Visit to Oman

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

During the last week on our program, we had a chance to visit a construction site. I have never been on a construction site before, and it was really cool to see the stuff we learn about in our international construction class in action. We also traveled to Oman and went on the Dolphin Khasab Tours. The boat we went on was all carpeted which I thought was interesting. On the cruise, we got to jump off the top deck into the water and snorkel. The ocean water was fantastic, really clear and refreshing. On the way back to shore, we were able to see dolphins swimming along with the boat. I’m really glad I decided to go on this study abroad, the experience I had was unbelievable. I learned so much about Islamic culture and about Dubai. It was very eye-opening, and now I can help to eliminate stereotypes.

Our group
Driving through Oman on the way to the boat
Oman mountains from the boat
Construction site visit in Oman

United Arab Emirates: Falcons

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

This week, we went to the falcon hospital and had a chance to hold a falcon! I also learned that falcons are a big part of the culture and history of the UAE. Falcons were used for hunting in the desert and are prize possessions to the Emiratís. In airports, falcons get their own passport to avoid smuggling. This week,  we also went up in the Burj Khalifa. Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world and unlike other buildings it doesn’t have stabilizers. To avoid movement, the building was designed so the air funnels around the building.


Burj Khalifa


Dubai: It Rained!

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

This past week, we experienced rain in Dubai! Since Dubai is a desert, they only get rain about five times a year, and when we were here it rained four days in a row. The streets flooded, there were puddles everywhere, and there was a lot of leaking. It was funny to see that since they never get rain even if they get a little, the city is in puddles. We went to the desert too and it was crazy to experience the temperature drop. As soon as the sun went down it was freezing. Also, in the desert, we met with Emirates and had a chance to talk with them and ask them questions. I learned about how they eat with their hands, they eat in the ground, and never ask a guest why they’re there or if they’re leaving. They are also very family oriented.

We also had a chance to visit Global Village. Global Village is like Epcot in Disney World with sections from all different countries. They had Egypt, Iran, Turkey, Africa, Yemen, and so many more. Also, for a class project, Dr. Small gave us all 100 AED to find an object that has cultural significance and we presented what we have purchased the next day in class. I found a singing bowl in India. A singing bowl is used in Buddhist practices such as meditation to clear the air of bad energy. It is used as a stress reliever and to clear your head. It is now common among yoga practitioners.

The streets in Dubai flooding after the rain
Me in the desert at sundown
A bridge in the Global Village

Cultural Differences in Dubai

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

It has been a full week in Dubai as of today and it has been amazing. I have learned so much in and out of the classroom. One of my favorite parts of the week was when we went to The Sheikh Mohammed Center for Cultural Understanding. I learned more about the Arab and Muslim culture here. I did not expect it, but women seem to have more privileges than men. For example, women can go into the men’s prayer, but men can’t go into women’s prayer. Women can also pray alone and anywhere, while men must pray in groups or go to a mosque. Also, while women are on the menstrual cycle, they can skip fasting, and it is the woman’s choice to cover up, they are not forced. On the metro, they have about two cars towards the end that are just for women and children, allowing more space for when the station is packed.

On top of the culture, I had a chance to see all the beautiful buildings. I saw the tallest building in the world, Burj Khalifa! We went in a helicopter ride to see all of Dubai and the Palm Island. We had the opportunity to go in the biggest frame in the world, the Dubai Frame. It was about 492 feet up and had a glass floor! This week has taught me so much about their culture and how Dubai loves to dream big!

Dubai Frame right before we went up in it
A bunch of the people from the group standing on the glass floor
The third photo is of the food we had at Sheik Mohammed Center for Culturual Understanding. We had to take our shoes off and we sat on the ground. It was a very fun experience!
The fourth photo is from the helicopter ride we took. This is the Palm Jumeirah, aka Palm Island, since it looks like a Palm tree from aerial view.

Learning About Dubai

Submitted by Travis Plystak on the 2019 winter session program in Dubai sponsored by the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering…

Dubai is a vibrant city-state in the UAE and is full of people from around the world. Less than one hour after getting off the plane, I had already seen/talked to people from five different countries. The first thing we did was go to a mall where we got food and while in line I got to talk to a South African woman named Megan who told us about good places to go to out, make friends and have fun while we’re here. The mall, Ibn Battuta is a worldly place in which different sections of the building are designed to look like a culture from different parts of the world.

The next day, we took a tour of the Palm Island in Jumeirah with one of Dr. Small’s friends from the area and then had dinner with even more of them that night where we were welcomed with open arms. That night, I learned about the Bedouin, a nomadic tribe in the Arab world and their practices. What struck me as most interesting about them is that they won’t ask a traveler ‘s name until their fourth day of acquaintance. This is because the Bedouin believe that knowing one’s name is equivalent to taking responsibility for their health and well-being between the pair. If the traveler is with the tribe for more than three days, that meant that the two parties had some sort of purpose together.

Besides that, some interesting things I learned about Dubai during the first week were that people in the Middle East sometimes eat food with their bare hands and no utensils. I got to experience that first-hand at a little seafood place by the beach where me and two friends ate fish, rice, and prawns with just our hands while stray cats looked on at us. There are many stray cats in this city and they are revered creatures because of an old Islamic tale of when a cat slept on the King’s robe and the King cut off that corner of his robe in order to not disturb the cat.

There are many more things I’d like to talk about, but I have had a lot of information thrown at me in the two weeks I’ve been here and I will try to write it all down to the best of my ability.

China section in Ibn Battuta Mall (Mall of the world)
Group picture in front of the Burj al Arab (which was also posted on UD’s instragram)
Atlantis Hotel/Resort on the Palm Island