You know the saying “time flies when you’re having fun?” My first month in Dubai has taught me that this sentiment is especially true when studying abroad.
Since my arrival in late August, my life has been a whirlwind of new adventures, friendships, and knowledge. With one month of life as a student at AUD under my belt, I have established an equal balance between studying and getting to know Dubai.
I spent my weekends exploring all that Dubai has to offer, bargaining for spices in the Gold Souk, marveling at the beauty of the Burj Khalifa, trying my best to not get lost in the Dubai Mall, and even tasting familiar and yet exotic camel-milk ice cream. These experiences have allowed me to apply what I learn in the classroom in a real-world setting and have greatly enhanced my experience at AUD. Furthermore, they have opened my eyes to the rich culture of the Middle East and have inspired me to learn more about the region.
In between my weekend escapades, my weekdays have been devoted to my classwork. Countless hours were spent analyzing international political systems, learning French, and studying the history of the Middle East. As an international relations enthusiast, AUD’s diverse course offerings and ideal location have prompted me to explore my passion for diplomacy in a way I have never been able to before. Not only have my classes allowed me to immerse myself within the international political climate, but they have also challenged me to view my home country (the United States) in a new light.
In addition to my intellectually stimulating coursework, one of my favorite aspects of being a student at AUD is that learning transcends the typical classroom setting. Whether I am in a classroom or in the kitchen, I am constantly learning new things, both about the world around me and about myself. While it is not often that kitchens are associated with personal growth, the kitchen in the AUD dorms is not merely a kitchen; it is a cross-cultural hub in which students of all nationalities, backgrounds, and religions come together to share their food and their time. My time in the kitchen has been spent having candid interfaith conversations, preparing traditional Middle Eastern dishes, improving my Italian language skills, and, most importantly, fostering relationships with people whom I am now lucky enough to call my friends. These intimate intercultural experiences have been a highlight of my time at AUD and I look forward to having more of them over the course of the next few months.
All things considered, it is hard to believe that my first month in Dubai has already come to an end. My time at AUD has already left a lasting impression on me and I cannot wait to see what the next few months have in store!