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A Filipino Expat Moving First Time to Dubai – UAE

Dubai Marina at day

You probably have wondered and think about the idea of moving to Dubai. Let me share my experience on how I made it through in setting foot in the glamorous emirate which is Dubai. Just a heads up – some confuse Dubai as a country however it is not a country. It is one of the seven emirates that make up the country which is United Arab Emirates.
Seven months ago , I made a very important decision which I know would greatly change my life. The plan was to work in Dubai – leaving the comfort zone that I have grown up with. With the support of my dear brother I was able to received my Visit visa quickly as expected which took a month to process.

The idea is to come to Dubai under a Visit visa and to find a job while using a months duration. You can also choose for more than a month and may need to pay for extra. Most cases, some will just extend another month and pay for it.

The thought of moving overwhelmed me and as I draw closer to my departure date I felt anxious and nervous. Reality hit me the moment I received my itinerary, for me there is no backing out. In no time I will be leaving my family and friends not seeing them for 2 years or so whatever the future holds.

I was quite prepared for the decision I made. I wanted to achieve the experience of being alone and independent in a foreign land. The thrill and excitement of living is ahead of me. I wasn’t sure on how my life works once I arrive but I aways think: “I will cross the bridge when I get there”.

I felt my heart sank as I stepped in the airport terminal in Cebu and bid farewell to my mom, sister, aunt, and the rest of my family. I cant stand to watch their faces that it made me cry as I was sitting in the boarding area.

I took the connecting flight from Cebu to Hongkong and Hongkong to Dubai. Total time duration from Cebu to Dubai took roughly eleven hours.

I am boarded in a Cathay Pacific airline, the plane is huge and is so insanely cold that I can barely sleep. Fighting the urge to get some sleep I ended up watching a film. I entertained my self by constantly checking the small LCD screen for the distance, altitude, estimated time of arrival and the location we are in.
Flight attendants are nice and approachable and have kept supplying us food. Unfortunately, none of the meal served is appealing for my palate. The only thing I managed to have was the hard baguette and butter.

Finally, I arrived safe and sound through a long and stressful journey. I looked down to the surface to mark my first step in UAE. The airport is so wide and spacious but Hongkong is the far most biggest that I’ve seen.

All passengers bound to Dubai are required to queue for eye scan and to have our passport checked and visa. These are mandatory in entering Dubai as it records individual identity.

My brother Manuel (Kuya Jun-Jun) waited for me outside the arrival area. I am so pleased to see him again. It was like 3 years that we’ve been apart and at last I get to finally reunite with him and his wife, Kathleen. It was still dark outide – around 4am as we headed out for a taxi to Sharjah, (a 30 minute drive from the airport) an emirate of UAE which is more conservative than Dubai. Then I thought this will be a bit boring to live by.

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