Dubai: A Bittersweet Good-bye

Submitted by Arya Shajpaul on the 2020 winter session program in Dubai sponsored by the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering…

In a blink of an eye, my study abroad in Dubai was over. I can’t describe how fast the month went by. I kept myself busy through lots of excursions to explore the city, enriching myself in its culture. My whole class became a tightly knit community, and I will miss spending the time with them to do adventurous activities.

Trying the foods from countries like Iraq, UAE, India, Afghanistan, Lebanon, and Iran was amazing. It really encouraged me to eat foods from across the globe. When I picture biryani and hummus, I see the Arabian Teahouse in Old Dubai. The graveled floor causing your shoes to become white, the vines and flowers growing alongside each other on the ceiling, and the beautiful silverware encouraging you to eat all form a part in the atmosphere here. The food is rich in spices, flavor, and taste, proudly embodying authentic Emirati food.

Dubai has an endless amount of activities. By taking the metro system or taxi, I can do things such as water sports, skydiving, dune bashing, shopping, skiing, and much more. Skiing in Dubai was one of the most interesting activities I’ve done. This wasn’t because of the skiing. Rather, the sheer absurdity of it. No one would believe you if you told them that you went skiing in a desert. A mall called the Mall of the Emirates has an indoor ski slope with ski lifts, snow tubing, and a place to see emperor penguins. The city has plans to create even larger ski slopes in their future malls.

It was a bittersweet feeling as I went to the airport. I was happy to see family and friends, but I know I will miss the city for the food, activities, environment, and culture around me. I really hope I can visit again in the future and see the city develop.