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United Arab Emirates > Expat Experiences

United Arab Emirates

Corry MacDonald, Dubai

Published Monday August 19, 2019 (17:44:28)
Corry MacDonald
Corry MacDonald

Who are you?

I am Corry MacDonald, Spiritual and Creative Law of Attraction Guide for expat women.


Where, when and why did you move abroad?

I moved abroad almost 25 years ago on a hunch, shortly after my husband and I married, that if we didn’t go for it and live overseas, we would regret not trying.

We left Canada soon after we married and have lived in Japan, Singapore, Japan (again), Thailand, and now Dubai with our 3 TCKids, all teens.


What challenges did you face during the move?

SO MANY! When we set out, I was so excited to leave much of the dysfunction in my family I grew up with to start afresh in Japan completely unaware that what is unresolved in the home country simply shows up in the host country in the ‘families’ formed there.

I didn’t have any awareness about innerwork and all that happens to a non-working partner’s identity as well (with sudden new identities like “trailing spouse” and “dependent” attached to them). The first years I was thrown about without the supports of home, the knowledge or resilience I have now. It spiraled me down into expat depression, very common but rarely shared, so the early years were quite challenging emotionally back then.


What is your relationship like with the locals?

In Dubai, my relationship with the locals is unlike any other culture I have lived in. In Japan and Singapore I learned the language of the culture, at a basic level, but it still fostered natural connections, deeper cultural understanding, and opened more opportunities.

In Dubai, the situation is flipped, for the first time I’m not a minority and the need to learn a new language isn’t necessary. As well, I don’t find I have the opportunities to cross paths with the local culture the same way as the expats are the majority culture. Very unusual.


What do you like about life where you are?

So many things! The heat, for sure, as I grew up Canadian so Dubai winters are like Canadian summers. I also like that the whole world is living peacefully and in harmony in Dubai and the expats are from all over the globe so it’s wonderful to connect with many and find how similar we all are actually. To live in such a well planned city, with a beautiful beach and so little crime is a gift.


What do you dislike about your expat life?

I wonder, after all these years, is there anything I can say? Actually, there is nothing that stands out, which is amazing considering I struggled so much at the beginning. I am so at home within myself now, that I can live and be anywhere and feel very peaceful and open to letting it be as it is, not fighting things.

I suppose the thing that I dislike, because of all the trips back to Canada each summer over two decades, and all the times we have moved, but packing can be a dislike, or an “I’ll do it later” chore. Otherwise, all is very likable!


What is the biggest cultural difference you have experienced between your new country and life back home?

The biggest cultural difference between Canada and Dubai would be around leadership style, freedom of speech and religion, degree of government control, weather, wealth and money mindsets, openness to other cultures and ways of being in the world.


What do you think of the food and drink in your new country? What are your particular likes or dislikes?

I absolutely love Arabic food! Not so crazy about the rose water they pop in a few items, however.


What advice would you give to anyone following in your footsteps?

Prepare yourself before you move overseas. Knowledge is power and expats struggle due to these top two things:

1. Setting up for unrealistic expectations
2. Sudden loss of familiar supports (in addition to myriad other challenges, including culture shock).


What are your plans for the future?

Continue to live abroad, wherever life takes us, and enjoy combining my training as an art therapist, energy healer and Law of Attraction guide to share our workshops and my online 1:1 signature ‘Expat Women Creating Abundance’ program.

It’s my joy to give expat women a chance to leverage the opportunity to grab onto a life-changing opportunity to journey inwardly so as to access their unlimited gifts and power so that they can uncover and express them into the world and be paid money for their meaningful work. My business contact is below, don’t hesitate to contact me for your free Discovery Session if you feel my work might benefit you.


You can keep up to date with Corry's adventures on Facebook and Instagram.


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