Great for Multiculturalism, Not Ideal for Focused Arabic Study Past Review

By (Wellesley College) - abroad from 01/12/2018 to 05/16/2018 with

API (Academic Programs International): Sharjah - American University of Sharjah

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Traveled a lot (dubai airport was very close), joined a lot of cultural groups (Global Day was absolutely amazing), ate some great food, explored a metropolitan side of the Middle East that is often forgotten.

Review Photos

API (Academic Programs International): Sharjah - American University of Sharjah Photo API (Academic Programs International): Sharjah - American University of Sharjah Photo API (Academic Programs International): Sharjah - American University of Sharjah Photo API (Academic Programs International): Sharjah - American University of Sharjah Photo API (Academic Programs International): Sharjah - American University of Sharjah Photo

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Academics definitely required work, but the class selection was very small, and there were no bio/chem labs at all. Languages were sparse. Arabic wasn't even offered. STEM classes are just about memorization, poli-sci courses were essay-based and very easy.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

My admin in-country was very responsive and awesome!

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Housing was fine (clean, spacious, convenient), but the curfew is strict and there is little to no dorm social life.

* Food:

No food plan, food was very expensive and difficult to get sometimes.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

AUS IXO orientation did a great job for social integration.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Clinic on campus was very helpful.

* Safety:

UAE is super safe.

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

I'd choose a program where I could speak more arabic. That being said, the cultural activities (from all over the world, especially Pakistan and India) were invaluable.


* 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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? I spent about $75 per week on food, about $30-50 per week on transportation, and about $50-75 per week on fun things (drinks, museums, movies, etc.)
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Bring cooking utensils and be prepared to cook!


* 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

They didn't even offer my language course, they just excused the requirement.

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? 3 semesters and an unofficial summer course
How many hours per day did you use the language? 0
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Take a class or go to a different country. I used more Urdu in the UAE than arabic.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with? 10+

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Multiculturalism
  • Attractions of Dubai
  • Ease of travel
* What could be improved?
  • Language Study
  • Food options/being prepared to cook
  • Expensive
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? How expensive it was, how little I would be able to speak Arabic, what a horrible idea it is to start a relationship while abroad.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

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The Avid Adventurer
The wardrobe you packed was better suited for a semester of camping than club hopping. Outdoorsy, you might forgo a crazy night out for an early all-day adventure. You'd rather take in the rich culture of an old town than the metropolis of a modern city, but for you getting off the grid is ideal.