Why I Love Studying Abroad

The best part of studying in a different country has to be all the new friends one makes. I’ve befriended people from Vietnam, Egypt, Morocco, France, and many more exotic places!

Since I’ve first arrived in the United Arab Emirates I’ve met and befriended many people from every corner of the world. The first person I met upon arrival was Hong Ho, my supervisor, originally from Vietnam. She’s told me about the long Vietnamese dishes she prepares for her family, and how each dish takes such precious attention and such long hours to finish. The people back home tend to have similar dishes, but here we have a wide range of people resulting in a wide range of dishes. I’ve tasted spicy curry dishes from Indian cooks, warm manakeesh with labneh and zaatar from Lebanese shops, and the most succulent dates from the fields of Saudi Arabia. I will definitely take some of these recipes back home with me.

Then, at the university, I met my Egyptian roommate Mike. Mike’s Egyptian Arabic is excellent, and he’s kind enough to help me on my own Egyptian Arabic. In the dorm room, Mike often talks in Arabic to his friends and family on the phone, and listening to his conversations aids in my Arabic intonation. Learning a new language in the United States can be challenging, but learning a new language in a country where the language is widely spoken really helps the learning process.

Then there’s Adil, my Moroccan neighbor in the dorms. He loves to dress up in his native Moroccan traditional outfits, and he looks fantastic doing so. In the United States it seems that people tend to dress in a similar fashion. But here in the UAE each person dresses in the fashion of their native country. The Lebanese dress differently than the Egyptians. Emiratis dress differently than Jordanians. And the Indians, wow! The Indian fashion culture is so rich. Girls and boys from India often wear robes and scarves in vibrant colors. You really have to see it in person.

Phillipe is also here, a student from France. His French accent is as thick as butter and the things he says sound so cool! Since we have students from all over the world, no two people here have the same accent. And for the first time, people have remarked that I have an American accent!

Studying abroad affords you the opportunity to meet people who have grown up in radically different environments. Take the opportunity if you can, I promise you’ll love it.

At the Falcon Shop

At the Falcon Shop

Outside Qatar’s Museum of Islamic Art

Outside Qatar’s Museum of Islamic Art

Qatar’s State Mosque

Qatar’s State Mosque

On the Balcony of Qatar’s Museum of Islamic Art

On the Balcony of Qatar’s Museum of Islamic Art

My Friends and Me on an Abra Boat

My Friends and Me on an Abra Boat

The Canal in Villagio Mall in Qatar. Emulates Italy’s Venice.

The Canal in Villagio Mall in Qatar. Emulates Italy’s Venice.

Carlos Aguero is a student at the University of New England and an official API Student Blogger. Carlos is studying abroad with API in Sharjah, UAE.

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