Expat Interview: A Muslim in Dubai
Posted by Dannielle Noonan
Dubai is a popular expat destination from people of most nationalities, and 12.5% of the UAE's population are from Pakistan. Arsh Azim took some time to share her experience living in Dubai on our expat blog after taking part in our twice weekly #ExpatHour twitter chat.
Tell us about where you’re from, where you have lived previously and where you live now
I from Pakistan and am currently living in Dubai, where I've been for almost 2 years.
Why did you choose to move to Dubai?
Well, there was no apparent reason for moving to Dubai in the beginning. It was just very convenient to come here. But yeah, I want to stay for a longer period (read: forever) after seeing the lifestyle here. It's the safest place in the whole world, I believe.
Before the move, which aspects of planning were the most stressful for you? (eg visas, relocation packages, insurance)
Insurance was the toughest but thanks to my company (where I am working) they provided me with a comprehensive medical insurance plan as part of my benefits package. As for visas, there are complications for single women coming from Muslim countries but eventually, they get it anyways. I didn't face much trouble because I only needed a tourist visa at first.
What has been the most challenging aspect of settling into life in the UAE? Does being Muslim make it easier, in your opinion?
The toughest part of getting settled here is the accommodation. You cannot buy a home of your own and you've to pay way too much in securities in the beginning, even if you're renting for an year or so. Well, being a Muslim, you have an advantage of having Muslim holidays :D But everyone here gets that so it's not much of a big deal. Yes, the Muslim community is here and they respect us a lot.
Do you have any funny stories to share about culture shock or integrating with locals?
Haha! I have way too many funny stories but non are related to cultural shock. I blend way too quick.
What’s the best thing about being an expat in Dubai?
You get to learn a lot. You get to meet many people every now and then and learn about their communities, cultures, nation, festivals, and what not. In Dubai, it's a multi-cultural place and we all get to celebrate their festivals which is the best way to know about various countries.
What is the healthcare like in Dubai for expats?
If you've got full health insurance, you're a star. If not, and your insurance covers just the basics, you may not be able to reach the specific hospital in time and could lose a lot of money in other hospitals or medical clinics. I've had big emergency cases twice and both times I ended up in the same hospital, who didn't cover my insurance and hence was totally devastated by the experience. They won't even let you in until you don't pay them which is sickening.
Tell us about your blog!
I basically blog about everything, share my heart out, write poetry, reviews (food, movies, people) and much more. It's like a versatile place and almost everyone would enjoy reading it. Here's the link
If you're moving to Dubai, your company will most likely provide you with health insurance to comply with the emirate's strict visa regulations. However, the minimum requirements may not meet your specific needs and your employer doesn't legally have to supply medical cover for your dependents. If you'd like some free, impartial advice about Dubai health insurance for expats working there, contact the expert team at Medibroker today.