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Study Abroad and Domestic Study Away

Notes from Abroad: Marcin in the United Arab Emirates

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

I am Marcin Kopański, a sophomore student at Lake Forest College from Poland. I am majoring in Physics and, as a part of my degree, during Fall 2019 I studied in the United Arab Emirates at the American University of Sharjah. It was my first time in the Middle East and I need to admit that during these four months I unfolded the beauty of local culture. I managed to immerse myself into the Arabic way of living. Among multiple local friends I made, I rediscovered enjoyment of simple activities such as sharing delicious meals or following daily routine in between the five calls to prayer.

Thanks to the extremely friendly International Exchange Office in my host university, I had many chances to explore the region. During one of the first outings, I went to the top of the tallest building in the world. Later on, I explored the unbelievable and glamorous city of Dubai, which never runs out of fuel for entertainment and always offers something new. Once the weather cooled down, I could fulfil my childhood dream and experience Bedouin life during our multiple trips to the desert. The education about geological past and anthropological origins of the Arabian peninsula was very well connected with fun activities. After all, I would have never thought, one Friday morning I would end up in the middle of the desert, driving inside a car filled with the smell of coffee and Arabic music, sitting right next to the live commentator of the camel race, which is taking place in front of our eyes.  Experiences like that allowed me to grow as a person, notice the world from different angles and learn about various approaches to traditional and modern life. I will always remember those lessons. I would like to express my gratitude to all the donors, who have supported me and the student exchange programs. In particular, I am thankful for Hotchkiss and Pavelka scholarships, which contributed to shaping future inspiration in me.