‘People don’t believe you’ UK expat in Dubai shares reality of life abroad

GMB guest compares her Dubai lifestyle to living in the UK

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Express.co.uk spoke to Cara Swann, a British expat who moved to Dubai last April. Cara works as a teacher and told Express.co.uk she loves living there.

Cara said: “It’s the best. It’s really safe out here and you can even leave your apartment unlocked.

“During the summer, I was away for nearly three months, I didn’t lock my apartment and I came back and everything was fine.

“I’ve got friends that leave their cars unlocked when they go to work. It’s just ridiculously safe.

“I don’t have to worry about walking home at night by myself, I never have to think about anything like that.”

According to Numbeo stats, Dubai has a very low rate of crime, including violence and theft, compared to other countries around the world.

Meanwhile, a majority of residents said they felt very safe walking alone in the daytime and at night.

Compared to London, crime rates are extremely low especially when it comes to break ins or street robbery.

However, some Britons are put off by some of Dubai’s strict laws, including on drinking and public displays of affections.

Cara told Express.co.uk: “It doesn’t matter how many times you tell people ‘Dubai is fine’, people don’t believe you until they come out here and experience it themselves.

“I remember my friends when I was moving out were warning me about drinking. I’m Scottish, so it’s part of the culture!

“Drinking over here is completely fine. I’ve not had to make any changes to my lifestyle, I can act how I did back home but with more sunshine.

“It’s really not as strict as people think. Obviously there are very strict repercussions if you commit crimes which are crimes back home.

“But that’s why you can leave your apartment door unlocked and no one will steal anything.”

She added: “When it comes to wearing clothes, you can wear whatever you want. Obviously when I’m at work, I have to wear conservative clothes.

“The clothes have to cover my knees and my elbows but back in Scotland I worked for a Catholic school and I had to do that there.

“It’s no different from that in Dubai. I didn’t even need to buy new work clothes, I was already sorted!”

Where should you go on your next holiday?

Now that the world has opened up again it’s time to pack those suitcases and head off on a well-deserved adventure. Where should you be jetting off to? Take our quiz and find out.


With endless culture, gorgeous beaches and weather to die for, Greece is a great choice both for romantic getaways and family trips. Wander the historical streets of Athens and Thessaloniki or head to an island to soak up the sun – the choice is yours.


It may be far away but it’s definitely worth the trip. Japan has sprawling metropolises, stunning scenery, and a rich history and culture to boot. Check out the cities of Kyoto and Tokyo and make sure to get your fill of their world-famous cuisine while you’re in town


Hop across the pond and experience an array of cultures, climates, cuisines and more. You can leave the phrasebook at home and get truly immersed in everything that this sprawling nation has to offer, from the Grand Canyon to the Statue of Liberty


With some of the best food around and boasting the world’s most romantic city, France is a great choice if you’re in a hurry. Be in its glorious capital in just hours, grab a pain au chocolat and practice your language skills while wandering along the banks of the Seine


La dolce vita is calling! With its stunning views, fascinating history and world-famous Neapolitan pizza, Italy is a great choice, whether you’re after an adventure or want to dive into a big bowl of spaghetti


A little off the beaten track, Morocco boasts stunning architecture, winding street markets to get lost in, and beautiful landscapes. Soak up the sun in Marrakech or head to Chefchaouen for one of the most unique experiences a holiday-maker can have

The Caribbean

Sun, sea and sand – what’s not to love? Head to the Caribbean if you really want to unwind. With plenty of picturesque locations to choose from, from the streets of Havana to the beaches of Grenada, you’re sure to find something that fits your holiday dreams.


When most people think ‘holiday’, sunshine and relaxation comes to mind – but a different kind of trip can be just as rewarding. Splash around in the Blue Lagoon and try your luck at catching a glimpse of the Northern Lights. This is definitely one for the bucket list.


India is well worth a visit if you have some time to spare. With an array of different cultures coexisting in this vast and vibrant nation, as well as gorgeous food to be enjoyed at every turn, you’ll find yourself immersed in the experience. Take a trip to the Taj Mahal for that jaw drop moment

Swiss Alps

If snow sports are your thing, then this mountainous region is perfect for you. Venture down the powdered slopes and warm your hands at the après-ski afterward. Perfect for a group of friends, a romantic trip, or even some time with the kids – if they can stand the cold!

What kind of holiday do you like best?

What’s your budget?

How long do you have for your trip?

Who’s going on the trip?

How are your languages skills?

What’s your ideal climate?

Which is top of your bucket list?

Cara said she’s found it easy to make friends in Dubai and lives in the same apartment block with many other school workers.

She said: “When I was moving out here, I met a girl who said everyone’s so fake out there (in Dubai).

“I’ve found it to be the opposite. Everyone knows what you’ve been through, coming out by yourself.

“Everyone’s lovely, I’ve really not had her experience. Sometimes you just have to make a bit of effort to make friends at first.”

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