Arts & Culture The Expat Issue

Why are you an expat?

The United Arab Emirates is home to over 200 nationalities that have come to the country to explore better livelihood. In this photo series, our Storyteller Mohammed Al Moosa, takes us on a photo journey in Dubai, as he speaks to different residents about the reasons behind them living away from home.

Zahid: I came here ten years ago from Pakistan to work so I could send money back home to my family. When I first came I worked as a driver. Now, for many years, I work here as a butcher. Dubai for me is 200%.
Mikaela: I wanted to forget something in the Philippines… All my family is here, so I asked my family if they could bring me to Dubai. I was supposed to work in a hospital, but that didn’t work out. So, I moved to sales. When I came here, I just didn’t want to leave.
Merlin Varkey: I don’t know how one person can feel like three places are home. Can someone feel that? The first home is Umm Al Quwain. When I take that exit… The second is my husband’s place. When I saw that red brick wall, I felt…home. The third one is in Tamil Nadu, where I went to university. I just feel like Dubai is home because I don’t have anywhere else to go .This is my home. I feel safe here.  

Kohei Miyagawa: I didn’t actually know where I was going. I come from an area close to Tokyo called Chiba, and when I saw the application for a barista online, I applied. I wanted to travel abroad, learn English and improve my coffee making skills. I didn’t really know much about Dubai before I came here. I just knew it was a pretty advanced and rich city.
Eva Schmack: A lot of people come to Dubai (like I did from Germany) for a job or to have a new direction in their life, and then they stay because a lot of their family is scattered all over the world, and they’re looking for a home. But when they’re here, they can make it their home. It’s like a place for people to find a home when they don’t feel like they have somewhere else they’re connected to.

Mohamed Al Moosa is a person who likes to avoid clichés. Clichés such as those found in bios. He’s an Omani writer based in the UAE.