UAE Alumni: 'Being in the UAE was a golden period in my life,' says former expat

To former expat Benoy K Paul, the UAE is a place that allays fears and tension

By Karishma Nandkeolyar

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Published: Thu 8 Feb 2024, 6:25 PM

The day began well enough for former UAE expat Benoy K Paul. The maths teacher went to school, attended his classes and in the afternoon was on his way home. He took the Dubai Metro when he began to feel something was amiss; he was feeling nauseous and giddy. He got off at a station and began to feel faint. He sat down on the floor. Immediately, he recalls, a police officer approached him to ask what was wrong. Within a few minutes of answering, the officer had called an ambulance, and he was on his way to the hospital. “Within minutes,” he says with an air of awe, adding, “the response time of the police is so quick and they are so kind and friendly.”

The father-of-two says this wasn’t his first experience with kind officers. Once when the family of four – Paul, his wife and two sons – were at another metro station, they were called aside by a group of officers. “I was scared, I thought maybe I had done something wrong and was in trouble. But they had called us aside to give my sons some sweets,” he says.

Paul, who was in the UAE for 18 years before moving to Canada in 2023, is full of praise for the country. “Truly, being in the UAE was the golden period in my life, both professionally and personally. The UAE is one of the best countries in the world,” he says.

In 2021, for example, when India was celebrating Independence Day (August 15), he says, he won a prize for exemplary teaching from an Indian government institution. When his students scored 100 per cent in maths, he was honoured again by his school.

In his personal life, he says, he’s been amazed at how safe Dubai is. (Dubai was named one of the safest cities in the world to live in 2023 by crowd-sourced online database Numbeo; Abu Dhabi came in first). “My wife and kids can walk around even if it’s late at night and I don’t have to worry about anything. It’s completely safe.”

And there is so much to do here, he adds. “Whether it’s going to a mall or to a different emirate, there’s always so much to do. People may think the city is very expensive, but you know, there’s something for every budget. The value-for-money deals really are value.”

Paul feels that in the UAE, every nationality is treated equally and with respect. “This is only possible because of the visionary leadership in the country, especially President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister, and Ruler of Dubai. They are my heroes,” he adds.

This leadership is focused on digitisation and making things convenient for the citizens, residents and visitors in the emirates. “Whenever you go to any government entity, the responses you get are so swift and the people so friendly; it’s really something else,” he says.

He recalls the birth of his younger son, who is now eight years old. “The delivery happened in GMC Ajman. I was so nervous when my wife went into the labour room but there was a screen there that we could keep a watch on and it would show you immediately when a child was born. Within seconds of my son being born, I knew and could relax,” he laughs.

“The UAE is the only place in the world where they try to alleviate all your tension. Everything happens quickly and with precision. I really love the UAE,” he concludes.

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