Move toAbu Dhabi

Amy Gilbert

Owner of Perfect Balance Rehabilitation Centre

It is a business-friendly city. The relevant authorities are on hand to answer any question you may have. I found the department’s advisors incredibly helpful during the initial stages right until the day the doors of my business opened.

For many expat families moving abroad, a good education and lifestyle that allows children to grow, express their creative sides and experience new activities are some of the top priorities.

Amy Gilbert, owner of Perfect Balance Rehabilitation Centre has enjoyed the full experience of the expat lifestyle in Abu Dhabi, having spent most of her youth in the city, attending one of its prestigious schools.

“I was educated and grew up in Abu Dhabi with my sister. I loved my time at school and the lifestyle that afforded us the chance to try out numerous activities like horse riding and swimming. The schools are very culturally diverse in Abu Dhabi even more so now than when I was attending. I remember my class had at least 15 different nationalities which I don’t believe you would get anywhere else in the world. Being exposed to all those different cultures at that age is a very valuable experience for everyone.”

Having left Abu Dhabi with her parents when she was 16-years-old, Amy completed her studies in the UK, qualifying as a physiotherapist. She worked for a number of years in the NHS, however the allure of Abu Dhabi, its lifestyle and chance to work for herself in the city that she truly adored, proved too irresistible.

“We were one of those families who eventually left after 11 wonderful years in Abu Dhabi to return to the UK where I completed my schooling and education. However, the pull of Abu Dhabi was too hard later on in my life to resist and eventually I returned to my true home.”

“When I was back in the UK, I qualified as a physiotherapist, but my ultimate dream was to work for myself. I wanted that added challenge to push myself out of my comfort zone. I had this opportunity in Abu Dhabi. Like anywhere else in the world, beginning a new enterprise can be challenging. However, it is a business-friendly city. The relevant authorities are on hand to answer any question you may have. I found the department’s advisors incredibly helpful during the initial stages right until the day the doors of my business opened.

“From start to finish, it took 18 months to set up my business in Abu Dhabi. But I don’t consider that amount of time a negative. It meant I could build up important relationships with referring doctors and build up relationships with gyms and other key stakeholders of the community that would support my business. The speed of setting up a business here, depends on what industry sector you are setting up in and so the time frames vary and some start-ups can take as little as around two to three months to be established.”

Perfect Balance Rehabilitation Centre has been in operation for almost five years and the freedom that Amy now enjoys from running her own business in Abu Dhabi, has enabled her to begin a family. Maternal care in Abu Dhabi is one of the best in the world according to Amy and she would have not have any hesitation in recommending the city as a place to experience your pregnancy journey to any soon-to-be mums. “Being able to run my own business in Abu Dhabi has provided me with a wonderful work life balance where I can work for myself and also start a family. I am so grateful to have had my baby here. Having compared my pregnancy experiences with my friends back in the UK, it is worlds apart in terms of the amount of time and attention devoted to my needs and my child. I received a lot of one-on-one attention and was able to visit the doctor on a regular basis during my pregnancy journey.

“I was fortunate to have my parents here to assist me during the pregnancy and post-partum but even if you don’t have family members here, the expat community of mums is amazing. There are plenty of resources in terms of support and advice in the form of WhatsApp and Facebook groups where you can ask questions of those members. It is a very supportive environment especially for first-time mums, something which I think comes with being in an expat community.

“I hope to have more children and I have no hesitation in saying that I wish for them to be born in Abu Dhabi because of the wonderful maternal care but also the opportunities that are provided to children in terms of education and after-school activities, two aspects of Abu Dhabi that I really value and have experienced.”

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