I moved to Dubai from Kenya in 2010 when I got a job with a large corporation. This was quite exciting for me because the salary was ten times more than what I was earning back home. It was also an opportunity for me to travel out of Africa for the first time, so I had to take it.
Moving away from my family was tough in the beginning because most of them were against my decision to move to Dubai. Most people in Kenya think that everyone who goes to Dubai is going to become a house maid or a slave; and many of them receive negative news about people living in Dubai; so I had to convince my family that I was going to be okay.
Luckily, everything turned out well, and when I went back home to visit after my six months work probation my family were happy with my decision.
Kenya v Dubai: An Expat’s View
Comparing Dubai to other cities I’ve visited and lived in as an expat, I would say it was very easy to adjust. My main work demands right now in Dubai are based on my African Hair Salon and African Cooking (so typical I know!), which helps make me feel like I am home.
There are disadvantages and advantages however to living in Dubai.
An advantage, is that it is very safe. I’ve forgotten to lock my car so many times and haven’t had anything stolen. Of course, there are a few cases of crime, but compared to other countries I would say the United Arabs Emirates is safe.
And contrary to what people think, there’s a great night life in Dubai; the beaches are amazing; and it really is a great shopping destination.
One thing not to mess with here, is the summer heat. That heat can take your skin off!
The thing that I struggle with the most however, is that Dubai is still on the more racist side of the world. This is where your skin tone and your passport can either land you an amazing job or force you to get a crappy one.
The Benefits Of Moving To Dubai
Looking back now. I’m grateful I took the chance because 6 years later, I’ve met a lot of nice people; I’ve traveled to more than 40 cities, and interacted with people from countries I had no idea existed like Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.
The best part of being an expat in Dubai however, is the massive career opportunities, the travel choices and meeting different people.
Dubai was my stepping stone to my now crazy travel life.
I have worked in 7 Star hotels and met celebrities I have only seen on TV. I’ve also worked with one of the best Airlines in the world and met even more amazing people.
I had the chance to meet my husband in London, who loves traveling like me; so our first two dates were in London, the 3rd date in Paris, the 4th in Amsterdam, the 5th in Munich, the 6th in Dubai, the 7th and 8th in Barcelona; and a few more in Nairobi, Prague, and the list can go on and on.
We now have a baby boy and are trying to figure out how to continue the travel lifestyle with him.
I don’t think I would have done anything different with my life to be honest. I probably would have started traveling earlier than 2010 though, because then I would have covered more countries by now.
The Expat Journey Continues
What is the next step?
To travel around Asia and Africa because I’ve covered most cities in Europe and some in America. I would also like to live in one Asian country for at least a year. So hopefully this all falls into place.
For more expat inspiration, check out Mandi’s story about following love from the USA to Australia. It is a great read!