Best of the UAE on National Day
Without jumping on the Expo 2020 bandwagon, it’s been amazing to feel the love for Dubai and the UAE this week, following the announcement that we had won the bid and a particularly celebratory national day weekend as a result. There have been plenty of people predicting the future and discussing the impacts of this week’s news and I’ll leave this to them, I on the other hand, have been inspired to share the love for the place I am proud to call home for anyone inspired to come visit us here.
This post is not about things to do in the UAE – I have already written plenty of those here and will continue to do so – this week I wanted to list my favourite things about Dubai and the UAE:
1. The mix of people
I am not ashamed to admit that I was an army child (maybe that’s where my love for travel was born). All of the moving around, combined with a short stint at boarding school, meant I had a lot more exposure to different nationalities and cultures than many others from a young age. However, these experiences pale into insignificance when compared to the variety of friends, colleagues and acquaintances i have now after eight years in the UAE. When working at Jumeirah alone, I was part of a workforce proudly comprising of colleagues of 113 different nationalities, and now I can honestly say that I have good friends from every continent, faith and background, and I am grateful to every single one of these people for the friendship, and for making me feel so much richer as a person.
2. The sense of belonging and ownership
After winning Expo, it was great to hear everyone share the news the same way – “we’ve won”. That sense of ownership and contribution was echoed in the resounding messages of thanks and support from Dubai’s leaders to all residents of the UAE in acknowledgement and acceptance of the part that each person has played in the monumentally rapid development of this city. Within this framework, the support extended between expats is also very strong, it is not unusual here for business associates to be welcomed into the bosom of the family or social circle much faster than they would at home – we al share the same frustrations and issues being away from home, and are happy to help others where we can.
3. The range of experiences available
The melting pot of cultures combined with a greater income for most residents of the UAE, and a leader with a vision have allowed the development of a thriving leisure, tourism and hospitality scene that enables residents and visitors alike to access a wide range of culinary, sporting and recreational experiences which they would possibly not have the same access to in their home countries.
4. The opportunities
From a professional perspective, the business landscape of the UAE has changed dramatically over the last few years, with an ever increasing number of entrepreneurs and start-ups. There are now more opportunities than ever for people to ‘go it alone’ and make their own destiny, and the Middle East is perfectly poised for innovation and change.
5. Safety and security
The UAE is one of the safest countries in the world. Crime rates are very low – there have been a fair few times over the last decade where I have left my front door or car door unlocked with no issue, I can leave my laptop in the car and not have it broken into, and my phone on the table when I wander to the buffet bar of a restaurant and not have it stolen. More widely speaking, the UAE does not suffer the same political problems of its neighbours, and therefore is a much more secure destination than some of the other Middle Eastern countries.
6. The proximity to the rest of the world
The UAE is a springboard to anywhere else in the world; its geographically central location on the global map, along with the number of international airlines flying through Dubai International Airport ensure that flights are generally easy to come by and at a reasonable cost for just about anywhere in the world. You can explore the rest of the Middle East, hop across to Africa or the Indian Subcontinent, and now even the further afield destinations of the Americas, Australia, China and Europe are readily available.
So there you have it, a brief snapshot of the reasons that I love living in the UAE, all in time to evoke a feeling of National Day pride this December 2nd. I’ll be celebrating at Dubai Yacht Club by watching the marine national day parade, whatever you’re doing, remember all the things you have to be grateful to this country for and enjoy!