25 ways to improve your life

Join a group, learn a language, get creative and more summer tips

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Socially

1 Social Circles UAE
Social Circles is not just another social networking site, it gives residents of the UAE a platform where they can find like-minded people living in their area. The site organises nights out and meet-ups for its
members – great news if you’re looking to replace that best mate who just left for the summer. Users are also able to advertise their business or exhibit their talent through forums and the My Page profile section, making it useful for networking too.
Free. www.socialcirclesuae.com.

2 Film Club
The DC Film Club, which launched in May aims to bring art-house and classical films to Dubai for the first time. Aired in various ‘arty’ locations across Dubai, the Film Club brings together anyone interested in the silver screen for an evening of great movies. The screenings are followed by a social evening with cocktails and canapés, making it a great place to meet new people.
Dhs250 (including alcohol), Dhs200 (including soft drinks). www.facebook.com/pages/Dubai-Confidential-Film-Club, (055 537 686)

3 Backstage Dubai Drama
A new amateur theatre group in UAE, Backstage Dubai brings the creative side out of people here. With more than 400 members, the group puts on regular performances across Dubai and anyone with a love of the dramatics can go and try out for a part in their productions. Check Twitter for casting calls and announcements.
Free. www.twitter.com/Backstage_Dubai, (050 452 4793).

4 Amateur Music Night
X Factor eat your heart out! Bert’s Café hosts the amateur music night, Rhythm and Beans every Wednesday. The event showcases up-and-coming local musicians, and they’re all invited to join the jam session, play the piano and guitar or just sing a long.
Free. Weds 7.30pm-9.30pm, Bert’s Café, The Greens, www.berts.com (04 361 9292).

5 Eat and make friends
The website, www.cooking-sense.com will arrange a cookery class in your home. Invite other foodie fans so you can bond over the stove – and tuck into some fantastic fodder. Ingredients and recipes are included.
From Dhs1,200 for up to four participants (additional participants Dhs200 each). www.cooking-sense.com.


Acacemically

6 Learn a language
Learn English, Arabic, Spanish, French, German or Italian this summer through accelerated Super Intensive courses that involve 60 hours of interactive learning over three weeks (four hours daily, Sunday-Thursday). The Eton Institute offers one of the fastest ways of becoming fluent in another tongue – beat the heat and learn something completely new!
Dhs2,250 for 60 hours. Arabic courses run between 14 August- September. Eton Institute, Knowledge Village. www.eton.ac (04 360 2955).

7 Give your kids a second language
Eton Institute offers an interactive and activity-based course for the kids of Dubai this summer. The Kids and Teens Language activities combines fun with learning through games, songs and group interaction, so that children can learn naturally. The courses are available in seven languages and to a wide range of ages, levels and abilities.
Dhs825 (15hrs) eight-11-years-old; Dhs1,650 (30hrs) 14-years-old and over.. Dates depend on ability. Eton Institute, Knowledge Village, www.eton.ac (04 360 2955).


Community

8 Foster an animal
If you are feeling lonely during the summer with many people going home for the holidays, animal fostering might be the just the thing for you. Feline and K9 friends were set up to find homes for unwanted cats and dogs and are constantly in need of new volunteers to take care of animals until permanent homes can be found for them.
www.felinefriendsdubai.com, www.k9friends.com (04 885 8031).

9 Volunteer in Dubai
Volunteer in Dubai was set up to bridge the gap between charities and volunteers in Dubai. Founder Lola Lopez noticed that people were having difficulty in volunteering for charity work in Dubai, so set up VID to act as the middle-man. VID has many projects across Dubai, ranging from blood drives, care for cancer patients and specialised work including Karama Kanteen, a project where volunteers cooked and served food to the less fortunate living in Karama. VID is always looking for new volunteers and appreciate any contribution, no matter how small.
www.volunteerindubai.com (04 452 1106).

10 Volunteer at Dubai Autism Centre
Dubai Austism Centre works tirelessly to improve the lives of the UAE’s Autism sufferers and their family. Anyone can get involved to help, whether its aiding in fundraiding, using your skills to help with PR, marketing or writing or help with special events and projects. For more info go to the website.
www.dubaiautismcenter.ae.

11 Become a surf rescuer
Always dreamed of starring in Baywatch? A group of local surfers have decided to make Dubai’s seas safer by offering surf rescue sessions. You’ll learn about rip tides, currents and how to help someone in danger. www.surfingdubai.com.


Creatively

12 Cook like a Nobu master
Fans of Nobu Matsuhisa’s culinary style can now learn to cook like him. Nobu runs cookery classes on the first Saturday of every month. Fifteen diners are able to learn how to make sushi, followed by a run through of the mains by chef de cuisine, Herve Courtot. Afterwards make a chocolate bento box before feasting on a specially prepared meal.
Dhs1,250. (reservations are required). Atlantis, Palm Jumeirah (04 426 0760).

