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11 things I’ve learnt from 11 years living in the UAE

By | Saeed Saeed |

Time flies, even in a pandemic.

As February marks my 11th anniversary of my second stint living in the UAE – the previous was the first nine years of my life – I still recall landing in Abu Dhabi airport at the crack of dawn in 2011 excited yet uncertain of what this new adventure would hold.

I remember rationalising that if my job and colleagues were relatively decent, then everything else would be a bonus.

I got more than I bargained for. Friends and colleagues became family and I built a career allowing me to document the various developments of this most exciting and innovative of countries.

If I could change one thing, I would have told my younger self to relax more and enjoy the ride.

And so, let me pay it forward to the next generation of arrivals wondering how to make sense of and get more value from their big move, and offer some advice.

Here are 11 tips and useful life hacks to living and thriving in the UAE:

1. It takes time to settle

Living abroad can be both thrilling and terrifying.

The reason is that it affords the rare opportunity to start afresh.

Upon reflection, I was a blank canvas when arriving in the UAE in the winter of 2011.

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