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Dubai Expat Interview – Jim Reilly

This week’s Into-yous features Scottish expat Jim Reilly.

Tell us a little about yourself
Lucky enough to be a Director of IFA Sport, the largest Football academy in the UAE, this allows me to work in a sport that I am passionate about. When not watching or playing football I also wake board (a new hobby since moving to Dubai, never did feel like trying it in the Thames) also snowboard and dive.

When did you move to Dubai and what brought you here?
I moved to Dubai four years ago following my now wife who I met in the UK who lived here working for Emirates. The original plan was that she would move back to the UK but once I had sampled the lifestyle and weather it was no contest!!!

Have you been an expat elsewhere and if so, where?
No, before Dubai, although traveled extensively, always resided in the UK

The best advice you were given to prepare you for life in Dubai
Bring sun tan cream!!!

What surprised you most about Dubai?
Due to preconceived ideas about the Middle East- how liberal it actually was, its’ multicultural society and that it was a modern vibrant city to equal the likes of London.

If money were no object, where would you most like to live in Dubai?
Although not available for purchase by expats a beachfront villa in Um Sequiem.

Your favorite Arabic word or phrase you have learned so far
Korat al Qadam- which means football of course!

Your least favorite word or phrase you have adopted since moving to Dubai
“Backside” meaning the rear or behind of a building- causes some confusion!

What has been your best experience in Dubai to date?
There are many but just for the fact that it was my first visit to Dubai before I permanently moved here so it must be the first time I attended the Rugby 7’s. There was a rain storm and my memories of sliding in the mud and partying in the beer tent live on.

Where do you hope to spend your next holiday?
Never plan anything in advance, but usually end up diving somewhere in summer (last year Philippines) or snowboarding in winter. Maybe this summer we will go to the Greek Islands as we are going to Scotland in July for a couple of days.

Who is the person you most miss when you are in Dubai?
Not one person but really all my family and friends and especially my son James, daughter Paige and my mum.

What is your favourite restaurant in Dubai?
Again so many to choose from but sitting outside at The Grand Grill in the Habtoor Grand Hotel looking over The Palm is great.

What grocery item do you most miss from your home country?
Nothing really as most things available here, my wife gets back to the UK nearly every month and brings back square bread, haggis, black pudding and tattie scones for a full Scottish breakfast.

When friends and family visit you in Dubai where will you absolutely take them?
360 at the Jumeriah Beach Hotel, great setting for sunset cocktails with good music and ambience.

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