There are over 73 million Expats around the world who leave their homeland for new countries, in search for better prospects and a brighter future for their people back home. Moving to a new country, although exciting, is not an easy thing to do.
So what is it like to turn a new country into your new home ? We spoke to Gina Sab-it Col-iteng who moved from the Philippines to UAE in 2007 to know more about her Expat experience. Gina is a CND (Creative Nail Design) trainer who provides CND demos and training to different Spas and salons across UAE and GCC.
Why did you move to the UAE?
I landed in Dubai on 12th July 2007, initially on a tourist Visa to look for a job to support my family back home.
What were your first thoughts, when you landed in UAE for the first time?
Before I came to Dubai, I always thought that OFWs in Dubai lived in big, spacious houses. When I came here, it was surprising to see so many people sharing single rooms or even bed spaces.
As an OFW, what were the first major challenges you faced?
My first major challenge was actually finding a job. I didn’t have much experience and wasn’t confident about working here.
How did you overcome these challenges?
I attended much training, sacrificed most of my days off and used some of my failures to improve myself more. I consider new challenges as part of my growth and development.
What are the best things about living in UAE?
UAE is a lovely country, both cultural and modern. There so many OFWs here, that it feels like a second home. The best thing about living here is having a job in a tax-free environment, which helps me to support the needs of my family back home.
What do you miss most about home (PHP)?
I miss my family the most. I also miss the cold air and rains in my hometown, Baguio. I miss the fresh vegetables and the food back home.
Any advice for people moving Philippines to the UAE?
We move to countries like UAE to look for a job so that we can support our family. This is the most important thing. People moving to the UAE from Philippines or anywhere must be willing to learn new things for a better life and new opportunities. Moving to a new country is challenging but we shouldn’t let challenges turn into obstacles. We must overcome the challenges and keep going.
How often do you send money home, and to whom?
I send money to my children at the end of every month. Sometimes I end up sending money twice or thrice a month in case some urgent payments like school fees need to be made.
How do you send money?
I’ve always used Xpress Money to send money as I find it an extremely safe and secure way to send money to my family. It’s also very convenient for my receiver to claim my remittance through Xpress Money agents that are available almost everywhere in the Philippines.
How has moving to UAE changed your life?
I have grown tremendously in terms of my career, ever since I moved to UAE. I also feel much more matured as a person now.