This second year’s mum moved to Dubai as soon as he started uni

He only flies Emirates

Everyone gets to that point in university where it feels like their home life is getting on without them – mum and dad don’t do your laundry any more, you don’t get as many calls from your siblings, and your dog seems to have forgotten who you are. But Alex Jeffery, who studies English at JMU, probably knows more than any of us about this. His mum moved to Dubai a month after he came to uni.

Alex used to live in St Albans, but his mum made the surprise move across the world once he had settled into his student accommodation. He told The Tab: “She had wanted to get away from London for a little while. I don’t travel to Dubai too often, I’ve only been three times since she moved. I only fly Emirates because there is no amount of money I won’t pay to avoid waiting in the airport, in a queue in super humid 30 degree plus heat while somebody angrily stamps my passport. It isn’t even that the food is better on Emirates, but they do have better films. When I do visit, my mum pays for my flights out there, but I work three days a week to get myself through uni.”

His mum moved to Dubai as soon as he started university

Alex moved most of his stuff to Liverpool, but does miss being able to pop home occasionally. He added: “All my stuff, the stuff that felt like mine, I brought to Liverpool with me. I’ve always only had what I thought were the essentials, so I took all my clothes and my guitar and books up to Liverpool and have been carrying them around since. While I was up in Liverpool, my mum got all the furniture shipped to Dubai before she flew over with my dog a week or so later. I’m not really a homesick kind of person but I do miss being able to just hide from society sometimes, whereas now I have my house share in Liverpool and that’s it. I’m pretty introverted so that’s something I miss, having my own space. The main thing I miss though is my dog and cat who are in Dubai. It sounds sad but I’m generally too busy to get too homesick.”

The 21-year-old said he’s found there’s not much to do in Dubai, adding: “I guess if I was comparing Liverpool and Dubai, I’d say they’re the complete opposite. Liverpool has more heart, plus it has a better bar to desert ratio. In Dubai it’s just the stuff you see in adverts. It’s all massive malls and buildings. Once you get past that, there isn’t a great deal to do, especially when it’s 40 degrees outside: very few things are worth going out in that heat for. To be honest, I don’t really like it. I like a holiday, I like seeing my dog and I like the heat when it’s just right, but for the most part, you’re either getting drunk at home or some hotel, or just walking around the malls desperately trying to imagine you need a new pair of shorts to justify buying something.”

Alex told The Tab the boredom is the worst part of his mum’s new home, which is around a seven hour flight from his old home in St Albans. He said: “I usually start to feel sad after the eighth consecutive day of drinking with my mum and my dog, but the house in Dubai is insane. There are so many houses to fill so it isn’t too expensive to rent a really nice one. It’s worth getting a really nice house because you aren’t going out for half the year or more because of the heat. The heat doesn’t really go away at night, either; it just hangs there, but at least you won’t burn. But although the house is nice and it is the most chilled out, relaxing place in early March and in October, for the rest of the year you’re just sat inside getting cabin fever and watching weirdly censored TV. They’ll say ‘fuck’ but I’ve noticed ‘gay’ has been bleeped before. I prefer the UK, purely because there is more freedom to step outside, even I have to get a bit damp.”