Studying in Dubai? La Mushkila
THE countdown began from day five. And before I knew it, I was all buckled up on Emirates Airlines headed for the land of sun and sand. Still fighting the tears from seeing my mom's misty eyes, I was excited about going and studying in an entirely foreign land as well. If you ask me, Dubai does sound like an offbeat study destination; however, I was proven wrong. As it turned out, the University of Wollongong in Dubai has just as much of quality control as its mainland counterpart. However, upon landing, I got lost...literally. Having landed on a Friday, my visa papers were misplaced, and I was detained for the longest three hours of my life. It couldn't get any worse, I thought to myself.
Well I was wrong. When I stepped out, I felt like I was being burned. That is one of the memories of coming to Dubai that I'll remember for a long time. For awhile I considered the thought of catching the next flight back home. I'm glad I did not. Because by staying in Dubai, I opened myself to one of the richest cultural experiences one could experience. I was experiencing an Australian education in the Middle East, while still retaining the opportunity to transfer to the Australian campus whenever I want to. I learned about life in Dubai, and how 'cool' it can be.
When I first stepped in our campus, I was in sheer awe. Apart from the palm trees springing up from here and there, here was one of the most beautiful campuses I've seen since the days in Australia. Widely sprawled brick layered walkways seemed to beckon the students towards the path of education. The food court was 'The Place' to hang out, and not to mention the games room.
The library was, in other words, enormous. Luckily enough, I joined as an assistant librarian there during my fourth semester. One of the many positive aspects of the UOWD campus was its organised allocation of lectures. The teaching quality is good, the lecturers ranging from countries such as Australia to South Africa. It took me awhile to get used to all the running around from one block to another, but later on, those walks led to many sunny afternoons filled with what we call 'jotil adda'.
Staying in the dorms was something new as well. Away from home and being alone, is not pleasant at all. Especially when you are used to being waited on hand and foot. It was a big adjustment to my lifestyle. As they say, with freedom comes responsibility. And being responsible meant keeping my dishes unwashed for days...ahem maybe I wasn't supposed to tell you that bit. Let's not forget the oh so amazing shopping malls, which houses famous brands such as Debenhams or Louis Vuitton. If you make up a habit of spending too much time in one of these malls, you are introducing yourself to a life of bankruptcy. Just go easy on the shopping, and you won't be crying your eyes out at the end of the month.
Apart from maintaining my scholarship, I got to take part in extracurricular activities such as working for the Formula 1 racing. It was quiet an amazing experience as I got to see world class racers such as Benjamin Button and Lewis Hamilton. As the race was located on the Yas Marina Circuit, a manmade area off the coast of Abu Dhabi, the location was beautiful. Though my skin was melting from all the heat, the free drinks provided by BRAWN GP (one of the racing sponsors) did help us to chill out a bit.
Studying in Dubai is not only about academics, it's also about cultural adjustments. Life in Dubai for a student starts off in the morning with the textbook at the lectures and ends with a drive in a luxurious Mercedes Benz in the evening. This medley of education and luxury is really rare I believe. Hence, the land of sun and sand taught me what I went there to learn and a few more things as well. Want to go and see what it's like? Yalla habibi, you are more than welcome to.