Rupal Bhatikar - Expat in Dubai, UAE
We’ve had the chance to talk to Rupal Bhatikar, 30, an Indian expat who has moved to Dubai with her husband. Mrs. Bhatikar who has been living there for more than seven years, now works as a brand marketing manager and blogger.
Read more about her experiences in the full interview below.
Q: Where are you from originally?
A: From the coastal state of Goa, India.
Q: What made you move out of India?
A: Better career prospects in Marketing and inclination to be exposed to a multi-cultural city and its ways.
Q: Where are you living now? How did you come to choose this new country of residence?
A: Dubai, UAE.
Q: How long have you been living in Dubai?
A: More than seven years.
Q: Are you living alone or with your family? If yes, how are they adjusting to the Expat Lifestyle?
A: Living with husband. We met and got together in Dubai (he’s lived here for 8 years).
Q: Do you miss home and family sometimes? How do you cope with homesickness?
A: All the time, even after seven years it never gets easier to be away from loved ones. Especially when you miss out on experiences that you can’t be a part of due to the distance. We cope by making a conscious effort to be in touch more – chat, social media, phone calls, video calls make it possible.
Q: What do you think about the locals?
A: They are very friendly and have embraced the expats into their society.
Q: Was it easy making friends and meeting people? Do you mainly socialise with other expats in Dubai? How did you manage to find a social circle there?
A: Making good friends takes time and effort. For us, it’s been through mutual contacts, friends of friends and common interests. We socialise with expats and locals alike.
Q: How does the cost of living in Dubai compare to your home?
A: Dubai is definitely more expensive than living in Goa. But offers more choices and a better standard of living. Since there’s no income tax, the salary goes further.
- Q: How much is a cup of coffee?
A: About $3 - $5.
- Q: How much is a meal in an inexpensive restaurant?
A: You can have a cheap and cheerful meal for as little as $2.
- Q: How much is a meal in an expensive restaurant?
A: The sky is the limit!
- Q: How much is a bottle of wine? How about a pack of cigarettes?
A: Alcohol is more expensive here than in most countries. No idea about cigarettes.
Q: Do you have any tips for future expats when it comes to opening a bank account in Dubai?
A: Plenty international/local banks here in Dubai. Find out the paperwork needed and submit. It is pretty simple.
Q: How will you describe your experience with government paperwork such as applications for Visa and work permits? Why is that so?
A: Work permits/visas are sponsored by companies you work for. And in turn, you can sponsor your own family/dependents.
Q: Would you say that healthcare in Dubai is reliable? Any preferred clinics or advice for expats?
A: Yes, Very reliable.
Q: Did you secure a health insurance in India or Dubai? What should be the essentials in the coverage for expats, in your opinion?
A: Host country, insurance has complete coverage.
Q: What was the most memorable about the packing and moving process to Dubai? Which was the mover you chose and how was your experience with them?
A: Moved to Dubai with nothing but a bag full of clothes and all my books! Thoroughly enjoyed the process of making a home here – plenty of lovely stores to find things for the house
Q: What is the biggest challenge that you have faced as a new expat?
A: Being homesick and the time it takes to develop a strong support system here through making friends.
Q: What do you think are the positive and negative sides of living in Dubai?
A: Positive – it offers great career opportunities, being central to the world makes it so easy to travel.
Negatives – Summer months from April – Sept get very hot ( it is a desert after all)
Q: What are the best things to do in the area? Any particular recommendations for future expats?
A: Dubai is great for sampling multi-cultural cuisines and cultures. Lots of recommendations up on www.foodienfabulous.com.
Q: Do you have plans to move to a different country or back home in the future?
A: No plans for moving back to home country. Would consider moving to a new place if the right opportunity comes along.
Q: What tips will you give to expats living in the country?
A: Make the most of your time here – mingle with people from all walks of life, so you’ll leave richer in experience.
Q: Do you have favourite websites or blogs about Dubai?
A: www.mycustardpie.com for a slice of Dubai life!