Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. This is but timely since few days from now I will have my first year in Dubai. February 21, 2015 when I first set foot in UAE, the new land for dreamers. As they say, it is now the #dubaidream and not the #americandream no more. I came with the purest intentions to start a whole new life filled with dreams for myself and my family. For a 24 year old young professional who literally left everything in the Philippines and started from scratch it surely was very hard.
With no family members and as little as 20,000 PHP/ 1,800 AED, I was able to find a bed space with 8 total strangers all of which are not cebuano or bisaya speakers. Never did I imagine that I will be living and learning with them my entire year. Finding a job was hard, at least a job that gives me higher than what I was receiving then and yes a lot of hard work was made to apply both online and walking. It took me several months to finally land a job that offered enough.
As a tourist visa holder, you are required to exit the country before your visa expires which means we have to go to Oman or Iran to renew or change our visa statuses from tourist to employment/ residential visa. The exit itself was a challenge not only physically since you have to travel by land for 12 long hours but it was expensive too,close to 1000 AED or 12,000 PHP. No one loves to exit but the best things usually come unexpectedly. I made a lot of good friends from those journeys, actually have found my closest buddy in thattook me several months to finally land a job that offered enough.
Here are some ways to be effective in Dubai.
1. Be prepared.
Be ready physically, emotionally and most especially financially. If you’d be trying your luck here, there should be enough for your daily expenses at least for 3 months.
60,000-80,000 PHP/ 5,000-7,000 AED for 3 months
bed space: 12,000 PHP/ 1,000 AED/ month all in (max for a bed spacer).
food and transportation allowance: 7,000 PHP or 500 AED
2. Discipline yourself.
Discipline yourself in everything. From doing your own chores to following scheduled cleaning rotation and even your behavior in the room. You should be responsible not to burden any one. You have to respect somebody else’s time and privacy(not everyone share the same time, others work as late as 2:00 am). Everyone is working and is as tired as you are.
**There’s pork in here and a lot of alcoholic beverages and yeah parties. These are commonly asked questions by my friends. Dubai and UAE in general is not made of deserts or camels alone. It is so much more progressive even in some first worldonce again,discipline is the key. You should be very responsible since they implement very strict rules.
3. Save,save and save!
Dubai has so much to offer. Everything under the sun, moon and the universe. Be sure to control yourself from buying unnecessary things (gadgets, shoes, shirts and other make believe necessities). Filipinos are known to be great spenders, famous for having everything that’s new and everything that’s branded. If you wish to enjoy now and stay longer in Dubai then you might do so by buying everything without investing to more profitable possessions.
Living abroad alone is a big stress. Demands from work, cultural diversity and some uncontrollable concerns at home are just few on the list. Boredom and sedentary lifestyle are also very common. While in Dubai, take advantage to have more travels since rates are so much cheaper and immigration is not as strict as ours. You can get to prime travel destinations such as Europe and Maldives for as low as 1, 500 AED or 16,000-`18,000 PHP inclusive of everything from fare to hotel accommodation. This doesn’t contradict to advise number 3 since this is such a very good investment. At the end of the day, memories do matter. Money can’t buy happiness but can it book you a ticket and let you travel and yeah, its the same.
Generally, I can say that the entire year I have had experienced was more of an adjustment period. There’s a very long way to go. More good and bad experiences to enjoy and overcome,part of growing as they say. If you’d be given the chance to live a life in Dubai, take it. So much to learn but most of them in a hard way haha (at least for the first few months). You will appreciate so many things; family, friends, your home city, simple joys and even the simplest gestures of kindness. You will meet a lot of good friends of different cultures, beliefs and nationalities. They too carry different experiences and that makes it extra exciting and valuable. Get togethers become extra special, it sometimes become necessary and yes people become a bit clingy haha. If I may say, all of those that I have gone through are worthy but not the “not so good experiences”. It taught me something but its something I wish not to try again. Life is fun and life is good. Everything happens for a reason for us to learn and for us to appreciate.
“Nothing beats a strong heart with an even stronger God”
Family is not always by blood, it’s some times more than that and most of the time, a feeling.
Behind this amazing and well developed nation, are handful of equally amazing hopeful and strong individuals….all over the world!
~Til next time~