Monday, March 19, 2012

I have arrived!!!

I recently joined Expat Arrival's roster of Abu Dhabi Blogs and did an email interview with former editor Stephanie Katz about life in Abu Dhabi.

Here is the transcipt:

Expat interviews – tell us about your expat experience…
Your answers will help inform and guide new and prospective expats in your city and your responses will be published on Expat Arrivals and linked to a personal profile where you can mention promote your company or blog if you wish.
You only need to answer the questions which are relevant!

About you
Q: Where are you originally from?
A: I am originally from Manila, Philippines
Q: Where are you living now (city + suburb)?
A:  I am currently living in the Tourist Club area of Abu Dhabi, UAE
Q: How long you have you lived here?
A: this coming August would be my seventh year living in Abu Dhabi
Q: Did you move with a spouse/ children?
A:  I am single :)
Q: Why did you move; what do you do?
A:  I decided to find a job overseas because back then I felt that my life had become one boring routine. I needed a change of environment and thought that if I get a job abroad not only will I get a considerable increase in salary, I would also have the opportunity to travel, meet new people, experience new things and live independently.

I am currently working as a bank customer service associate.

About your city
Q: What do you enjoy most about your host city, how’s the quality of life?
A:  what I like about living in Abu Dhabi is that there are a lot of things to do whether you have a lot of cash to spend or not.

-          There are various mall and hotels that offer a lot of options for dining, shopping and recreation. There are no shortages too of licensed hotel bars that offer alcoholic beverages.

-          Beaches and Parks that are easily accessible and are open to the public with minimal or no cost at all.

-          There are various social and civic organizations of different interest one can join. 

-          There are also a lot of places of interest (touristy spots if you will) to visit like the Grand mosque, Heritage village, Ferrari World and Emirates palace

-          There is a variety of recreational and fitness classes being offered

-          Abu Dhabi is also host to various concerts and sporting events

I used to think that this is a boring place, that ‘having a life’ out of work can be expensive, but I found out that you just have to be resourceful, there a lot of free magazines and websites that lists upcoming events you can choose from. From my point of view and experience life can be/is good in Abu Dhabi

Q: Any negatives? What do you miss most about home?
A:  the only negative thing is, that being Filipino, people tend to discriminate and stereotype us. I have always thought that the biggest challenge for a Filipino expat is to rise above and change the people’s negative perception about us.
Family is what I miss most about home

Q: Is the city safe?
A:  it is generally safe, I have never experienced or heard first hand from anybody I know about any incidents of violence

About living here
Q: Which are the best places/suburbs to live in the city as an expat?
A:  There are several of options to choose from. For a single expat I think it is better to live on island at the city center because:

-          everything is accessible – malls, parks, banks, groceries, restaurants, offices, parks and beaches can be within walking distance or a few minutes bus or taxi ride. You can easily go places even if you don’t have a car

-          there is a choice of accommodations available. Depending on your budget and lifestyle. You can rent a flat or villa, sometimes even share a partitioned room though you have to be cautious with this arrangement because it is considered illegal.

For families there is an option to live off island where rent is much cheaper

Q: How do you rate the standard of accommodation?
A:   the standard of accommodation is generally satisfactory but of course comfort largely depends on budget.
Q: What’s the cost of living compared to home? What is cheap or expensive in particular?
A:  compared back home the cost of living in Abu Dhabi can be cheap depending on one’s lifestyle. If you know how to handle your finances wisely you can even occasionally splurge on dining out, luxury items and travelling.  Rent will take the biggest chunk out of an expat’s salary – almost half at times. Local food items are affordable and transportation can be cheap if you have the patience to take the bus (for a 1 aed fare) as taxis can be a bit costly for daily commutes. Electronics are generally cheaper here than back home but books are more expensive.

Q: What are the locals like; do you mix mainly with other expats?
A:  most of the locals are friendly and I am quite happy that they acknowledge Filipino employees to be loyal and hardworking. I interact mostly with fellow Filipino expats but also have a circle of friends of various nationalities
Q: Was it easy meeting people and making friends?
A:  it was easy for me to meet new people and make friends because of work thru trainings and seminars. Outside of work I met new people by joining clubs and participating in social and civic events.

About working here
Q: Did you have a problem getting a work visa/permit?
A:  Unlike a number of people who take a chance of finding a job here with a tourist visa I was lucky to get a job offer via an agency in the Philippines so I didn’t have any problems getting the work permit.   

Q: What’s the economic climate like in the city, is there plenty of work?
A: with the current economic situation there are some companies that are laying off people or doing without hiring new staff. While there are available jobs I would not say there are plenty.
Q: How does the work culture differ from home?
A:  I would have to say that the work culture here is not as stern as back home – here we could call our bosses by their first name and assert our opinion (sometimes even aggressively) without them taking it as an insult or it being disrespectful and at the end of the day share a smile and be back to a cheerful atmosphere.

Q: Did a relocation company help you with your move?
A:  we did all the arrangements of relocation ourselves though to ease the transition our company provided us with 15 days hotel accommodation upon arriving in the UAE. In the following years, whenever we moved apartments we would just hire moving vans and do the packing ourselves

And finally…
Q: Is there any other advice you like to offer new expat arrivals?
A:  aside from making sure that they are not being shortchanged in terms of their total compensation package, I would advise them to just enjoy all what your host country can offer, explore it and get to know it - make living abroad an adventure!



    1. it is the sad truth, that is why I often tell people who come to me for advice to avoid recruitment agencies as much as possible - if they ask for money at any point be weary and cautious, placement agencies should get their commissions from the prospective employer not the applicant.

  2. You have shared very nice info i like it very muce because you learn us for visa interview.An
    Abu dhabi tourism d you tell easy way to getting visa .Thanks for great info .

    1. thanks!!! I hope you cinch that interview and get the visa!

  3. Excellent Job! Thanks for creating a sensible topic that suits the taste of your readers. Keep up the good Work.

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  4. Traveling i love it.There are so many beautiful place in the whole world but i specially like

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