A pretty good semester abroad May 31, 2016

By (American University) - abroad from 01/31/2016 to 05/22/2016 with

American University of Sharjah: Sharjah - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
My courses were enlightening because the students in my classes had personal experiences that they offered which I would not have gotten at home (in courses like Arab history, middle eastern politics). I made amazing friends - most of which were other American exchange students, however some friends were local students. The school is incredibly diverse and you can learn a lot from people's different background. Almost all the local students speak Arabic so in theory it should be easy to find students to practice with (however it is difficult to get people to practice with you and they speak to you in English instead).

Review Photos

American University of Sharjah: Sharjah - Direct Enrollment & Exchange Photo American University of Sharjah: Sharjah - Direct Enrollment & Exchange Photo American University of Sharjah: Sharjah - Direct Enrollment & Exchange Photo

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No

One of the biggest reasons I say no is that I think i could have learned more of the language and Arab culture at another program (Jordan for example). I knew this coming in but still decided that UAE would be a good option.

Finances

* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

Language

* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Intermediate
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Intermediate 2
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? The Bridge Language Exchange program was helpful but unfortunately my partner and I didn't meet very often

Direct Enrollment/Exchange

* Did you study abroad through an exchange program or did you directly enroll in the foreign university? Direct Enrollment

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • International Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Beautiful campus
  • Diverse student population
  • a lot to do in the country (outside of Sharjah)
* What could be improved?
  • Better Arabic courses and maybe more emphasis for language exchange
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Like I said before, it is really difficult to be integrated into the local culture. UAE is so diverse that Emiratis tend to seclude themselves and are less excited by foreigners. I made no Emirati friends at all. Aside for Emiratis specifically, integrating into the local culture (music, language and food) is something you have to push for. You could easily never learn Arabic music, eat non-American food and only speak English the entire semester if you don't make an effort to integrate into the local culture.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

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The Outright Urbanite
A social butterfly, you're happiest in bustling cities with hip people, and took advantage of all it had to offer. You enjoyed the nightlife, and had fun going out dancing, and socializing with friends. Fun-loving and dressed to the nines, you enjoyed discovering new restaurants, shops, cafes, and bars in your host country.