7 April 2017

Thuymi - Expat in Dubai, UAE

Thuymi - Expat in Dubai, UAE

We’ve had the chance to talk to Thuymi, a Canadian expat who has moved to Dubai, UAE with her fiancé. Ms. Thuymi who has been living there for one and a half years is a professional traveller and now works as a digital marketing director in an Italian firm. 

Read more about her experiences in the full interview below.


Q: Where are you from originally?

A: I am from Montreal, Canada, first generation Canadian, as my parents, from Vietnam, moved there 40 years ago!


Q: What made you move out of Canada?

A: Life is too short to stay and make a living in one country. The UAE is my 2nd city where I’ve lived internationally.


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

A: Currently I live in Dubai, UAE, it is an amazing hub for travelling and it does help for the business!


Q: How long have you been living in UAE?

A: It has been one year and a half and we are loving it so far!


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

A: I live with my better half and we absolutely love it. It took a little while to adapt, but now we are so happy!


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

A: I absolutely do. Montreal is such a warm place and so are the people. To forget I try as much as possible to find a time to send them voice messages, I mean why not!


Q: What do you think about the locals?

A: They are lovely when you get to know them!


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: I actually found my best friend in Dubai because she was from Montreal (Quebec). It’s always great to have a Quebecquer friend that connects you to home if you know what I mean. As for friendship, people in Dubai tend to be quite busy, sometimes it’s hard to catch up with everyone, but once you find some great friendships, they will always be there for you no matter what! It is common though that in cities like Dubai, friends come and go…


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


  • Q: How much is a cup of coffee?

A: 5 US dollars, quite more than home!

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

A: 15 dollars (US) for a good all you can eat vegetarian curry!

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

A: Hey it’s Dubai, ENDLESS! But a normal expensive meal is minimum 40$ US.

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

A: Oh you pay mostly more than 100$US in Dubai for a bottle! I, unfortunately, do not smoke to know the cigarette pricing!


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

A: It is quite hard unless you have a business or you have a job! But then it’s easy peasy.


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

A: I think it is a hassle sometimes in terms of moving around and waiting for things to process. For my driver licenses switch as an example, I needed to go to the consulate to get a paper to confirm it is a real one! (This applies to the Canadians)


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

A: It is, I am completely satisfied. My advice is always to negotiate with your job for the best coverage and if your company isn’t good, get your own!


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

A:  Travel! Make sure it covers injuries when you travel out of the UAE!


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: We used a Vietnamese company as we were living in Ho Chi Minh City in the past. Can’t help much with this! When we arrived here, it was my partner’s school that took care of it. Oh about advice, that’s one… make sure your company pays such expenses!


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

A: Finding the good friends. People here tend to tag you from the first 2 conversational lines:

Where are you from?
What do you do here?

Pathetic but a real struggle!


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

A: It is such a great hub to live in Dubai. Easy to travel the world and life are at the end quite easy! The negative side is the relationships. People judge you from what you do and where you are from, which is something I am totally not respecting as a Canadian that was growing up being educated as everyone being equal.


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

A: You have to take a car to the dessert and do some camping! We always do it and also go to Oman for the mountains!


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

A: We will for sure go to live in another city!


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

A: Be honest. Because being honest will attract other honest people!


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

A: We actually don’t read many websites from Dubai, we are more interested in the world! Here is my website, by the way, www.adventurefaktory.com