Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The People

I am not even sure that I can properly express my emotions in words when it comes to sharing my experience with the amazing people here at RIT Dubai. I suppose I will start by saying that I have never felt more apart of a family than I have since coming to Dubai. The fact that the school is so small definitely helps. Everyone seems to know one another and it makes the perfect setting for a family type environment. I can honestly say that I have made better, closer friends here in Dubai in these 5 short weeks than I had during a whole year in New York. I think it helped a lot that I came here on my own. Although traveling with friends is fun, being propelled to meet new people is always a plus. It is also a very large part of the Study Abroad experience; the people. I used to think that I really wanted to travel the world in order to see all the beautiful and astonishing things this planet has to offer. I never really considered the factor of the people. It seemed to be more on the back burner until now. But I've realized that being here and meeting all these wonderful, funny, friendly people has made this experience so amazing. If it weren't for them I would be just another tourist looking in from the outside, but now its as though I am truly living here. Experiencing what the people here experience, laughing, learning, and maturing along side them. And I have to say it is an incredible feeling.
The friends I have made here are the type of people that I know that I can count on. And my roommate and I are so thrilled that they welcomed us with such open arms. We couldn't have asked for anything more.
Even the faculty at the school really cares about the students. It is much easier to have a personal relationship with a teacher when you are one out of the 30 or students that they have. For example, today my roommate attended a meeting, along with other students, with the president of RIT Dubai. He called the meeting so that he could receive feedback from the students on how the campus is running. Something that's quite unheard of in New York.
Now I am not trying to put down RIT New York, for I am so grateful to be a part of such an esteemed college. But I do really want to point out the advantages of belonging to a small university.
Anyways, the best part of Dubai is hands down the people that we have met here. I know that I have made life long friends here in only a matter of weeks. And that is pretty amazing.
If nothing else about Dubai excites you, which is hard to believe, than may I recommend studying abroad in Dubai for no other reason than to meet some of the most genuine and goodhearted people you will ever have the pleasure of knowing.
I want to say thanks to everyone who has made Kailee and I's stay here in Dubai so wonderful. We owe it all to you. :)

The Dessert

Last Friday night, some friends of ours took my roommate and I to the dessert. This may not seem like a big deal to the people here, but for someone who has never experienced it, it is pretty cool. We decided to go at night due to the fact that the heat and humidity is still high. We all parked our cars on the side of the road and our friend with a Jeep can to pick us up. We caravan-ed into the depths of the dessert. There were other people around, so we tried to find a place where we could have a little privacy. This wasn't hard to do considering how vast the dessert surrounding Dubai is. Before leaving we stocked up with food, tea, blankets, and fire wood. It was a proper camp out in the middle of the dessert. My roommate and I ended up making the fire. We are both pretty outdoorsy and it certainly helps that my roommates dad is a firefighter. Despite the common notion people have of the dessert being cold at night... it wasn't. The temperature was certainly cooler than during the day, however, the humidity stayed. The fire didn't help much either. We were told that in a month or so it will be perfect weather for dessert camping. I have to admit that I am adapting to the heat, in fact I much prefer it to the freezing cold climate of Rochester, NY. The night was so fun. We went driving around in the dunes in our friends' jeep, which is one of coolest off-roading experiences I've ever had! We sat by the fire, listened to music, and chilled. It was a pretty great night.
I can't wait to go proper Dune Bashing.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Just Some Photos

 Dubai sunrise.

 Just a typical day at RIT Dubai, chilling in the library.
 2pm breakfast of felafel and hummus. 




 View from the Ferris Wheel.
 Fire out in the desert.
 The Beach.



 Dubai Marina.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Environmentally Friendly ?

My brief time in Dubai has brought to light something I had previously misunderstood. Upon my arrival to Dubai I found myself enthralled by the concept of an environmentally conscious nation. I knew that Dubai was well known for its energy efficiency and support for renewable systems. What I didn't realize was that this is for the most part to advance and even further, business in Dubai. It appears as though there environmental efforts are more deeply rooted in the hopes of continuing the success of Dubai financially. Renewable energy is Dubai's up and coming replacement for their oil industry that is quickly diminishing. It makes sense that Dubai would not want to fall behind as a leading economic and technologically advanced nation. However, their environmental efforts when it comes to basic everyday things, are not as up to date. Since landing in Dubai I have seen approximately 5 recycle bins and it seems that the ones they do have are hardly used. To this outsiders' eye, Dubai's go-green attitude is somewhat a strategic business tactic, with less emphasis on the negative impacts that we are having on our planet.   

Courses

I am studying Mechanical Engineering Technology, a major that RIT Dubai does not offer. So for me, matching up classes was a little difficult. However, my roommate ended up easing into her classes quite comfortably. She studies regular Mechanical Engineering. The two most common majors here at RIT Dubai are Mechanical Engineering and Business.
Currently I am taking Statistics 1, General Chemistry for engineers, Engineering Design Tools, and Strength of materials. I recommend around 4 or 5 classes, but don't advise any more than that. This is because you are going to want to enjoy your time here, and not just spend all day, everyday studying. Especially considering that there is a very relaxed tone among the students when it comes to school work. This is very different from RIT in New York.  Everyone really likes to hang out and have a good time, so you'll want to make sure that you have time for fun as well.
Classes too are more relaxed in a sense than RIT New York. The work load is fairly similar, yet the demand to get things done quickly is not the teachers' first priority. I will say though, that I could be a bit biased, for when I was at RIT New York we were on a quarter system. This year both RIT Dubai and New York have switched to a semester system which makes for a big difference in that aspect.
As be aware that although RIT Dubai is more equipped than I thought, they do not offer all the same resources as the huge campus in New York. The school is only one building which is composed of 3 floors.
In case you're curious, the mechanical lab has a lathe, mill, CNC machine, tensile testing equipment, compression testing, as well as automatic saws, and power drills. Keep in mind that classes are much smaller so the ratio of machine to student as bad as it sounds.
Being on time should not be an issue, for the walks to class take no longer than a couple of seconds. If you rely on the bus for transportation to and from the dorms than make sure to be prompt. They won't wait for you.


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Shuttle Bus

The "dorms", which is really a hotel called Etisalat Academy is located approximately 25 to 30 minutes away from the Campus. Because of this, Etisalat provides a shuttle service between the dorms and campus. The shuttle runs 4 times a day. So my recommendation is to memorize the schedule for the shuttle ASAP. Today is the second day that I have forgotten about the shuttle and wound up having to call a taxi because I missed the only conveniently timed shuttle. It cost me 50 UAD just to get to campus.

Advice: Pay attention to the shuttle times!



Monday, September 9, 2013

Kitties

Even though I could probably write a whole essay about the cats here, I wont. I'll make it brief. If you like cats you'll be in heaven because there are tons of stray cats around the dorms (which if you don't know, is really a hotel called Etisalat Academy). If you don't like cats, however, be prepared to be attacked by their cuddles when going in and out of the Residence. I make it a priority to feed them at least every other night. To be honest I smuggle extra meat out of the cafeteria and feed them at night. Shhhhh...