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Sula Powell: A little bit of Scotland
April 17, 2015
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Usually when I am writing my columns I am struggling profusely, trying to condense all the things I have done or experienced in the previous weeks into around 700 words which, may I add is not so easy, or not as simple as I first thought it would be. Possibly because I am a constant, unceasing chatterbox, or perhaps because I am now used to writing things with no less than 2,000 words (whoever told me that university was unchallenging and somewhat effortless was clearly telling a mammoth white lie!)

However, for the first time I feel as though I have nothing overly exciting or adventurous to report back on. University has taken over; the pressure is intensifying, gradually and my social life is plummeting, hurriedly.

Taking into consideration that the university I attend is Scottish, it makes sense that, despite there being an obvious lack of Scottish students, we celebrate some interesting, amusing, old Scottish traditions.

I openly admit I am not the biggest fan off all things Scottish: tartan, Scottish bagpipe music and Scottish dancing. But I feel it is important for my peers, especially whilst in attendance at a Scottish university to experience our culture, as many of them have never travelled to the UK.

Every year the university have organised a ‘Scottish Highland Games’ day to show appreciation to all things Scottish. I really admire the effort everyone put in to make the event realistic. Every small, intricate detail was considered; they even had people wearing kilts and tartan, ginger hats.

I would not say it was a completely traditional Highland games, or not the sort of Highland games we would attend back home. There was no caber toss or hammer throwing thankfully, I am firmly positive “Health and Safety” would have been ill with the thought. However, there was tug ‘o’ war, and my favourite thing, lots of food!

No Haggis delightedly, a great sigh of relief from me. But there was quite an array of delicious food available; think more Shawarma or Biryani, deviating from the Scottish norms of course. I am sure I can confirm that no one would be interested or merely able to stomach haggis or black pudding and all its somewhat interesting, unpalatable ingredients.     Some of the students also made some cakes, YUMMY, some were quite obviously from Spinneys but nevertheless I am quite happy with a cake regardless. There was also a henna stand, which I absolutely adore. Henna is probably one of my favourite Arabic fashion statements, if only I was patient enough, not clumsy and uncoordinated, to actually manage to keep my hands motionless long enough to let the design dry.

I also had an excursion, or jaunt as some may say, with the university to the Igloo ice cream factory in Sharjah, all educational and business related of course, no intention to actually eat any ice cream obviously!

This was my second time visiting Sharjah or at least in the outskirts. I was completely unaware of how many businesses operated in such a small area. One stretch of road was completely occupied by mechanics, garages, car parts or electrical goods, I did not realise it was possible to fit so many stores in such a compact space.

The ice cream factory was enormous, but deceiving, from the outside it looked miniature and unable to house all the equipment. I was also most impressed with their hygiene standards. I was obliged to wear a very glamorous, ravishing hair net and white chemist-like jacket and walk through a river of disinfectant water. Note to self, do not wear my favourite suede shoes to an ice cream factory nor through water again.

The noise in the factory was deafening, making it impossible to hear all the important, educational information we were supposed to be mentally noting. Visually it was mesmerising, watching all the thorough, precise and accurate measures and utensils needed just to make one batch of ice cream let alone the thousands it must produce everyday.

As expected, need I probably say, my favourite part of the trip was receiving ice cream and free, may I add. That’s always a bonus for the student bank balance!         
____________________________________________________

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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