In June 2005 I was headhunted for the role of HR Director with a company based in Dubai, UAE. As a westerner, and an American, I was wary but intrigued by the uncertainty, the mystery, and the opportunity to explore unknown areas. I’ve never been one to shy from adventure.
The call came when I was already an expat enjoying my first overseas assignment, which started in 1995, based in London, but working across Europe. So this next move to Dubai seemed like a logical one. My plan was to work in the Middle East for 3-5 years then take an assignment in Asia but it didn’t work out that way. 9 years later I was still in Dubai running my own HR Consultancy and Recruitment Company.
My view on the Middle East, before the move, was mixed. On one hand I knew the UAE had not wasted any time or energy in reshaping and modernizing its infrastructure, making it home to more than 197 nationalities so I would be immersed with many ethnic and culturally diverse groups. That was what excited me as a potential place to live and work and, as it turns out I was right.
The neatest thing about the Emirates is how people of various religions and cultural backgrounds coexist peacefully while the country retains its personal charm and identity. What better place to start out, or pursue, or even continue your expat life!
The UAE has become a global magnet attracting people from all corners who want a taste of the countries glamorous lifestyle. The country provides all the economic and social benefits that non-expats can only dream of.
The Emirati people are warm, charitable, helpful and kind. Their hospitality is second to none making the country an easy global destination. It balances western lifestyle with the exotic mystery of the Arab culture.
As expats we are welcomed with open arms and very much appreciated for the various skills we bring to the Emirates and the commitment to be part of a growing nation.
The UAE has offered me opportunities in the past 9 years that would have taken me a lifetime in the west. I have friends from all corners of the world and I now own my own business with my own wonderful team of expats and all because I took a chance.
Challenge yourself in this multi-cultural melting pot and take your career to the next level like me and countless others have. Don’t think too much, just do it, you won’t regret it!