Dubai Expat Interview – Arca Bathe
Tell us a little about yourself:
I’m a long term expat, having left France, my home country, some 20 odd years ago. I came to Dubai 12 years ago to work in the hospitality industry, and after 9 years of corporate life and having 2 children, decided to set up a fitness company called Urban Energy Fitness. We concentrate on women’s fitness, with a specialisation in pre and post natal, something I sorely missed when I was pregnant here. Until recently I played rugby in an awesome women’s team and enjoy all kind of sports and activities.
When did you move to Dubai and what brought you here?
I was headhunted to work for the Jumeirah Group, initally at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel. I worked for the same group for 9 years, moving about between the different hotels and the headoffice.
Have you been an expat elsewhere and if so, where?
I studied Hotel management in Switzerland, did my internship in California and after my graduation, moved to London. I loved every single experience as an expat. As a matter of fact, I am not particularly in tune with France, or the French Culture.
The best advice you were given to prepare you for life in Dubai:
My move was quite quickly engineered, and at the time, Dubai was not as mediatised so my friends and family had no idea of what I was heading for. I wasn’t really given any advice. If I was to give advice to anyone, it would be ‘ respect brings respect’ – you have to respect everyone’s differences and cultural oddities and they will respect yours.
What surprised you most about Dubai?
I was amazed at how comfortable I felt in Dubai from the go. I loved the people, the team I was working with, the culture mix, the desert, the sea.. everything felt just great.
What area do you live in?
We have moved 7 times in 12 years but we now live in Arabian Ranches.
We love it there.
I wouldn’t mind a stint in one of the sheikha’s palaces though !
Your favourite Arabic word or phrase you have learned so far:
You’ve got to love the ‘mafi mushkila’ – No problem !
Your least favourite word or phrase you have adopted since moving to Dubai:
Honestly, I can’t think of any …
What has been your best experience in Dubai to date?
There has been many but I love it when we go camping in the desert. There’s something magical about the desert, at night around the campfire or first thing in the morning, with the first light on the dunes. It gets me everytime…
Where do you hope to spend your next holiday?
Gotta go back and bring the kids to the grandparents, so France it will be !
Who is the person you most miss when you are in Dubai?
My mum I guess.
What grocery item do you most miss from your home country?
Really gooey, smelly cheese and warm crispy baguette !
When friends and family visit you in Dubai where will you absolutely take them?
The fountains at Burj Khalifa and possibly Al Hadeerah in Bab Al Shams…
The team at Expat Echo Dubai would like to feature you in our Into-yous section
Please complete our 5 minute interview and submit your answers along with a profile picture (in JPEG format).