Abu Dhabi: When Abu Dhabi residents started talking about why they love the city, they have umpteen number of reasons to mention. Everyone pointed out at least one unique reason, from support system for the special need children to well-designed medical insurance for all residents and people-friendly government offices.
Residents shared their delight with Gulf News about the finding of an international survey, the Ipsos City Index, which named Abu Dhabi the second-best city in the world to live, work and do business.
Cate Stewart, 39-year old full time mother and a former engineer from UK, said: “We have had some great experiences here. I have a four-year-old son with epilepsy and at first, we struggled to find a nursery that would accept him. But once we found one they have been absolutely amazing. He has a fantastic support system around him and one that, I think, is better than what he would receive in the UK. He is with specialists here.”
“Although the long working hours are not ideal, you are rewarded in other ways, such as our medical insurance. We get to see a doctor/specialist as soon as we need to, no need to wait in queues and long waiting lists like we do at home,” said Stewart, the city resident for nine years.
As Gulf News reported on Monday, Abu Dhabi was just after New York, which maintained the overall top spot in the Index. However, the capital overtook both London and Paris. More than 18,000 people, aged between 16 and 64, in 26 countries worldwide were interviewed and leading destinations were chosen from an overall list of 60 cities, including major hubs like Sydney, Hong Kong, Cape Town, Moscow, Toronto, and many more.
Another resident, Ula Abdul Ahad, 35, a Lebanese born in the UAE, said: “Abu Dhabi is a fantastic place to live in for a number of reasons. In terms of business, the facilities and structures that have been put in place, such as the high-tech services and the free-zones, really help anyone who wants to set up business. And there are plenty of opportunities available for entrepreneurs and businesses owners,” said Ahad, who is one of the owners of Al Husam Group and Partner in Inisghts Management Consultancy.
“From a family perspective, we are able to have a very easy and stable family life here,” said the mother of two. She appreciated the multicultural society of the city.
Naji Al Arefi, 27, a Yemeni media professional, said he never wants to go back to his home country Yemen. “This is one of the greatest places in the entire Arab world where everybody resides in harmony and peace,” said Arefi, a resident of Abu Dhabi for 17 years.
“My entire family including parents have been living in Abu Dhabi for several decades and nobody wants to go back. It’s our first home now,” said the father of two sons, who plans to start a business in the emirate.
Nepalese taxi driver, Dipak Thakuri, 32, feels proud of earning money here to finance his 10-year-old daughter’s education back home.
“I feel very safe. No fear here, We can walk around any time of the day and night,” said the city resident for four years. “Being an expatriate this is a good place to live and earn money,” Thakuri said.
Anshul Sharma, 30, an Indian administrator said he found Abu Dhabi as a peaceful city, compared to other major cities in the region. “I enjoy the beautiful city with greenery. I love the beaches … there are many in the city itself,” said the city resident for three-and-a-half years.
“I like people here and friendly environment at government offices, said Sharma who is unmarried.
Saima Shaikh, 38, a Pakistani engineer who has been living in Abu Dhabi for 10 years, said what she liked the most in Abu Dhabi is access to quality education for children. “Therefore, my children also like the city very much. They always say they do not want to go anywhere else when they grow up,” said the mother of two. "The city’s well-planned infrastructure is also worth mentioning,” she said.