I Bounced Back From starting over abroad
Lizzie Cernik moved from Cheshire to Dubai in pursuit of a new life
Iloved being a writer but I’d reached the point where work was slow, so I had to move back to my parents in beautiful (but dull) Cheshire. When I saw a wellpaid opportunity to work for the government in Dubai, I saw it as a chance to change my career direction. I knew I’d miss my friends and family but I tried to focus on the fact that it was only a seven-hour flight. By the time I arrived in February, I was excited to leave the cold winter behind and was ready for a fresh start in the sunshine.
It soon became apparent that it was really easy to meet people because everyone is an expat looking for friends. At the same time, it’s also very difficult to form lasting friendships with anyone, because people come and go all the time.
My new office was less formal than I’d expected but was also a completely different environment to anything I’d experienced before.
In the UK, people go out for drinks after work, but in my new office the vast majority of people didn’t drink. Instead I had to adjust to lots of lunches and breakfasts.
It took four months to find a solid friendship group who I could go out with at weekends, but I had to keep very private about that aspect of my life at work. I wouldn’t talk about dating either, as sex before marriage in Dubai is illegal.
Despite finding that hard at the beginning, it did get easier. There were lots of other ways to get involved and I always felt like an important member of the team. We had lunchtime yoga classes and team challenges, such as the Spartan Race and Desert Warrior. It was a great way to get to know my colleagues and I got really into my fitness, which is easier in 20 degree weather!
I’d recommend it to anyone. It changes you, makes you more confident and you learn to talk to anyone. Sometimes you have to take a huge leap of faith and it can work. For the right job, I’d do it again in a heartbeat.