Hello. My name is Nosagie Sherman. I am a third-year student at the University of Cincinnati majoring in Accounting, Information Systems, and International Business. I am currently studying abroad at the American University in Dubai (AUD) as a recipient of the AUD William Jefferson Clinton Scholarship for the Spring 2023 semester. My motivation to apply for the Clinton Scholarship was my desire to learn more about the Middle East region. The Middle East has always been a place I have had an interest to learn more. From Egypt to Iran and beyond, I have always been intrigued by the heritage and history of this area, often considered the birthplace of civilization itself. The United Arab Emirates specifically has been a place I have wanted to experience and learn more about because of its rich culture, amazing economics, and beautiful architecture.
My first month here at AUD has been full of a plethora of experiences that could be considered by many as once in a lifetime. Whether it is shopping at the extensive spread of stores at the Dubai Mall, visiting the breathtaking skyscraper - Burj Khalifa, or taking a boat ride to the historical district, I have found myself taking in many experiences that others can only dream of. Yet, throughout my time here, my favorite moment has most definitely been when it rained heavily for 3 days straight, a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience. Dubai has a hot desert climate where it rains 25 days out of the year on average and when it does rain, it usually lasts a few hours and it is truly rare for it to rain for a whole day, let alone three days.
It started raining rather heavily on a Wednesday afternoon during my first week at AUD. I was in my dorm getting ready to head to class when it started. I was amazed by many of my peers’ reactions to it. While I had trotted away to class in a hoodie not minding whether I had got wet, most of the people chose to get take shelter under the roof and some of them were somehow surprised by my carelessness in walking through the rain. It was certainly a reminder to me that I am in a different cultural environment. What is considered a common occurrence in one place is rare in another.
Later that day I decided to take a walk in the rain to a supermarket. The streets were flooded due to the heavy rainfall and I found myself thinking about a few differences that I noticed here. The things that I have mostly forgotten about in years and take for granted, such as the huge parking lots in front of the grocery stores in the US compared to parking garages in Dubai, or the relatively affordable delivery services here, which is a huge help to me and makes getting food easier compared to other places I have been. Bathrooms are equipped with shatafa (شَطَّافَة, a bidet shower, also known as a commode shower, toilet shower, bum shower) compared to the US where there is just a toilet. Or even things as simple as buildings or sidewalks are made with different styles and designs along with a variety of new and exotic options available in the grocery store.
My first month in Dubai! A great learning experience to observe new things and adapt to a new environment. Some of the most memorable parts of my experience come from the small things and moments – people you meet and things you do. I had a very enjoyable first month here at AUD and I am excited to see what the next few months have in store.