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Study Abroad and Domestic Study Away

Notes from Abroad: Marcin in the United Arab Emirates

Marcin Kopanski ’22 majors in Physics and minors in Music.  He studied at the American University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates

My name is Marcin Kopański and I am an international student from Poland, pursuing a Physics major and Music minor at Lake Forest College. During the fall of my sophomore year, I completed a student exchange program at the American University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates. I have had a unique opportunity to explore one of the most vividly developing areas of the world, where different cultures connect and create a unique community. During my stay, I truly enjoyed my academic experience, which was hugely based on the American system. That familiarity, combined with some new courses unavailable at my home college and the Arabic environment created a unique studying experience.

The American University of Sharjah, located in the pinnacle of the Emirati higher education center, had very easy access to the traditional city of Sharjah as well as the renowned global hub – Dubai. My first-hand encounters with the city, where urban planning and design are only subject to the creativity and imagination of architects, allowed me to learn about living in an innovative and futuristic reality. The country I resided in progresses at a very fast rate, however, that does not stop locals from valuing their past and important traditions. In my opinion, it is a very important lesson, we should all receive, on how to appreciate and preserve one’s own culture while scooping the richness of global strengths and ideas. I would like to stress that all of my discoveries throughout this semester would never be possible without the generous help offered by the Hotchkiss and Pavelka scholarships. I would like to thank the donors who enable this everlasting cultural exchange