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Dubai Expat Interviews – Noura El-Imam

This week’s Into-yous features Egyptian expat Noura El-Imam

Tell us a little about yourself
Graduating with a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration & Integrated Marketing Communications, I worked as the Senior Marketing Executive at one of Dubai’s largest publishing houses before moving into the events industry and finally the health and fitness sector – my absolute passion. With that realization, I was able to confidently embark on my own and teach Yogalates in the refreshing outdoors of Dubai. I offer hard working executives a chance to step out into nature, be it grass or sand between their toes and watch a sunset or star-studded sky as they are taken on a one hour Yogalates session with Noura’s Yogalates.

When did you move to Dubai and what brought you here
Born and bred in AbuDhabi and living here for the past 23 years. Dubai is always considered my hometown and I love watching how this place has developed from the 80’s – such a vibrant city life and melting pot of nationalities.

Have you been an expat elsewhere and if so, where
The American University in Cairo is where I spent my 4 years of university studies abroad.

The best advice you were given to prepare you for life in Dubai
Here is my advice; The less expectations you have the better. A lot of that time media portrays Dubai as an oil-rich country with residents wearing, driving and living in multi-million dollar homes. It is definitely not a Hollywood-Hills city – but offers the best to those who can afford it. Do not get sucked into the excessive spending-thrift lifestyle! I’ve seen quite a few of my friends who out of peer pressure, want to move to an expensive apartment and buy the latest model out there. If you have the cash to burn then great but debts are common and the last thing you want is to walk away from Dubai poorer. This place is a very liberal country offering budding entrepreneurs the chance to prove themselves, launch a career and stand out with their hard work and dedication put into it.
It’s a multi-cultural hub so be prepared to meet people from around the world, try out delicious global cuisine, enjoy the sunny months, outstanding concerts and gigs and explore the GCC as much as you can. Muscat, Oman offers a plethora of sights, sounds and escapes for the outdoor adventure bunny when you need to break away from the city life.

What surprised you most about Dubai
How despite the recession, Dubai still stands on its feet proud and strong.

If money were no object, where would you most like to live in Dubai
Being an ocean bunny, I would love to move into a gorgeous 3-storey compound / behind Sunset Mall in Jumeriah. They are privately owned by a Sheikha and have stunning views, private swimming pools overlooking the sea and feel very zen. It feels like holiday in Dubai without the crowd. A hidden gem!

Your favorite Arabic word or phrase you have learned so far
Being Egyptian with Arabic as my mother tongue, this is a difficult one to answer! But I love teaching expats to say ‘ halla walla!!” – a local term / slang for hello buddy!

Your least favorite word or phrase you have adopted since moving to Dubai
Wicked. I couldn’t stand that word and can’t believe I now say it anytime, any day!

What has been your best experience in Dubai to date
The minute I switched off from working for others to working for myself and making others healthier and happy. I love what I’m currently doing and see my clients walk away with smiles on their faces and soon – a yoga certification in their hand. It simply is rewarding and addictive!

Where do you hope to spend your next holiday
Costa Rica is definitely on the list. Thailand has been for a while and Spain / Italy is a must. Everywhere please?

Who is the person you most miss when you are in Dubai
My parents travel here quite often as we’ve been living here for years so don’t miss anyone really!

What is your favorite restaurant in Dubai
Spoilt for choice there! I must say, Sumo Sushi and Bento for sushi cravings and Vapiano’s for Italian cuisine and Da Shi Da in JBR for dim sums and the best chicken satay salad ever! I’ve found some restaurants not hotel-based offer excellent quality to some that are overpriced and bland in taste.

What grocery item do you most miss from your home country
Koshari – carb loaded rice, lentils, macaroni, roasted garlic bits, and delicious tomato sauce poured all over. It simply is calorific-divine!

When friends and family visit you in Dubai where will you absolutely take them
The Burj Fountain, Aquarium at Dubai Mall, Skydive Dubai & iFly at Mirdiff City Center, Manga Sushi on Jumeriah Beach Road (funniest outfits and quirkiest sushi!), Beach ofcourse and if there is time, Muscat for some outdoor adventure climbing with my other company I promote and work, Muscat Diving & Adventure Center.

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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).

I moved to Dubai in July 1998 when my husband got a job out here.

One Response to “Dubai Expat Interviews – Noura El-Imam”

  1. […] Yoga Teacher Training programs. To secure your place or for further inquiries, please contact Noura El-Imam by phoning +971 50 328 9642 or email Please feel welcome to visit Noura’s […]

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