combo pic for what expats love about uae
(clockwise from top left) Mohamed Saieed, Hanne Rasmussen El'circy, Patrick O’Brien, Parvez Nawab, Rebecca Blacklaws, and Shadi Dawi Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Expats who have lived in the UAE for years have shared why the UAE National Day is a significant occasion for them.

South African expat Patrick O’Brien, 50, who has lived in the UAE for six years, said the UAE National Day is a celebration of Emirati culture, history and successes over the last 51 years. “The occasion is a celebration for all nationalities living here. As an expat, we greatly benefit from the openness and opportunities available in the country,” he said.

‘Invaluable gift’

“I moved with my family here to work in the financial sector. I was intending to stay here for two years. However, the opportunities provided to us as a family extended our stay. In addition, the UAE has an extremely supportive approach when it comes to people of determination and the fact that our son has Down Syndrome, it makes a big difference to us staying here. He attends regular school and there are many government-supported programmes - such as Heroes of Hope - to aid sports development and inclusion for people of determination. This is an invaluable gift the UAE has given to expats.”

‘Celebration of gratitude’

Australian Rebecca Blacklaws, 39, who is a HR projects manager, has been living in the UAE for nearly four years and feels lucky to call the emirates her home.

“The UAE National Day is a celebration of gratitude for me as an expat. For we are living in a safe place of tolerance that embraces all cultures and provides many opportunities for one and all. We moved for my husband’s work and to open up more travel experiences for our family,” she said.

“Being in the UAE, we feel very central to other parts of the world and we love to explore new countries. For example, our older children are even going on a ski trip as part of their school travel programme in February. This is something we would not have ever imagined if we were elsewhere.”

Safe and secure

Lebanese expat Shadi Dawi, 46, an entrepreneur and digital marketing expert, said: “I am celebrating my 16th UAE National Day this year as I moved to this country in 2006. The UAE is the best place to live for its safety and security. It is incomparable to the rest of the world.”

He added: “The love we get from the nation’s leaders and fellow expatriates makes this a very happy place to live. I can speak endlessly about the UAE lifestyle, its advanced technologies, best infrastructure in the world, best customer service and more. For now I just want to wish every Happy UAE National Day.”

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‘Unparalleled opportunities’

Mexican expat Ana Quintero Solana, who is a lawyer in Dubai, said: “The opportunities provided by this nation are unparalleled. There are no limits to creativity, innovation and ambition. Everything is possible here in the UAE. You can sit down with billionaires, millionaires and government officials to have conversations about business, projects and entrepreneurship. They will listen to you and take you seriously because they understand the potential of innovation.”

Ana Quintero Solan Image Credit: Supplied

Second home

Parvez Nawab, an Indian expat living in Dubai since 1996, said: “I am witness to seeing this city and this country grow. The UAE is our second home. It has inspired us, provided us with opportunity and given us security all at the same time. Although we are expats, this city has grown on us as if it were our own. We take pride in celebrating the UAE National Day each year. As a family we do road trips or join the National Day car parades before heading out for a fun-filled family meal. This year, we plan on visiting multiple events that will be hosted across the different emirates.” Destination for creatives

Filipino expat Glorianne Montefrio, who has lived in the UAE for almost two decades, said the UAE is the destination for people with a drive and passion.

Glorianne Montefrio

“What is heartening is that everyone is part of making this land a great place to live in. This is where ideas are formed to implementation. There are many exciting opportunities waiting for you in this beautiful country - our UAE,” added Montefrio, who leads a public relations, strategic management and business publishing firm.

Love from community

Egyptian expat Mohamed Saieed said he is lucky to live in the UAE.

Mohamed Saieed

“Every year, I wait for the UAE National Day celebrations as the occasion symbolises unity, and a vision for the future. I am a businessman who had the opportunity for growth and success here in UAE. I found love, affection and appreciation from the government and people.”

Danish expat Hanne Rasmussen El'circy from a real estate company, said: “I would like to thank the UAE for bringing people from all over the world to live in a stable economy. As someone in the business of real estate, the UAE is a great destination. When it comes to paperwork and documentation to finalise deals, the UAE is amazing. I am proud to live and work here.”