7 March 2017

Bea - Expat in Abu Dhabi, UAE

Bea - Expat in Abu Dhabi, UAE

We’ve had the chance to talk to Bea, 27, a Filipino expat who has moved to UAE alone. Ms. Bea who has been living there for almost three years, now works as a nurse. 

Read more about her experiences in the full interview below.


Q: Where are you from originally?

A: I'm from the Philippines.


Q: What made you move out of the Philippines?

A: Job opportunity.


Q: Where are you living now? How did you come to choose this new country of residence?

A: I'm now staying in Al Ain which is a part of Abu Dhabi, UAE. I chose this country as I have a friend who used to work here but he's back in our home country.


Q: How long have you been living in UAE?

A: For almost three years and still counting.


Q: Are you living alone or with your family? If yes, how are they adjusting to the Expat Lifestyle?

A: I live alone.  I don't think I had a hard time adjusting. Before I made the move, I was already independent and I can easily adapt to any cultural differences.


Q: Do you miss home and family sometimes? How do you cope with homesickness?

A: Of course I do. It's either I call them back home or on Skype.


Q: What do you think about the locals?

A: Once you get to know the locals, they are really friendly.


Q: Was it easy making friends and meeting people? Do you mainly socialise with other expats in UAE? How did you manage to find a social circle there?  

A: Yes it is. I socialize with my colleagues and in the church.


Q: How does the cost of living in UAE compare to your home?


  • Q: How much is a cup of coffee?

A: A cup of coffee can cost as little as 2 AED from the small restaurants, and I must say everyone must try the karak coffee, up to 25 AED from your favourite coffee shops.

  • Q: How much is a meal in an inexpensive restaurant?

A: You can have as cheap as 3-5 AED for a shawarma or a paratha from the small restaurants, or up to 20 - 50AED in your favourite fast food store.

  • Q: How much is a meal in an expensive restaurant?

A: I can say around 100 AED minimum for buffet and it might be more than 300 AED.

  • Q: How much is a bottle of wine? How about a pack of cigarettes?

A: I don't drink nor smoke at all but I must say around 40-50 AED depending if it’s a wine, a bottle of beer whichever you like but I suggest to get an alcohol license before purchasing. As for the cigarettes, it depends on the brand. It can be 3 AED up to 10 AED.


Q: Do you have any tips for future expats when it comes to opening a bank account in UAE?

A: You have to compare all the benefits you can have especially if you have plans in getting a loan.


Q: How will you describe your experience with government paperwork such as applications for Visa and work permits? Why is that so?

A: I haven't encountered any problems with anything yet. If there's anything, I'm positive they'll be very glad to help you out.


Q: Would you say that healthcare In UAE reliable? Any preferred clinics or advice for expats?

A: It is! I do work in a healthcare facility and everything about here is insurance or else a reimbursement. So make sure you have one, it's too expensive for a consultation and not all medicines are over the counter. I don't want to be biased when it comes to my preferred clinic but anyone can approach me.


Q: Did you secure a health insurance in the Philippines or UAE?  What should be the essentials in the coverage for expats, in your opinion?

A: I got my insurance card from my company. I do have some insurance back home which is a sort of security when I get back home.


Q: What was the most memorable about the packing and moving process to UAE? Which was the mover you chose and how was your experience with them?

A: I don't need to move and pack at all. I did change my home for several times but it's just a few distance away and my things that time were just clothes.


Q: What is the biggest challenge that you have faced as a new expat?

A: The language and the extreme weather.


Q: What do you think are the positive and negative sides of living in UAE?

A: I can just wear my usual clothes when going out and everything you need is just around the corner. Negative side, what you usually do in your home country, you can't do it here so always keep in mind, follow the rules.


Q: What are the best things to do in the area? Any particular recommendations for future expats?

A: Al Ain is a small city, you won't get lost! You can visit Jebel Hafeet by afternoon then go to Green Mubazzarah for a change of environment.  You can go there for a camp or a picnic with family or friends!


Q: Do you have plans to move to a different country or back home in the future?

A: I haven't thought about it.


Q: What tips will you give to expats living in the country?

A: UAE is a great place to stay. You just have to abide by the rules.


Q: Do you have favourite websites or blogs about UAE?

A: I read mostly gulfnews.com for the latest news and some blogs related to the country.