Monday, November 17, 2014

What is it like to live and work in the Middle East?

By Alon Calinao Dy: Middle East countries remain the top choice these days for many people who want to make a difference and experience a diverse environment. It is a rich learning experience for a variety of reasons:

Photo credit: Olive Bryan Padua (MOH Kuwait)

  • Personal growth - Some say that relationships are not truthful in nature in the Middle East and when you are gone, some people whom you called friends would twist and disrespect you. This is a personal development as you become aware and knowledgeable on how to deal with different personalities. 
  • Cultural experience - I have learned about different people, their cultures, and different nationalities. I enjoy talking and socializing with other nationals. But the most significant thing of all is respect. I have to respect their religion, views, and who they are as people.
  • Save money - It is true that I dwell in a tax-free country with few expenses. The money I earned in the Middle East enabled me to support my family in the Philippines. That's why I'm so thankful for my monthly income.
  • Skill and career development opportunities - I have established a good reputation as an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW). I am always positive, optimistic, and flexible at work. I am also open to new and exciting career options because I am not afraid to explore new things wherever opportunities lead me.
  • Human rights awareness - The laws are not always evenly applied in the Middle East like some countries in Asia. It is true that it is better for you to shut your mouth and determine not to discover anything. But the good thing is, you begin to thoroughly understand your rights as a person against human rights abuses.

Photo credit: Marie Grace C. Lim

I don’t bear a single regret about the time I have spent in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. These countries unfold my eyes to see the real world and in better perspectives. I become open to fresh ideas, to new people and to different ways of doing things. 

In my stay in Kuwait, I have known Olive Bryan Padua  for more than two years who worked as a staff nurse in Ministry of Health. I also worked in the same profession in MOH, but that was months ago. I remember Bryan loved to sing and play guitar during his free time or rest day after work. He was industrious and still working too hard for his family. He is a wonderful person.

In the Gulf, you will encounter sandstorms that it is good for you to spend the whole day at home. You can actually do a lot of things on your own time and convenience at home. Chess is what I usually played with my buddy Julius Macabuhay whom I considered a great chess player and a grandmaster. I admit I always lost in a game when I played against him. 

If you love the sport of basketball, then my friend Sherwin Lim is the person you need to call. He is an easy-going, kind, and sports-minded person. Losing weight is not a big problem.

These are some of the things I normally did when I felt bored in Kuwait. I was so grateful that I had free furnished accommodation, transportation, paid annual leave, and a good income during my time.

I guess it always depends upon a person on how he/she considered his/her Middle East ExperiencePersonally, I have experienced many things and seen new parts of the world. Indeed, I have to show a deep respect to a wide range of nationalities despite differences in various aspects of life. 

Not only that, I have to sacrifice for my loved ones just like any OFW. I have to save my hard- earned money for potential emergencies or future use. I need to live a comfortable life and come up some alternatives where I can be with my children when they grow old. I believe everyone deserves a prosperous life.