What Filipinos Should Expect Living in Dubai?

We might have different reasons why we took that brave move to fly in another country and live thousands of miles away from home. Either we are looking for adventure – new scenery, new life, new people, new environment. It might be a career move for some. Or the constant search for greener pastures and improve our quality of life.

Although our mind is already set with the move, it can’t be avoided that we will feel anxious, uncertain and doubtful if our decision is correct. Assimilating to a new country is not easy. Different culture, different language and you shouldn’t expect that life will be oh so rosy! You need to research about the country and see if you will still be interested once the excitement wears off.

Finding a Job
Unless you move to Dubai as a student or sponsored by your husband (or wife), then you will need to obtain a working visa to live legally in the country. Finding a job might not be easy. Your job prospects might not be ideal in Dubai.
Remember that this country welcomes millions of visitors a year and a percentage of them come here to try their luck as well.
You shouldn’t expect that you will find the same executive job you will be leaving behind.
You might be rejected several times. A lot of times even.
Just don’t give up. Faith and determination will go along way.

Filipinos are known to be hard-workers, diligent, and positive.
We are easy to get along with. However, other nationalities also have preconceived impressions of us.
– Most of our men are gay (oh yes! I was told this before)
– That all of us eat dogs
– Most Filipinas are cheap and always ask money from their (foreigner) partners.

I used to get irritated with these assumptions but living in this country for more than 10 years, I learned to just ignore them. There’s a lot of Filipino professionals in Dubai who earns a decent living, respected and praised by their employers. Those people who say negative things to us definitely don’t know us. And I don’t want to waste my time dealing with narrow-minded people. 

Once you are in Dubai, learn the law.
Ignorance of the law won’t exempt you from trouble.
Living-in together, indecent clothing and acts, overly display of homosexuality are big no-no in Dubai. We cannot insist on our ‘rights’ that we enjoy back home. Following a country’s rule should be abided by all expats.

One of the earlier adjustments I experience is following the Ramadan rules of no eating, drinking and smoking in public during daytime. Although these activities can be done in private I was so scared that I will subconsciously chew a gum or something. I have heard stories of non-uniformed police catching people smoking or chewing gums. But over the years, I learned to adjust. It’s not difficult and life doesn’t stop during Ramadan. We just need to respect our fasting Muslim colleagues and we should be fine.

Save
Dubai is a luxurious city and it is easy to get caught up with the shopping bug syndrome of most expats in Dubai.
Where can you find a country where there are several shopping events that it’s almost a national pastime? Where sales are plastered everywhere? Gadgets and appliances are cheaper? It is effortless to spend your money on shopping and eating out. And I don’t judge or blame these people. I’ve been there, done that. I always tell newbie Filipino expats to just enjoy it for a year or two. Shop for whatever you want may it be a new phone, a complete new wardrobe, upgrade your lifestyle.

But  one word of caution – don’t put yourself in debt.

Avoid purchasing things using your credit card unless you plan to pay off the full amount. A lot of people are in trouble because of their loans and credit card debts. Don’t be one of the statistics. If, in the unfortunate event, you are already in drowning in debt, please read my post on how you can get out of it

Again, save. We are not nationals of this country. Soon, we will all pack our bags and leave. And we don’t want to leave this country with just our luggage and no money in our bank accounts. Dubai is a land of opportunity. Take advantage of it. You might want to read on how you can save.

Lastly, be thankful. Sure you will be disappointed with a lot of things while you are here. May it be racism, low pay, traffic, weather, Salik, red tape and so on. But remember, you are here because of your choice. No one is stopping you to leave. Acknowledge that Dubai has been good to us that’s why we are all still here. Practicing gratitude will increase our life satisfaction. It vibrates good energy hence you will attract positive energy as well. Try to create good memories that you can bring with you once it is time to leave.

Are you a seasoned Filipino expat in Dubai as well? Do you agree with me? Share your thoughts!

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