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Dubai Expat Interview – Donna Benton

This week’s Into-yous features Australian expat Donna Benton.

Tell us a little about yourself
Born in Australia, I came to Dubai eleven years ago and have many fond memories, but my fondest has to be getting married at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel and having our daughter Chloe here. Dubai will always be a special place for us as a family.

When did you move to Dubai and what brought you here?
I came to Dubai for a job that turned out to be totally different to the description, so I thought I would come up with a concept that would entice people through the door. I had seen similar concepts to The Entertainer in Australia and I decided to start the business which is highly successful today with 14 books!

Have you been an expat elsewhere and if so, where?
No, Dubai was my first posting outside Australia.

The best advice you were given to prepare you for life in Dubai
Keep your feet on the ground. Be honest to yourself and everyone around you and make sure you save for a rainy day.

What surprised you most about Dubai?
Before I arrived I was expecting it to be bigger. I was surprised at how friendly it was, it was more like a community, nice to see how all the different cultures got along so well.

What area do you live in?
Umm Suquem /Jumeirah.

If money were no object, where would you most like to live in Dubai?
I am very happy where I live now.

Your favorite Arabic word or phrase you have learned so far
Salaam Alaikum! Its the longest word I know and it makes me sound fluent.

Your least favorite word or phrase you have adopted since moving to Dubai
When people say “you are so lucky”. It’s like the better you do the luckier you are, but nothing comes easy!

What has been your best experience in Dubai to date?
There have been so many but the best would have to be meeting my husband here in Dubai, having our daughter here and having started a successful company with all my great staff. I have also made some great friends who are like family.

Where do you hope to spend your next holiday?
Maldives, Thailand or Bali or some great deals from my Entertainer Travel Book!

Who is the person you most miss when you are in Dubai?
My family in Australia.

What is your favorite restaurant in Dubai?
There are so many great ones, but I would have to say Pai Thai and Seafire.

What grocery item do you most miss from your home country?

When friends and family visit you in Dubai where will you absolutely take them?
The Madinat, Atlantis, Downtown to see the fountain, desert safari and definitely shopping to Dubai Mall or Mall of the Emirates.

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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).

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