Dubai is a special place – a global hub, a cosmopolitan city, a melting pot of more than 200 cultures that seems to effortlessly merge modern and ancient. There is nowhere quite like relocating to Dubai!
It’s a place where the diversity of cultures is present every day and everywhere around you at all times. Every office and business has a cultural mix that gives you diverse opportunities and connections you may not experience in other locations.
Taking the time to learn about the people you are working with – learning about their background, their challenges – and being there for them – is life-enhancing and invigorating. It’s one of the main reasons I have stayed here so long.
I decided on relocating to Dubai from North Yorkshire in 1985; and being here means I now have colleagues and contacts from right across the globe – people I have worked with, for or connected with through business. I have a truly global contacts book – all through living in just one place!
Until you experience relocating to Dubai first hand it is hard to describe. It’s a city that never seems to stay still, it is always changing and never sleeps – new buildings and attractions seem to appear all the time!
When I first arrived nearly 30 years ago it was very different – in fact it was still described as a hardship location and had none of the glitz and glamour that we all now associate with the region. These days some of the world’s biggest sporting events are here. The Dubai World Cup is a glamorous day out for fashion lovers and horse racing fans alike – not to mention golf’s Dubai Desert Classic and the Dubai Tennis Championship. But there are also many cultural events, such as the Dubai Jazz Festival, Dubai Film Festival and the Dubai Shopping Festival.
I couldn’t have imagined all that when I landed in the UAE as an accompanying spouse with two small children; but it’s been wonderful to see all the changes.
It took me less than six months to recognise that if it was to be a successful assignment for myself and the family I needed to find employment, rather than spend the time at coffee mornings and bowling leagues.
The biggest challenge was overcoming the misconception that women cannot travel or work in Saudi Arabia. Yes, the working practices are very different to the western understanding – however both local and foreign women can and do work. So you need to be open-minded and accepting of difference. But there’s lots of help available these days so I’d have no hesitation recommending life here.
Of course like many cities it can be a lonely place when you first arrive – it takes time and effort to meet people. But there are lots of social activities available in Dubai and a diverse range of cuisines to try, from the simple to the exotic.
Perhaps the hardest thing to get used to is the Friday-Saturday weekend; it’s so different to back home. But it’s part of my routine now and I feel very happy here. I’m proud to call Dubai my home!
Best places to eat:
Ravis Restaurant: it really is wonderful. A restaurant of international reputation where you can just sit on the side of the road and watch the world go by! Great curries and rotis, I definitely recommend it!
Your local Shwarma stand: The local version of a kebab but way better. They are all over Dubai and t
Best nights out:
Head to the peacefulness of the desert to watch the stars under the Arabian sky.
East at the top of the world in the Burj Khalifa
Best places to take a visitor:
For an abra ride along Dubai Creek
To wander through the streets and alley ways of the Gold Souk, the Spice Souk
To New Dubai – to see the amazing skyline
To the Dubai Fountains
If you would like to find out more about relocating to Dubai click here to read out settling in tips.