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Dubai Expat Interviews – Estelle Wiggett

This week’s Into-yous features South-African expat Estelle Wiggett

Tell us a little about yourself
I studied architecture in Pretoria and lived in South Africa all my life. I’m currently working at ENSHAA as their in-house architect. I’ve always been very sheltered and lived in my comfort zone but recently I decided to give that all up, be brave and live life “abundantly”! My biggest wish in life is to have a huge family – 4 kids or more – and live on a wine farm near the ocean, designing the occasional residential building and taking up photography so I can walk around all day long taking photo’s of my family and all the beautiful moments in life!

When did you move to Dubai and what brought you here?
End of February 2011. I came to visit a friend in November 2010 and met a Portuguese guy on a catamaran – I had to fly back to SA the next day but we kept in touch. Then I came back to Dubai for new years, spent 10 days with him. He came to South Africa and met my family end of January 2011 and then I came back to Dubai in February to look for a job. I got my first (and only) job interview 2 days after I landed here, and got a call a month later to say I got the job. True love and never been happier in my life!

Have you been an expat elsewhere and if so, where?
Nope. Before moving to Dubai I’ve never even been out of my home country.

The best advice you were given to prepare you for life in Dubai
Under NO circumstances flirt or even smile at an Arabic male – they are very aggressive in pursuing girls they like.

What surprised you most about Dubai?
3 things – how cheap petrol is, how expensive alcohol is, and how social Dubai is.

If money were no object, where would you most like to live in Dubai?
Exactly where I live now. Apartment on the Palm with the most amazing view over the Burj Al Arab, Burj Khalifa and my own private beach.

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?
Wow, too many!!!! Yacht trips, Private parties in the Burj Al Arab, Dinner in the highest restaurant in the world, Pierchic, Going for my first interview in my life AND getting the job. I’m very spoilt. But mostly, waking up every morning with a coffee in my hand, overlooking the ocean and then driving to work and being inspired by the amazing architecture around me.

Where do you hope to spend your next holiday?
I have a trip planned to SA, then Austria, then Portugal. But Greece is definitely the place I want to see next.

Who is the person you most miss when you are in Dubai?
Mom, Dad and my Labrador – Bailey!

What is your favourite restaurant in Dubai?
Pierchic, no doubts.

What grocery item do you most miss from your home country?
Biltong and Cup-a-soup Lite

When friends and family visit you in Dubai where will you absolutely take them?
Dubai Fountains, The Walk, Burj Khalifa, Pierchic, Bab-Al-Shams, Zuma and my project I’m working on at the moment – Emirates Financial Tower in DIFC.

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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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