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Francesca Siakimotu in Dubai

Francesca Siakimotu in Dubai

Desert city, business oasis

13 February 2019

College of Business and Economics students recently returned from Dubai on the Global Business Immersion (GBI) study tour. Francesca Siakimotu has written an overview of her time and what she took away.

I had always wanted to do the GBI program, but I had never found the time (or effort) to apply. Other than being home to the tallest building in the world and creators of their own, I didn’t know much about Dubai. I had only been once, for a few hours, as a stopover on my way to Europe. So when I heard the GBI tour was planned for Dubai, I saw this as a great chance to apply for a course that I had always wanted to do, and also learn about an amazing modern city that had been built out of the desert.

GBI Dubai 2

The first thing I noticed about Dubai was how multicultural it is. In fact, only about 11% of their population are Emirati – the rest being people from other countries, living there for work or study. The business environment is a direct representation of this multiculturalism! Many companies from all over the world have set themselves up within Dubai, and we had the privilege of visiting a few of them, such as the UN World Food Programme, Australian Business Council, JAFZA and Emirates Airlines.

Down to business

Being a marketing major, I really enjoyed the Emirates Airlines and Dubai Tourism visits, as we were given an insight into how each organisation plans and runs their marketing campaigns. It was really great to hear from experts within the field and see aspects of their work, as I was able to directly relate it to theory I have learned in marketing courses.

Dubai is home to just over sixty universities, and our group was lucky enough to visit a few of them. One of these was Zayed University. We were given a tour of their campus (which was nothing short of amazing) and listened to a few short lectures on business, diversity and law within the UAE. We also met a few students, who gave us insight into their life in Dubai. It was so great to hear about their lives directly, and listen to privileges and challenges that they face.

GBI Dubai 3

Cultural experience

A major lesson I learned from this trip was that in order to have a successful career in another country, you must understand and respect its culture. Dubai is unique within the UAE in that it is quite a modern city. Nonetheless, Emiratis have a very rich and old culture, and we were given a small taste of it through experiences. We visited the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding, where we toured around traditional buildings and souks, a Mosque and a Bedouin campsite. We also visited a Bedouin camp on a desert safari – where we rode camels, watched traditional performances and feasted on delicious a Bedouin dinner.

GBI Dubai 4

This GBI program in Dubai was an amazing experience. I learned so much from the local people, tour guides, teachers and support staff, and even my fellow peers! Being able to apply theory in an immersive experience is such a valuable learning tool. This trip has equipped me with skills and memories that I will treasure for years. I highly recommend you participate in the GBI program yourself, or even just visit Dubai – you will not regret it.

Updated:   13 February 2019 / Responsible Officer:  CBE Communications and Outreach / Page Contact:  College Web Team