Everybody who has spent time in a different country knows that expat life is not quite like anything else in the world. The confusion of the first few days and weeks, the slow, but steady process of acclimation, the little peculiarities and quirks that might strike you about your new surroundings: almost any situation you encounter can make for a great story. If you are so inclined and want to blog about it, of course!
Our InterNations recommended blog section features talented expat bloggers from around the world. Their offerings to the blogosphere have been selected for their great entries and high quality, whether they may be funny, informative, interesting, deeply personal or a combination of all of the above.
Let’s hear from our featured bloggers in Abu Dhabi:
So much happens, we joke it's like a television show; after hearing the latest outrageous development, my friends and I frequently put on a dramatic voice and start a sentence with: "on this episode of Abu Dhabi..."
Back home is different, totally different. I come from third world country and the difference is significant especially in terms of quality of living. Most of us are here (Filipinos) in UAE because of the financial advantage.
The expat community is amazing. We have probably made more friends here in 4 months than we did in years back home! Everyone has the same thing in common, it draws people together and makes you much more friendly than you would be back home. Generally people are ambitious, positive, independent and strong-minded or they wouldn’t be here!
Looking back, I had very little preparation. But I armed myself by not expecting much. That if we are not going to like it here, we can go back to the Philippines because it is not the end of everything anyway. That mind pre-set worked and personally that constituted a reasonable preparation.
I love my life in Abu Dhabi. Our family has a far more relaxed laid back lifestyle since we moved to our new home in the sand. Of course, there have been things we’ve had to get used to, but most of it has all been good things. I don’t know that it’s exactly bad to have to get used to people breaking their necks to try to help you every time you walk into a store or business.
One thing I would have changed is that I would have brought more of my regular clothes. I thought the culture was uber conservative and brought one suitcase of clothes, I definitely regret that. You can wear whatever you want as long as you maintain some level of modesty and respect for the culture.
The move from Dubai to Abu Dhabi was not too hard. I had already adjusted to living in a Muslim country so we were just changing cities. Abu Dhabi is a tad slower than Dubai but much easier to drive in. I relate them as Abu Dhabi is the older more serious sister and Dubai is the sassy younger sister. But they are both very lovable.
Of course, a little trouble and inevitable frustrations come along when you are getting used to new surroundings. It doesn't matter if you just moved to Japan, from Europe, across South America or simply to a new place down the street. Anyone that denies that is just kidding themselves. It's how you adapt to a new culture, new circumstances and a new life. That is worth documenting and that is why I blog.
Although it is a Muslim country I really did not feel any great culture shock when I arrived, only the blast of heat! We are very free to go about our day to day lives as normal. Some bureaucracy feels ridiculous but you get used to saying ‘well this is Abu Dhabi’ and ‘Inshallah’.
I wouldn’t say there was really any culture shock as I was already very familiar with the region having lived in the UAE previously. I also think that as long as you do some research before you come, and come with an open mind it’s pretty easy to accept the things that differ from home. You have to bear in mind that this is not the same as your home country, but that’s one of the great things you moved to discover!
The expat community here in Abu Dhabi is many and varied. It’s disproportionately enormous compared to the native population. Such a lopsided amount of natives has not been the case in any other country that I have ever lived in. It makes for a fascinating bunch, I will say. What I like the most is that few of the people I encounter are actually from here, and that is surprisingly equalizing. We are all new here and going through the same challenges. I think we see each other more as peers and pillars than people I encountered at home where, unfortunately, we so often see what sets us apart rather than what we have in common.
The expat community is actually very small, as everyone seems to know everyone. There are lots of likeminded people and lots of Facebook groups so you can connect with people. Blogs help too with ideas and advice.