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Study Abroad and Domestic Study Away

Notes from Abroad: Nombuso in the United Arab Emirates

Nombuso Dlamini ’20, an Economics major and Entrepreneurship and Innovation minor, is studying at the ISEP program at American University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates.

I am Nombuso Dlamini, a United World Colleges (UWC) student from the Kingdom of Eswatini. I am a senior at Lake Forest College, pursuing an Economics major with a minor in Entrepreneurship and Innovation. I commenced my senior year with the opportunity to study abroad in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) at the American University of Sharjah (AUS). Being ranked among the Arab Region’s top universities, AUS allowed me to continue to pursue Economic courses of interest, namely Development Economics and International Trade. I have also had the chance to learn the Arabic language, focusing on the Lebanese dialect and Modern Standard Arabic.

One of the many things that attracted me to the UAE is its intrinsic fusion of tradition and modernity. It is also known as a cultural melting pot, with over 200 nationalities residing in the UAE, making it one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world. It is successful in offering a culturally diverse experience through food, activities, music and the people you run into, especially in Dubai. 

Along with experiencing the cultural diversity in the UAE, I have also had the chance to learn more about the Bedouin culture and lifestyle. The Bedouin are a grouping of nomadic Arab people who have historically inhabited the desert regions in North Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, Iraq and the Levant. I got to experience their lifestyle and culture by being part of a documentary. This documentary will showcase several exchange students participating in activities associated with the Bedouin Culture, and reflections on our experiences.

One of our outings was to Al Dhaid, an oasis town in the desert. Here, we were able to see an Olympic professional shooting facility, holding 1800s-era rifles which are family-owned and have been passed down through the generations. We even learnt how to shoot rifles. Another visit allowed us to partake in camel racing, an activity I didn’t even know existed. We also visited a camel farm where we learnt about the camels and had the opportunity to ride them. My favorite part, of course, was experiencing Emirati traditional cuisine. As I write this note, I am looking forward to more activities which include visits to a car museum and camping in the desert - Inshallah. In the end, we will have the resulting documentary as a great keepsake of this study abroad experience.

I am grateful for Shelby Davis for his generosity. Through his vision to advance international understanding through education, he has encouraged me to use education as a tool to expose myself to people of different nations, cultures and identities, and come to acceptance and celebration of our differences. I am also grateful for the G. Dale Smith ’37 and Ruth Peterson Smith Endowed Scholarship Fund for International Study-Abroad Programs in assisting me with my study abroad plans. I cannot forget to thank Ashley Sinclair and Grace Morales who served as my points of reference throughout my application process. Finally, I would also like to thank Professor R. Lemke who has been my advisor and has continued to support me throughout my educational endeavors.