Americans in Dubai

Americans account for just 19,000 of Dubai’s 1.2 million population

Joe and Jane Clabby
Joe and Jane Clabby
Jamie and Andrew Waskey Image #2
Jamie and Andrew Waskey
David Stuckey Image #3
David Stuckey
Statue of Liberty Image #4
Statue of Liberty
Dubai offshore sailing club Image #5
Dubai offshore sailing club
United States Capitol Building Image #6
United States Capitol Building
U.S. President Barack Obama Image #7
U.S. President Barack Obama
Joe Clabby, 55

‘Several years ago, I brought the family to visit Dubai as I’d been coming here since the 1980s. I wanted them to see what I’d seen. When my daughter suggested attending a high school in Dubai, it was my wife, Jane who said, “And I’d like to move there as well!” My business in the States wasn’t doing its best, and after the suggestion from the ladies in my life, I saw an opportunity to make the move here too. I travel a lot, and now I feel like I am in the centre of the world. I can get anywhere now; Asia and Europe seem more accessible.

We were lucky to find a home on The Palm, where we can have our dog, our kids can get to school in less than 15 minutes, and we are able to taxi everywhere. We didn’t buy a car here, and are perfectly happy without one. We have also found that our kids are getting a world-class education. They were the top of their class in America, and here they are finding that international students know a thing or two, and they have to work very hard to keep up.’

Jamie & Andrew Waskey 26, 32

‘My resume was sent to Dubai, without my knowing, by a friend of mine. So when someone from the city called we thought, “Where’s Dubai? What is this place?” But the more we learned, the more we fell in love with this part of the world.

‘We didn’t expect Dubai to be so grandiose. We expected that part of the appeal of living abroad would be roughing it a bit. But Dubai is such a modern city and we actually had to search for the rougher edges. Now we appreciate that older Deira, mixed with the newer parts of Dubai, provide a mix of culture and modernity.

‘We came to Dubai for work, but have been enjoying ourselves immensely outside our jobs – I’m a business analyst and Jamie is a market research manager. Last week we went hiking in Hatta, climbed a mountain and found fossils. We got our Scuba certification here, and go diving all the time. Dubai’s coast is good for that. We’ve visited a Bedouin village with our Emirati friends, which was very cool. We spend time in Musandam, and love the fjords. Entertaining guests from all over the world gives us an excuse to really get out and explore, so we’re always trying new things.

‘When we get homesick there are always American podcasts. We can listen to US shows until we’re sick of them. Hopping in the car to drive is always an American thing to do. The closest we’ve come to America in Dubai? Lime Tree Café feels like a sweet neighbourhood sandwich shop in the States. And at this year’s American Business Council Fourth of July celebration there was a softball tournament, complete with Americana treats such as pulled-pork sandwiches and Budweiser beer.’ The couple keeps a blog of their experiences in Dubai:

David Stuckey, ‘12 Under Par’

‘I have no plans of ever moving back to America. A visit every so often is one thing, but I enjoy myself here in the UAE. To be honest, I delight in a location where I can sail 12 months a year. I didn’t have that in the States. My passion for sailing wasn’t what brought me here though. Friends who taught at a school in the city encouraged me to come over. That was 1985, when Dubai was very different. I thought it was a unique place.

Life was much more laid back at that time. I spent seven years teaching in Libya and three years working for a multinational company in Cairo, so I had travelled quite extensively in the Middle East and North Africa when I arrived. Dubai is just another set of fascinating experiences.

‘I taught at the American School of Dubai for 13 years, until I began working for a research company. Recently I started my own organisation. Perhaps it was Dubai’s effect on me, the buzz of business development caught my attention and I have several clients based around the world.

‘The multicultural aspect of Dubai is significantly different to a lot of the United States. This international city is ideal for networking and has certainly opened my eyes to different cultures. I’ve met most people at Dubai Offshore Sailing Club, where I spend a lot of time. We share a hobby, and a passion. And, lucky for us, there is sailing
all year round.

My favourite Dubai experiences? Sailing in the Maktoum Trophy Series for the last two years has been a wonderful experience and sailing in five Dubai/Muscat races is another. Desert camping and driving through Wadi Bih twice was also a great challenge.’


American Business Council, (04 340 7566).

Dubai Offshore Sailing Club, (04 394 1669).

Country profile

America is more than a country, it’s an idea, dreamed up by a rebellious group of colonists, who, in declaring independence from the British state in 1776, coined that famous phrase, ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.’ And so America set out to be different – in its ambition for all its citizens, irrespective of their birth. This took a long time to realise.

While the United States became the world’s unrivalled superpower in the early 20th century it was not until last year that the country gained its first black president, Barack Obama. Still, in this remarkably short time, the USA has become the world’s biggest economy, contributed many important technological advancements, and played an instrumental part in the establishment of the United Nations. Not bad for a country that’s been around for fewer than 250 years.

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