Dubai: Some foreigners who came to the UAE for a short stint to work at Expo 2020 Dubai want to stay on after the event and start a new life here.
Slovakian national Lucia Smataníková, 34, who works as a hostess at her country’s pavilion at Expo, sees Dubai as a land of opportunities. She said: “There is a definite positive vibe here. I am proud to be a part of the Slovak Pavilion because we have a lot of technological advances in the area of aviation, automotive, robotics and others.”
Smataníková has also been impressed by the multicultural aspect of the UAE. “I would to find a job here and settle down. It is my dream now. I am also in love with the weather here. I know the summer can be a bit harsh, but there are so many things to do here in the UAE. I don’t believe I will miss out on anything.”
She added that she loves the beach life – which is another attraction for her in the UAE. “I would also like to develop my skills here in the UAE. I have been taking acting courses in Slovakia and I would like to develop it here too. So I will try my luck to see if I can find a job here in the UAE after the Expo is over [in March].”
Pursuing a dream
Russian national Cristina Mokrova, 33, works as a hostess at a restaurant at Expo. “I love photography and I feel like in the UAE I can pursue my dreams. As a hobby, I pursue street photography and portraits and the UAE is such a perfect place for this. Be it the narrow lanes of Bastikiya that treasure UAE’s history, or the energy you find in the Meena Bazaar souks or the glittering Gold Souk, I just want to capture the heart and soul of the UAE.”
After Expo, she would like to venture to the mountain regions in the northern parts of the emirates. “Also, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque [in Abu Dhabi] is so beautiful. Essentially, I have fallen in love with this country and I want to be here to experience this place more.”
‘UAE seems promising’
Colombian national Santiago Patarroyo, 26, a supervisor at his country pavilion, hails from Medellin. And now he wants to find opportunities in the UAE. “I am young and I feel this is the time I can try and make a change in my life. I have dreams and the UAE seems promising. I love the vibes here. I have met many interesting people from different parts of the world. I have also met some very good and kind Emiratis. The cultural exchange has been tremendous and I feel it can only get better if I decide to settle here for a while,” said Patarroyo.
‘I feel at home here’
For Indian citizen Nikhil Singh Bhandari, a mixologist at Kojaki restaurant, Dubai is ‘not a new place’. He explained: “I have heard of Dubai and the UAE for long. And so when I had the chance to come and work at Expo, I jumped at the chance.”
Bhandari, who hails from Uttarakhand state in India, said he is in love with the UAE for its opportunities. “It is a country for everyone, all nationalities. India and UAE have a strong history together. I feel at home here.”
Nikhil said the tax-free life here is a major attraction to find a job. “Plus the country offers a change from what India has to offer. Home is close as well. So I will not feel home sick.”
Mulling the move
American national Spencer Coz, 23, a youth ambassador at the USA Pavilion, said he would definitely considering living in the UAE. “So far it has been a great experience. I come from a small city called Kentucky. Obviously, the UAE is very different in that respect. But what has touched me most here is the diversity of nationalities and the mix of demographics that live here and have made this country their second home. The UAE has managed the pandemic very well. It is a very safe county too to live in. I would love to see how it goes for me,” Coz added.
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Spencer is married and said he would like to see opportunities for him and his wife and workout the logistics to move here. “It will be a big move for us when and if it happens.”