Jacob, from Scotland, travelled to Dubai for a semester as part of the inter-campus transfer programme. He is studying an MEng Structural Engineering with International Studies in the school of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society. Jacob is based at the Edinburgh Campus.
How did the culture differ in your exchange country?
Dubai is a cultural melting pot (and with average temperatures of 30°C, a literal one too). I found the overall attitude to be very relaxed, friendly, and cooperative, which was easy to keep in mind during the few cases of cultural friction I had. As most people I met were expats themselves they very welcoming when they found out I was new, and I very rarely felt out of place.
What were the highlights from you global student experience?
I had enough free time to do many exciting things in Dubai, such as having lunch in the Burj Khalifa 445m high, do a skydive over the Palm Island, and scuba dive off the coast of Oman, all with new friends I'd made through the transfer.
Was there anything that you found challenging about studying in your exchange country?
As the course is identical to that given in Edinburgh I had very few problems changing campus study-wise. My lecturers delivered classes the same way and the exams were taken at the same time. The smaller class size meant there was often more individual support but this also meant the class could get side-tracked and it wasn't always easy to find someone to study with. Also, as there is no dedicated School study space I had to make do with the limited communal study space on campus, which was often loud.
How do you think being a global student will benefit you in your career after university?
The experience of actually living and working in Dubai will help me decide if I want to return there and work after university - like a number of graduates I met whilst there. The contacts I made will be valuable if I do decide to return and helpful with advice in making the decision.