We caught up with Kim Tormey, a British expat currently living in Dubai and asked her for some top tips on life in the UAE.
Why did you decide to move abroad?
My husband and I decided to move to Dubai as we really wanted to make a big change and experience a new environment and way of life whilst we had the chance. We did not own a property in the UK and we do not yet have children so it was the perfect timing to make such a move.
What is the best thing about living abroad?
The experiences that we get to have. We live in a culturally diverse city which is fast paced and exciting. We have an amazing social life and have made so many new friends.
What is the best thing about living in Dubai?
The best thing about living in Dubai is the weather! Year round sunshine really does make a difference. If we are having a financially restricted month, it is nice to know that we can just go down to the beach or spend the day by the pool without having to spend any money.
What advice would you give to someone moving abroad?
I would tell anyone thinking of moving abroad to fully research the place that they want to move to, to ensure that it is somewhere that they could actually live on a day to day basis. Visiting somewhere on holiday is very different to living somewhere and working. I have seen a lot of people make this mistake which has resulted in them being unhappy and then moving home.
Do you have any tips for searching for a home in Dubai?
Don’t rush in to anything! Often Expats can be targeted in to paying higher rents or buying at a higher price because Estate Agents will assume that they are not familiar with the local market. Again, research is important for this and also speaking to people who have lived in the area for a while and have already been through the process for searching for a home. Their advice is vital and can help you to avoid paying over the odds.
What are the pros and cons of living in Dubai compared to the UK?
I find the lifestyle in Dubai much better than the UK. Of course the weather helps but there is more to it than that. There are so many expats in this city that everyone is in the same position, living away from friends and family and trying to meet new people and make new friends. Therefore, everyone is very outgoing and it doesn’t matter where you go for dinner or shopping, chances are someone will stop and talk to you. It is just a very friendly place to live. On the other hand however, it is hard to leave your friends and family and every time you visit home, saying goodbye all over again does not get any easier.
With the benefit of hindsight, is there anything you would do differently if you were starting the relocation process again?
No nothing. I think making this type of life changing decision is scary and can be overwhelming, but over thinking could stop you from following through and make you miss out on amazing opportunities. My philosophy is, give it a go and if it doesn’t work out, well at least you tried!
Do you have any general tips or advice with regards to moving to Dubai?
When moving to Dubai, it is often the case that it is easier to find work once you are already here, rather than trying to secure a job from your home country. For this I would advise contacting as many recruiters as possible before travelling because that way, you have a head start for when you arrive. I would also always advise that when deciding to move to Dubai, make sure that you research local customs and laws as although Dubai is a very liberal city, they do still have restrictions on certain behaviours and ways of life.
Read more about living in Dubai here: Moving to Dubai