From Dubai to Dortmund

Since he relocated from the Middle East, expat partner Mark Sequeira is planning to give himself time to learn German, find his feet and get used to the colder climes of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Peace, quiet and… space

“I’m Indian but I spent most of my childhood and all of my adult life in Dubai before moving to Germany. It’s such a contrast here in so many ways. I have come from a very hot, humid place to a part of Europe where it’s dry and cold. Physically I have struggled at times as I have eczema and it’s taking time for my body to adjust. But I am really enjoying the peacefulness, the greenery and all of the space!  In Dubai, when you go outside, you only see other buildings, construction sites, and cars,” says Mark, an IT professional with Portuguese roots.

Cooking up a storm

“In Dubai, the majority of services run 24/7. Shopping malls stay open through the night. You could have a midnight craving for a very specific food and order it with an app. Less than an hour later it’s at your door. By contrast, we discovered that ordering in is less common and much more expensive in Dortmund. Restaurants also close much earlier. So in my first month here, I cooked more meals at home than I did in the last 10 years in Dubai!”

The language barrier

“When I came to Dortmund first to visit my wife, who relocated ahead of me in 2021, I got a shock when realising that I wouldn’t be able to get by with English. Germans will often say they don’t speak English, even if they’re actually quite good! I realised it’s just that they have high standards and don’t like to make mistakes. I try to encourage them by saying ‘Hey, your English is much better than my German!’”  says Mark, who will now prioritise learning the language with support from his wife’s employer.

Still in holiday mode

“Moving forward, my focus will be studying German but I will explore work opportunities and discuss my options with a coach. I hope I can find work here in Dortmund however, as there are remote opportunities in the IT sector, and luckily I’m flexible in that regard. But currently I’m still in holiday mode and enjoying it. I just want to get a feel for life here and hopefully get used to the weather!”

Photo: Phoenix-See, Dortmund (Mark Sequeira)