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 Dubai:
Life in Dubai is way different than life back home. Although Karachi is the largest city of Pakistan, and the most inexpensive metropolitan city to live in the world, it lacks the sophistication of Dubai. Most people are in awe of the materialistic aspects of Dubai (the shopping malls, high rises, glitz and glamour). However, I really admire the discipline, law and order and the harmony between various expat communities.
Since the vast majority of the population is made up of expats, everyone can empathize with what you are experiencing. It’s been super easy to meet people here in a way that I don’t think happens in many other places. The only down side is that when you make friends, there is a good chance they will be leaving at some point – it’s a very transient population.
I didn’t have any problems getting used to my new life. I loved it from the start. But it took a while to lose the feeling that I was just on holiday. It took me about six months to get to know how things worked in Dubai and to stop having to plan everything meticulously and check the map when I stepped out of the door in the mornin
Adjusting to life here was quite easy. I think I would have tried harder to get any kind of role with Emirates so we could travel more! That way we could see family from London a bit more often as well. But it’s so easy to travel with Emirates to so many places from here
I found it very difficult at first – I missed the rain, the countryside… I’m getting used to it out here, but it still doesn’t feel quite like home and I don’t know if it ever will. Some expats talk about their several ‘homes’ but I’m struggling to embrace the idea – I think I’m monog-home-ous… The underlying attitudes and ways of doing things here are very different from the UK – which is of course what one should expect when moving to a different country… What makes it puzzling and, at times, frustrating, is that despite these fundamental differences the superficial appearance of life here is so recognizable.
Dubai is definitely warmer than Toronto and I certainly wouldn’t mind if I never saw snow again. Moving from a country with a lot of freedoms to one with significantly less freedom certainly isn’t an easy transition. Culture shock becomes so much easier to deal with once you start focusing on the positives.
Finding like-minded people is very easy. The community of expats in Dubai is socially active on different social media platforms you can easily connect with them and share thoughts. On Facebook groups, Meetup events, forums, hashtags, photos, etc. Language is a barrier sometimes but there’s always Google translate and online dictionaries to help you out.
I can say that I came prepared. Before my flight, I bought a guide book which I read from cover to cover! I also asked for advices from my cousins who were already expatriates in Dubai. I somehow knew the culture, tradition and the lifestyle.
I’ve been lucky that all my jobs have been very social so I was out and about meeting lots of people – having said that, it takes a while to filter through this mass of an expat community and develop real friendships. You need to be patient and give it a year.
With its high rises, swanky malls and grand aspirations, Dubai feels familiar to westerners. Scratch beneath the surface just ever so slightly and the differences are a stark reminder that Dorothy is not in Kansas anymore. In “normal” daily life the differences are minor or simply cute/quaint – where normal refers to shopping, socializing and travelling. The harder differences showcase themselves in business and in any dealing with officialdom.
For one thing, I was a frenzied media professional in India! Here, I am a stay-at-home mom, though the frenzy remains. Overall, life is much more stress-free in the UAE. As I grew up in Dubai, there was no culture shock in coming back. However, since our entire family lives away from us, I do miss them, especially during festivals.
Ah, Dubai is nothing like Auckland. Everything was just 'wow' at the beginning and it is still so, now. Not too much of a culture shock to be honest, we just love it here!
When I was living and working in Abu Dhabi, after my higher studies in India and the UK, I used to frequently take weekend breaks in Dubai. I think I was already thirsting to live in another country or city, so I was well prepared for the excitement and challenges of that move.
Coming from a small village in Germany, Dubai is the complete opposite of what I used to know. Streets are busy 24 hours; shops are open 7 days a week, for example. I had no cultural shock as I had come over from Kuwait, but life here has challenges as well.
The first thing I noticed when I arrived 11 years ago was how organized Dubai was. You couldn’t see a piece of litter anywhere, practically everything was in order, and the air was so clean! Needless to say, I was very careful to throw my rubbish in the trash cans :) And even when I would go out alone, I felt safe wherever I went because there were hardly any crimes or accidents happening in the streets.