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Sula Powell: Life in a new lane
January 02, 2015
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The pool of people mixed with sensational weather, architecture and endless activities defines the country as an infinite playground that will only continue to grow

I first visited Dubai just over 14 years ago with my family for a summer vacation. I was in complete awe of the city, overwhelmed by its power yet captivated by its energy. The UAE was always a focal talking point in my childhood having friends living in Sharjah and an uncle and cousin working in Dubai for over 25 years before finally settling in Ajman.

It was during my induction visit to Heriot Watt University Edinburgh campus that I discovered they also had a campus in Dubai. I have always been a tenacious and determined girl taking risks and pushing boundaries so it was only natural for me to desire to move half way around the world on my own and start my new chapter in the UAE.

I travelled to Dubai on the 1st of September with my mother who came to help me settle in. Seeing the university for the first time was surreal! I couldn’t comprehend how Dubai had a specific city-like area dedicated to all things academic. Everything was so clean and untouched looking, it were as though I had entered a hotel not a university. My room exceeded my expectations with a pleasing view of the Burj Khalifa in the distance. With the heat circulating the room intertwined with the sight of golden sand and palm trees it left me in a tranquil state repelling the fact I was here to study not sun bathe.

I have always been fortunate enough to have the chance to travel, visiting several countries and experiencing many different and unusual cultures. However, the UAE without any bias has to be one of the most beautiful and interesting places I have visited. The pool of people mixed with sensational weather, architecture and endless activities defines the country as an infinite playground that will only continue to grow.

Considering I have been here for almost three months I suppose I am no longer a tourist, but I have had the privilege of visiting all the famous attractions such as Atlantis, AquaAdventure, Palm Island, Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall to name a few. I recently attended the Party in the Park concert and the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix which was definitely something to remember. In these short few months I have experienced so many things, more than many do in a lifetime and I can only thank Dubai for the opportunities they provide us with.

However, more importantly I am here to study and work hard to then progress and graduate hopefully into the marketing side of business. The university has been tough. I’ve had my bad days and the stress of deadlines almost killing me off but it has helped me grow as a person and develop many useful skills. The diversity of cultures has pushed me to stay open minded, being in a tutorial class of eighteen pupils but with twenty one nationalities is somewhat mesmerising. So far I feel I have settled in well, I am comfortable and content with my life and simply grateful for this opportunity.

However, the early starts especially on a Sunday morning are debatable, something I have had to adapt to since weekends in Britain are Saturday and Sunday. Another thing I am new to is the metro seeing as though I’m too nervous to drive here, but I am quite the fan of these NOL cards (UK take note)! I also love the food here, possibly too much, who knew Arabic cucumber and hummus would be so tasty?

I try to avoid gushing like a mad woman but I am in love with Dubai, I was told I would be bitten by the ‘ Dubai bug’ and never want to leave and I dismissed this. However, I was wrong. I adore it here and I can’t see myself in the near future living and studying anywhere else. Dubai is unique, in a league of its own and it still astonishes me that this is the place I can now call home.

Sula Powell is a Scottish/Jamaican business student at
Heriot Watt University in Dubai. Sula is a keen horse rider
and a part time model holding a number of prestigious titles
including Europe’s Perfect Junior Teen. For the remainder
of her journey in the UAE, Sula will be sharing her experiences
on the ups and downs of student life.

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