13 I heart art
The purpose of art therapy is one of healing; it allows the expulsion of stress through creative work. Art-making offers a more creative way of relaxing than taking a spa day. The Lotus Educational Institute offers individual classes and group workshops in both art therapy and personal development.
Dhs2,700 for 10 three hour sessions. Lotus Educational Institute, Dubai Knowledge Village, www.lotus.ae (04 391 1718).

14 Learn Photoshop
A course for photographers who have either never used Photoshop or have started it and thought ‘this is way too complicated’. The course is tailored for photographers and provides the primary skills to get you started in photo manipulation.
Dhs790 for an eight hour course over two Saturdays. Gulf Photo Plus, Knowledge Village, www.gulfphotoplus.com, (04 360 2365).

15 Learn fruit and veg carving
Get involved with this traditional and intricate Thai art: classes run in July and August. Call for more details.
Dusit Princess City Centre Hotel, Deira (04 209 5000).

16 Digital photography for teens
If your teenagers want to learn about more about photography than just how to post their snaps to Facebook, this is for them. Enroll them into this five-hour workshop so they can begin or further develop any passion for photography. Topics include selecting themes and subjects, learning how to see creatively through an introduction, to composition rules, understanding camera settings, and basic editing skills.
July 19, 10am-3pm, Gulf Photo Plus, Knowledge Village, www.gulfphotoplus.com (04 360 2365).

17 Learn to sew
And quilt, knit, crochet, embroider and much more with Craft Land this summer. The Craft Land Summer Programme offers classes in a host of fibre crafts and the shop is full of fabrics, threads, yarns and inspiration for all your indoor projects. Visit the website or at the store for more information,.
www.mycraftland.com.

18 Go digital
The Lotus Educational Institute offers courses in Digital Art. This gives you the chance to learn how to use professional software used by graphic designers, architects and artists. Courses are offered on five different types of software – Photoshop, CorelDRAW, Illustrator, 3D Max and 2D/3D AutoCAD.
Dhs2,400 for 10 three hour sessions. Lotus Educational Institute, Dubai Knowledge Village, www.lotus.ae (04 391 718).

19 Calligraphy
Courses in calligraphy, or ‘the art of fancy lettering’ are offered at the Lotus Educational Institute. The course doesn’t just cover calligraphy but also teaches composition, typography and their wider implications in modern advertising and overall design.
Dhs2,700 for 10 three hour sessions. Lotus Educational Institute, Dubai Knowledge Village, www.lotus.ae (04 391 718).


Physically

20 Learn to swim properly
We’ve been amazed how many long- time Dubai residents can’t swim lately. And how many of us can actually do front crawl without getting water up our noses? Try an adult swimming class to move on from doggie paddle or to pep up your stroke technique.
Al Wasl Sports Club, Oud Metha (04 446 7400).

21 Get your butt to bootcamp
If you want to get in shape but can’t find the motivation, Ignite Fitness offers you a great solution. Ignite’s Military Bootcamps are comprehensive high intensity military style outdoor training programmes designed for all ages and fitness levels. Each programme is a four week course with up to 17 sessions of fun intensive training that guarantees serious results fast by incorporating a combination of cardiovascular, strength, flexibility, resistance, speed and overall agility exercises.
Dhs1,000 (per month), Dhs100 (casual session). Ignite Fitness, Internet City. www.physicaladvantage.ae (04 305 0844).

22 Get your PADI
The Middle East has some fantastic dive spots, but you can’t get out there until you have a PADI certificate. Al Boom Diving offers free taster sessions in its swimming pool so you can get a feel for it, every Wednesday between 4pm and 6pm. If you like the trial, sign up for a course and get that certificate.
Al Boom Diving, Al Wasl Road, Jumeriah (04 342 2993).

23 Go wild with African Dancing
Release your inner passion and get in touch with your wild side at this tribal dance class that takes place from 7pm-8pm every Tuesday, in JBR.
Dhs40 per person per class. The Ballet Centre, Jumeirah Beach Residence. www.dubaidrums.com (056 744 2129).

24 Cheerobics
As the name suggests, Cheerobics is the combination of aerobics and cheerleading. While the Dallas Cowboys cheerleading squad will - unfortunately - not be present, if working out in a fun-filled, exciting environment is your thing, then now’s the time to get involved. Cheerobics claims to improve all aspects of fitness while burning up to 700 calories per aerobics session.
Core Studio, The Waves Tower, Dubai Marina, www.coredirection.com, (055 693 0668).

25 Learn how to shoot (clay pigeons)
Jebel Ali Shooting Club hold regular clay pigeon shooting. Anyone over the age of 13 can have a go, the centre’s open from 4pm-10.45pm every day during the summer.
Jebel Ali Shooting Club. www.jebelali-international.com (04 883 6555).

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