Why did you decide to join a university in Dubai?
Alia El Naggar [21, Egyptian]: I came here from Sweden because I wanted to study psychology. In Sweden, it’s difficult to get into a university, and in Dubai it’s easy. You can just pay and you are accepted.
Nadine Laswed [21, Libyan]: I decided to come to Dubai after being in London my whole life because my father started a business here. I joined Middlesex University because it had a media course.
Fallon Valentine [21, Indian]: This place is pretty much home for me. I was born here and have lived here all my life, and all my friends and family are here.
Is it more financially viable to study in Dubai?
FV: It depends. But if it’s the same financially, why not stay with your family and friends?
Imran Khan [22, Indian]: I did science for two years in Canada and I didn’t like the course. So I decided to come back to Dubai, where I grew up, and study here.
Damilola Olusanya [20, Nigerian, Degree]: Before here I was in Nigeria. I had the choice of going to London or Dubai and I chose Dubai because it’s less stressful.
Avinash Menon [22, Indian]: I was brought up here so I decided to go to university here as well. It’s very comfortable and chilled.
What about for your Masters?
AM: I want to get work experience to do my masters, but that could be a problem in the economic crisis since jobs are difficult to get.
You are going to graduate soon. What do you have planned?
AM: I have already started applying for work.
Do you think it would be smarter to study further in light of the economic crisis?
AM: I am looking to work in advertising. The company that I am trying to work with offers a job and also sponsors further education resulting in me becoming a company asset. So it hasn’t affected me yet!
Nadine Laswed: I heard it’s a better idea to study further now and that was always my plan. I’ll most likely go to London, if I get accepted.
Imran Khan: I’ll be looking to find work as well, but I don’t know what I want to do. I want to make a more informed decision, which I will reach after I’ve worked for
a few years. I would like to do it outside Dubai. The degree will count for a lot more if I go abroad. I want it to be international.
Mridula Rego [22, Indian]: I tried hunting for a job a few months back and what employers asked was: ‘Do you have experience?’ And I said no. They said ‘OK, finish your degree and come back to intern with us.’ I want to work right after university and maybe get a diploma that will support my carrier and take me further.
What is the difference between a university here and a university abroad?
Imran Khan: Dubai universities have an Asian-Arab culture. It’s a nice balance and I prefer that. It’s difficult to adjust to Canadian culture, if you’re from around here. When you go to a large university, the teaching suffers, primarily because the professor doesn’t have the time to cater to each student.
It makes you wonder: Why pay so much money when the teaching you receive isn’t great? Sure they have amazing facilities but the teaching is what is most important. In Dubai the teaching is good because the classes are small, in my opinion.
What do you think of the student culture in Dubai?
Nadine Laswed: Dubai lacks student activities and socialising. Everyone in Dubai is working and there is no student culture. In London you have student bus passes and discounts, student day, etc.
Imran Khan: I guess abroad people pay taxes so that might explain why they have many more privileges for students. Dubai is a new city so a student culture has yet to emerge.