Our next interview with an Overseas Filipino Worker in Dubai is with Kenneth. He works as a lead designer in one of the luxury design firms in the city. Kenneth is a Dubai travel blogger who shares his stories and adventures on his website – www.KennethSurat.com. He is the creator of beautifully crafted blank books called Surat Journals. So when not working, he spends time making these beautiful and fast-selling journals.
As a Dubai expat, Kenneth shares a tip to save at least 20 percent of our salary as we can’t stay in this city forever. Check out our interview with him below.
OFW Interview with Kenneth: Lead Designer and Entrepreneur
OFW Profile: Lead Designer
Education: BS-Architecture at University of the Philippines
No. of years in Dubai: 9 Years
1. Tell me about yourself.
My Name is Kenneth and I am currently working as a lead designer in one of Dubai’s Luxury Design Firms. I also founded a handmade leather journal craft business called Surat Journals and initiated a travel movement called The Traveling Journal Project.
2. Why did you come to Dubai?
Like most of us I came to Dubai because of an employment opportunity.
3. What were your previous jobs?
I worked as a Junior Architectural Designer in a fit-out company in Dubai. That was my very first ever employment job.
4. How do you find your current job? Are you happy/satisfied with it?
Yes I am happy. Although there are still some things that I am aspiring for, I can say that my current job trained me a lot in the design field. I was able to see the other side of Design specially in terms of Luxury. I am also happy that because of my currently job I am able to meet major movers and shakers of Dubai and the UAE.
5. Are you able to save in Dubai? Why/How?
Yes. To be honest, at first it was hard. Saying that Dubai is a playground is an understatement, if you don’t watch where your hard earned money is going to, you’ll end up with a zero bank account balance. The trick is always spend only what you can and don’t touch at least 20% of your salary. As much as possible, stay away from loans and credit cards.
6. Is it difficult to live in Dubai? What are your struggles? What’s life like outside work?
Summer weather is the most difficult part in living here in Dubai. Aside from that, Dubai is a great place to live in. You’ll meet different nationalities, learn cultures and there are a lot of opportunities out there. There are also a lot of OFWs here, so you’ll only feel homesick for a short period. Outside work, I normally hangout with friends, volunteer at church, if not, I stay at home creating some journals ^^.
7. What do you Like about Dubai?
Meeting different nationalities and learning cultures.
8. What do you NOT Like about Dubai?
9. What are your plans in your career/family/future?
I am dreaming of backpacking all over the world and also to create a start-up business here in Dubai of maybe other parts of the world.
10. You have any tips for Kabayans when working/finding work/living in Dubai?
Be open to opportunities out there. Don’t be confined on what society thinks of you. Most Filipinos thought that because they/we are Pinoy’s we can’t aspire more in terms of the corporate ladder. A lot of Filipinos around the world have proven that we Pinoys can contribute great things in this world and I think more than being proud (#proudpinoy), we should work hard to be the best that we can.
Instagram: @kennethsurat and @thetravelingjournalproject
Facebook: The Traveling Journal Project: facebook.com/TheTravelingJournalProject
Surat Journals: facebook.com/suratjournal
*Photos provided by Kenneth
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