I ended 2018 and started 2019 off to an amazing start by studying abroad in Dubai! It was a 12-day trip from December 28th- January 9th. I had the chance to learn and visit amazing places while on this trip. Although I saw many great views, the most influential visit was on the first day in Dubai experiencing the culture.
On the first day, the group and I had the chance to take a trip to “Old Dubai”. This area is filled with much of Dubai’s history, heritage, and culture. The day began by taking a water taxi across the Dubai Creek. I didn’t know that water taxis were used and have never been on one but it was a fun and peaceful way to travel to our next destination, the Souks. The Souks we went too were the spice and gold souks but they sold so many more things then just that. I was able to get most of my souvenirs from the souks and even got a pair of 18k gold earrings for only $65 dollars! I have never been to markets like this before and had to learn how to haggle but it was a great experience.
After, my group and I made our way to the Dubai Museum to see and learn about Old Dubai’s history. I thought it was interesting to see the old houses and how they looked as well as built. I also got to see how pearl harvesting played an important role in Dubai’s history. Before we ended the day in Old Dubai we had the chance to have a traditional Emirati lunch generously covered by CIEE at the Sheikh Mohammed Center for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU). We started by having traditional coffee and went to see how it was made. It had a strong taste and was a grate drink to have before the food. Before we ate we got to see a trained falcon and even got to hold in on our arms! I never thought I would get to experience something like that. We also got the chance to visit a mosque and learn about the religion of Islam. After we came back in and had to take our shoes off and sit on the floor awaiting lunch. We were served by a silent server and learned to only eat with our right hand out of respect. We were served some amazing food with many different options for everyone. I personally tried every dish and loved it all. On this trip, I found out I have a love for lamb! We learned many different customs they have in Dubai while we ate and had the chance to ask questions we had. This allowed me to learn so much more about the culture over a grate meal. For dessert, we got Luqaimat which is a sweet dumpling covered with date syrup. We were served tea that paired perfectly with the Luqaimat! After lunch, some of us got the chance to try on traditional men and women cloths and learned the meaning behind the different clothing options. This was the most influential part of my drip to Dubai and I would do it all over again.