Dubai Image Credit: File photo

The UAE has over 7.8 million expats. The country is truly a home away from home for many people. UAE expats build entire lives here. They make friends that are like family and they live and grow within their communities.

Typically, the plan is always to come to the UAE for a few years, make good money, save it and leave having acheived a few dreams and maybe even built a house back home. What many expats don't think about, is their "temporary" home. The home they dont think they wont stay in for long.

According to RSA Insurance, many expats living in Dubai end up staying years longer than they expect. Usually setting roots in the country because of its safety, ease of living and multiculturalism. They explained to Gulf News that many people living in the UAE assume that their life is completley safe and covered, as a result, people don't consider home insurance. It actually does not matter whether you own a home or you’re just renting it, you should always make sure you are covered and protected.

Gulf News speaks to eight people who ended up staying much longer than planned in the UAE and here is what they had to say:

Norbet Menezes

“I have lived in Dubai for more than 20 years with my family and to me this is home now." Norbet Menezes said to Gulf News. "My initial plans were to stay five years and return back home to India but it soon became so comfortable in Dubai that my plans were all forgotten. This country has given me a feeling of belonging and safety. I came here with only dreams in my eyes but today I can say that Dubai has helped me achieve and fulfill all the things I wanted to achieve.”

Shounil Mukherjee

“When I decided to move to a new country in order to advance my career, Dubai was among the top options. My perception about the city was that it was place of quick opportunity, it's great for building a bank balance, before moving on to more permanent destinations. I only considered Dubai as a soft landing into a global arena, a short stint without a long term commitment. But after a few months in the city, my outlook has changed. I can see myself making this city my home.” said Shounil Mukherjee.

Ruth Moriarty

“I moved to Dubai just over one and a half years ago with friends with an initial plan of staying for one, maybe two years. We have since been swallowed up by the Dubai life and I can’t see us leaving for at least another two to three more years. I would still consider Ireland as home, and I always will. But Dubai definitely has a home away from home feel to it, we would be gone ‘home’ already if it didn’t” said Ruth Moriarty.

Shanel Hassan

“My friend moved over to Dubai in 2007 and invited me over for New Years for a party." Hassan told Gulf News. "I had never heard of Dubai (or the United Arab Emirates for that matter). When I landed in the airport, I said to my friend I had an “overwhelming feeling” that I belonged here (even without seeing any it!).

The moment I left Dubai when my holiday was over, I was offered a job after two days. Five weeks down the line I was in the Palace Hotel. It had just opened and there was no water in the lake, Burj Khalifa wasn’t finished either and was called Burj Dubai at the time. I told my friends and family that I would do “six months to a year”. But when I was packing up, I knew that I was moving for good. Dubai is home for me and always has been. I have been here for 11 and a half years”. 

Ken De Pauw

“I first came here in 1991 when I was 8 years old! I did my high school, moved to the UK for university, started working in London, and moved back to Dubai 6 years ago," De Pauw told Gulf News. "My wife also grew up here. The UAE has become my home, more so than my original home country (Belgium) purely because all of my friends were here. I have lived in the UAE more than any other country. Obviously when I first moved here I didn’t have a short or long term plan, as I was a child, but when my wife and I came back six years ago, we did not (and still don’t) have a time limit on our time here. As long as we enjoy it and it makes financial sense, we will stay here if we can.”

“I consider Dubai my home away from home  I’ve been in Dubai for over 10 years and just like every other expat’s story, we were supposed be here for three years but ended up staying for much longer!“ Sarah Bashir told Gulf News.

“When I used to live in Kuwait, my sister kept telling my husband to apply for a job vacancy in Dubai and that he would have nothing to lose. We were happy in Kuwait but felt like there’s no harm in trying. When my husband got the job, we found ourselves making the big move. We didn’t have plans to stay for the long-term, as we saw Dubai to be quite the transient place. More than 10 years later, we’re still here and we’ve definitely found a home in this city thanks to its comfort, diversity and safety!” Amal Awada told Gulf News.