’t one! We already had a second home here, so it was an easy transition.
How do you find working/integrating in Dubai?
It’s different culturally but the Emiratis are friendly, as are the Expats. Integration has been easy and work is just a learning curve. I love the culture and the crazy ways of the Middle East, so I’m happy to take the quirks on board and make things work.
Did you consider using any professional services to ease the stress of your move?
Yes, we used an overseas relocation company to move our entire 2 bedroom house thousands of miles across the sea by boat!
What was your biggest worry about moving?
Our household items getting lost on the way.
What were your top 5 priorities when planning your move?
Because I’d read up on the UAE, it was getting all the relevant documents attested in the UK before leaving – Marriage Certificate, Degree Certificates etc. Also setting up an UAE bank account via our bank in the UK so that we had access to funds as soon as we arrived here full time.
What have you found most difficult about planning the move?
Having to wait 4 months for our stuff to arrive in the UAE and to get through UAE Customs.
What was your number one helpful resource for relocating?
The fact that we’d been coming here for so long. If I didn’t have that experience, I would have consulted expat websites and forums and visited the country a few times first to get a feel for how things work, where the supermarket is etc.
What is your most memorable moment so far?
My first official work meeting with 8 traditionally dressed Emirati men and women in the most expensive boardroom I’ve come across – at an oil company, naturally(!)
What have you gained from the experience?
We have a whole new group of friends, and love the warm weather. Being outside 80% of the time without a coat is more than enjoyable!
Is your new life how you pictured it?
Yes and then some. Some expats say we are in the ‘honeymoon period’ with the UAE, and if that’s the case, then so be it! We’re really enjoying being here.
What would you say to people dreaming of a move like this?
Do your research. Visit the country at least twice before you make the move and give it a go. What’s the worst that can happen – you try it for a year and if it doesn’t work, then back home you go.
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