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Dubai Expat Interviews – Preethi Janice D’Sa

This week’s Into-yous features Indian expat Preethi Janice D’Sa

Tell us a little about yourself
I own a writing communications business, catering to three specific fields: arts, medicine and oil/gas engineering. I also design and create limited edition crochet jewelry pieces under my jewelry brand Janys De ( I regularly write for various magazines and will soon have my own column in one of them (it’s a secret for now)! I also run two information websites: one on arts, culture and travel ( and the other on medical and healthcare communications ( Creativity is very much a part of my life, which gives me the energy to do all of the above! Creativity helps me celebrate life in small and big ways. *photo taken by Raju

When did you move to Dubai and what brought you here?
I was born in Abu Dhabi and so the UAE is virtually my home. Except for my BSC and MSC which were completed in India and the UK, respectively, most of my time has been spent in Abu Dhabi. However, a year after my parents retired (they lived in the UAE for nearly 40 years!), and my siblings scattered around the world, I moved to Dubai to take on a Regional Managerial post. The decision to quit the corporate world spurred me on into living an entrepreneurial life – which basically boils down to living life on the edge.

Have you been an expat elsewhere and if so, where?
Except in the UK where I studied. Otherwise, except for when I traveled, the UAE has been my home.

The best advice you were given to prepare you for life in Dubai
Those moving from Abu Dhabi to Dubai, be prepared. The culture is quite different. Each Emirate has something special to offer. Dubai also tends to have a transient populace, making it challenging as one needs to keep making new friends. That’s why it’s very important to plug into a community whether it be at the cultural social center or at the arts etc. For me, it is definitely the art and handcraft community. I’m also going to be looking at language centers to sharpen my conversational Arabic skills and also join a writer’s club. Best to have fingers in different pies in case one pie disappears, other aspects of your support network haven’t disappeared completely.

What surprised you most about Dubai?
The way it grew out of sun and sand into a country full of sun, sand, skyscrapers, art, art and more art! Which suits me. (When I was young, my parents would bring us to Dubai for the weekend and the first thing I would see was the World Trade Centre. Just to put everything in perspective).

What area do you live in?
Barsha. I previously lived in Jumeirah Lake Towers.

If money were no object, where would you most like to live in Dubai?
Where I could have the sea on one side and the greenery on the other and endless azure blue skies dotted with white cotton candy above.

Your favorite Arabic word or phrase you have learned so far

Your least favorite word or phrase you have adopted since moving to Dubai

What has been your best experience in Dubai to date?
The love the art and the arts buzz that Dubai has. I attended the Art Dubai 2011 for the very first time and I lived, slept, breathed it for three whole days and still couldn’t get enough of it. The other experience is the burgeoning food scene.

Where do you hope to spend your next holiday?

Who is the person you most miss when you are in Dubai?
My parents, my siblings and close friends living abroad.

What is your favourite restaurant in Dubai?
I guess it is not a restaurant. They call it Le Bistro, it’s in the Ibn Battuta Mall – I love the shwarmas they make, they remind me of my happy childhood days. 😮

What grocery item do you most miss from your home country?
Fresh home-grown vegetables and fruits from my parent’s garden back home, which I have to pay for over here! (Think mangoes, jackfruit, chillies, spinach, yam, gherkins, sweet potato, breadfruit, papaya, pumpkin and more).

When friends and family visit you in Dubai where will you absolutely take them?
When friends visit from Dubai, it would have to be a ride on the metro. When family visit, I take them for a long walk in the malls (dad likes to walk, so it would have to be the Dubai Mall for him!).

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