Lucie Kershaw Davis is a mum of two beautiful boys Ralphie and Artie. She moved to Dubai from England three and a half years ago. I was keen to ask her some questions all about adapting to her new life. And here are her spectacular answers.
Was it difficult for you as a Mother making this move?
I never imagined myself moving out of London. It wasn’t anything that was on my radar. I lived very close to my immediate family and friends that I’d grown up with all my life. So as you can imagine I had a huge reservation about moving here and I was very nervous about it.
My children were the only grandchildren at that time in my family, so it really impacted my parents. We are all very close.
There were two main concerns I had about moving here. One was my children not being with their immediate family and two schooling.
My eldest son at the time of the move was six years old and very settled in his school. Schooling for me is a key priority. I had specifically chosen this school in England from when he was first born. We’d gone through an interview process to get into this school and it was a difficult school to get a place at. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to replicate that kind of school in Dubai.
It was a very small private Catholic prep school, which obviously wasn’t going to exist in Dubai. I was quite upset about leaving. Not for myself but mainly for my older son.
My other son was one and a half and I knew he would adapt very quickly and he wouldn’t be able to really tell the difference.
When it came to leaving the UK I didn’t really make a big deal of it. I didn’t tell any of my friends I was leaving. I kind of said, “we’re just gonna spend some time in Dubai and see how we get on.”
We left everything as it was at home. So I had the option if I wanted to go home at any point. But I had to give Ralphie’s school space up. I would say that was the most emotional part because I knew even if I moved home, I wouldn’t be able to put Ralphie back into that school as his space would’ve been taken.
When it came to family, I kind of just assumed I would be back and forward and home a lot. As a family we came to Dubai a lot and my parents liked Dubai so I knew I would see them.
I wasn’t really looking forward to the move but when I got here i realised it’s such a huge expat community. I think they make up more than 90% of the population here and everyone is in the same situation. No one’s got family, no one’s got childhood friends and here everyone is very friendly, open and helpful.
Then Covid hit. I had only been here three months which isn’t long at all. And my focus during those three months was settling the boys, settling them in school, settling them into nursery.
I didn’t know anybody here when I moved here.I didn’t know a single person. I didn’t have anybody’s phone number. I didn’t know anyone that lived in Dubai. So Covid was really tough. I was literally isolated with the children and we weren’t allowed to leave the property.
I didn’t end up seeing my family for 18 months which was a huge shock to the system. However, looking back now I think it definitely helped me settle and adapt to life here because I didn’t have the option to keep going home.
What are your children’s thoughts about Dubai?
If I’m honest, I don’t think they really remember home. Children transition and adapt so quickly. When we first moved here, I had a six year old and a one and a half year old. My one and a half year old does not remember home anymore. My six year old, has only been back to the UK once since we left because of Covid.
In reality, once you’ve got kids in school here and you’re settled, it’s not realistic that you can go back and forth to the U.K. You can’t pull them out of school, so you only have school holidays. So they don’t know anything else other then Dubai. For them, Dubai is home!
I want them to understand that they are so fortunate and so lucky to live here. They have access to all these different activities, after school clubs and experiences.
People say the children here live in a bubble. I don’t see it that way. I feel that they have more opportunities, they have more freedom, they have more experiences. Their exposed to different nationalities and different cultures.
It’s a very transient city so they are used to making new friends all the time. They’re used to socialising with different nationalities, different cultures. And for me, I think that’s so important and I think it really helps a child develop and just be more worldly.
We do live in an amazing city. They are lucky to experience this in their childhood.
Are you happy with the standard of schooling here?
This is a very personal experience. I think Schooling here is very different from my experience in the uk. Both of my sons are at British schools here. I feel that the schools here offer more than just an academic curriculum. They also offer activities and experiences.
The boys attend an international school so they’ve got friends, from all different parts of the world, all different cultures, all different nationalities, and the children really do all just blend so well together.
My eldest son has five best friends who are from all different parts of the world. They all love going to each other’s houses and trying the different food from their local countries.
I would also say the facilities in the school here are just fantastic.
There is an opportunity for every child, whatever sport or activity they excel in.
The schools here are a big part of the children’s lives. I think a lot of families meet their friends and their friendship group through schooling.
My children are very lucky to go to school here.
What advice would you give to another expat family?
I would say stay open-minded. View it as an experience. As an opportunity for your children to meet new people, learn new things. Go for it and fully embrace it.
If people ask to meet up with you, just meet up with them. Go and meet as many different people as you can, and you will finally find your way. You’ll find your friends, you’ll find your group.
Nothing is forever. This is just a part of us as a family and a part of my children’s childhood that hopefully they’ll look back on and see an amazing adventure. An amazing experience.
Maybe we’re stay here forever, maybe only for a few years, who knows?
Take every opportunity that life has to offer.
One of the things I’ve tried to do with my children is embrace all of the stuff that you couldn’t do in your country or city that you are from. We have tried to travel as much as we can in the UAE and show them that the UAE has got so much more to offer than just Dubai.
It’s important to me as a mother that they understand the local culture in the country we are leaving in.
What’s your favourite memory as a family?
My favourite moment or memory is traveling. My absolute favourite thing to do is travel with my children. To watch them experience new countries, new things, see new sites, meet new people.
All being together as a family, out of that day-to-day routine. Just being together and experiencing new things.
I love to go to new places and meet new people, and I hope that my children, follow and enjoy doing that.
I hope it’s something that they continue to do when they’re older.
What product could you not parent without?
Mine are a little bit older now. I can’t really think of something that I’m heavily reliant on. Oh, do you know what it’s gotta be the yo-yo pram hasn’t it? They didn’t exist when Ralphie was younger and I actually don’t know how I used to travel so much and get around without a yo-yo. Yeah, I still take my yo-yo out now for Artie. I could not live and I don’t know how I lived before the yo-yo stroller.