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Frugal Expat

In our InterNations Recommended Blog section we let you take the spotlight! Expat life in general is, of course, a perfect breeding ground for great, user-generated reads, and life in Abu Dhabi makes no exception. Take your time and browse the great blogs showcased in this article!

Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Abu Dhabi, etc.

My name is Cyra Miles originally hailed from Philippines and I have been in Abu Dhabi since 2007.

When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?

I have been blogging since 2009 hoping that my blog can be a venue of information to help others.

Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?

Yes, it is entitled “How to settle overdue personal loans and credit cards in Abu Dhabi?”. I received many responses and somehow I am glad because my blog serves its purpose though I could not accommodate all the queries. 

Tell us about the ways your new life in Abu Dhabi differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?

Prior to moving to Abu Dhabi, I was in Dubai working for 5 years. Hence, the level of adjustment was not intense. It was about getting used to the slow pace lifestyle here in Abu Dhabi.

Back home is different, totally different. I come from third world country and the difference is significant especially in terms of quality of living. Most of us are here (Filipinos) in UAE because of the financial advantage.   

Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Abu Dhabi? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?

I am not quite sure how to answer this question.

Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?

As mentioned earlier, I was based in Dubai. Then in 2007, I had a job opportunity here in Abu Dhabi and was asked to come for an interview. I didn’t have a driving license yet so the only reasonable means was to commute through public bus. I left Dubai early without breakfast to catch my interview schedule.

My interview finished after noon and by the time I was starving already. I just remembered that it was Ramadan time wherein drinking and eating in public areas are prohibited. So, I headed to the Marina Mall hoping that there would be at least one coffee shop that is open. I have a history of passing out and that’s the least thing I wanted to happen that time. I had no friends in Abu Dhabi at all.

Well, luckily I found one shop – Dunkin Donuts – but it was for take away only. Now, I had food to pacify my hunger but where could I eat. The trip from Abu Dhabi to Dubai will take approximately two hours and there was no way I could eat inside the bus.

Sadly, I had no option but to have a quick lunch at the washroom. Luckily it was cleaned but still the thought of eating inside the washroom was a yucky experience. Lesson learned – always take your meals before leaving your house during Ramadan time especially if you will be out for some time.

Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Abu Dhabi?

  • Orient yourself about the culture of Abu Dhabi or UAE in general through reading or research.
  • If you are coming here for a job opportunity, check your overall employment package as cost of living here can be expensive specially accommodation.
  • Check if you have an existing embassy in UAE.

How is the expat community in Abu Dhabi? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?

From my point of view, No. Filipinos are everywhere here in Abu Dhabi.

How would you summarize your expat life in Abu Dhabi in a single, catchy sentence?

Kullu tamam! (Arabic words which means everything is fine).

Antoine Mariaux

"Thanks to InterNations, I've received very useful tips about the Emirates and expat life in Abu Dhabi."

Maria Loura

"The idea to connect expatriates in Abu Dhabi is just fantastic! Have been looking for such a platform for a long time."

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