Dubai probably isn’t the first destination you think of when considering where to work abroad. But it’s where Jessica, 19, ended up working. Here’s her story about living and working in Dubai.
Before you went abroad, what job were you doing?
I was a receptionist.
Why did you decide to go to Dubai?
I wanted to experience living in another country and to see the world, but all on a student’s budget!
What job did you do there?
I did an internship as a PR Executive.
How exactly did you find the job?
I found the placement via a family relative that moved to the Emirates.
What was your day to day routine?
On a day to day basis my co-workers and I would have a daily meeting, discussing the latest developments with each one of our clients, how we were each going to carry out our tasks and how they would benefit us. We would also make a point of reading the local headlines everyday to make sure we were right on the pulse and that all our editorial articles were bang up to date. As part of my internship, I worked on all aspects of the PR cycle but focused on editorial and proof reading; eventually writing news stories to be released to the local press, drumming up publicity for clients.
What was the salary like?
As an intern, I was on an interns’ wage, which is not high, however the majority of my living expenses were covered!
Would you recommend this type of job?
I would recommend this to anyone who can stand the pace, who wants to experience something different and is generally ready to embrace life to the full!
Do you need to be qualified?
As this was an internship I was trained on the job, although I was simply thrown in and had to run before I could even walk!
What’s the night life and social life like?
Nightlife is pretty amazing there, I was lucky enough to go to some seriously extravagant nights. One of the most memorable was a gala held on the Jumeriah beach, under Arabian tents – all but 20 feet from the flag ship seven star Burj Arab! It’s funny in Dubai that everyone feels the need to go one better, and the popularity of ice sculptures out there always fascinated me, with every party having a bigger collection than the last – only to melt by midnight in the scorching heat!
Are there other things to do like sports/beach/tourist attractions?
There are loads of other activities available in Dubai as it’s a thriving holiday destination. I went on a two day desert safari, getting to try my hand at wadi-bashing and driving over sand dunes! Living over there is very similar to the UK, but some things can be quite cheap especially if you know where to shop! I loved nothing more than to disappear into Sharjah’s blue souq and emerge with many treasures. I ended up exceeding my baggage limit by 10kgs!
What’s so good about working in PR in Dubai?
The buzzing atmosphere! My favourite jobs were always the ones where we worked on site. In spring, whilst the weather isn’t too hot, the emirate is host to hundreds of corporate get-togethers from conferences to light luncheons and all these events battle for coverage in the local media. I was lucky to work at several large events; being thrown into the thick of press conferences and media interviews. I, too, played a part in the organisation of major events with everything from flower arrangements, seating charts to running around trying to find ‘just’ the right shade of blue for the staffs’ scarves!
Are there any negatives?
There were a few draw backs, many people love their jobs and work extremely hard, I myself had an 8-6 day and would often skip lunch. But the phrase ‘work hard play hard’ could not be any more true! And the official drinking limit is over 21!
Did you make some new friends?
I loved working out there and am hopefully going back for next season. Dubai is a hub of activity, a melting pot for people offering loads of unique opportunities and it is a place that has extremely high aspirations. I made some absolutely fantastic friends, one of whom even invited me to her Sri Lankan wedding!
Tell us the 3 best and worst things about the experience working in Dubai?
1. The 2-hour city – being able to order your takeaway at 2am, is always a plus!
2. Being able to step outside late at night and not needing a jacket
3. The miles and miles of shopping malls!
1. The feeling of being absolutely shattered after a heavy weekend partying
2. Starting your week on a Sunday – as Friday is the holy day for Muslims
3. The excessive heat once you hit the end of spring!
Do you feel this experience will help you in your future career?
I consider myself incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity of seeing a country so early on in its stages of development; it really suits my choice of degree – International development with overseas experience at University of East Anglia.
Any tips for our readers?
Certainly do your research before you leave, for example in Dubai you can be imprisoned for walking around the shopping malls in your beachwear as it’s consider offensive and you would get immediately deported for illegal drugs. On the other hand I would definitely suggest a visit to the restaurant ‘Tang’, brainchild of Tim Burton and Heston Blumenthal, where they serve the fanciest Mojito ever – champagne and liquid nitrogen!