I’ve arrived at Dubai International Airport three days ago, and have not found the time to reflect upon my arrival in the Middle East until now, yes, conveniently at 3AM (thanks jetlag). However I snapped a few photos on my first night here at American University of Sharjah. My excitement and really good chai kept me up. In between social media and tossing and turning, I took time to just listen to my surroundings and notice how the light falls onto my dorm floor and walls. The culture shock of the UAE is not there, at least not yet for me. If and when it will rear its head is another story. It’s hard to feel like you are almost halfway across the world when you are in the UAE. The country is very Westernized. With many international expats, English is usually the common denominator for these immigrants from the UK ranging to those from Singapore. Also the history of British colonization of the UAE also lends itself to the Western feel.
But there are definitely differences, and they may appear in subtle and nuanced fashions. I’m a student here, both academically and culturally. Instead of being quick to make judgments or jump to conclusions, I feel like the best way for me to learn is to listen to the culture. In the loudness along with the quiet. I’m absolutely ecstatic for my four month journey here, and I look forward to more hot Arabian nights to come.