Emirati Expedition

SMS visits the UAE


Elias Henderson, Writer

This summer the SMS Arabic and economics classes took a joint school trip to the United Arab Emirates. This trip was meant for Arabic students to gain language exposure and for economics students to experience a different economic system and situation. The trip was from June 20-27 and included a layover in Toronto, Canada.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a small coastal country in the Middle East located east of Saudi Arabia and bordering the Persian Gulf. It is famous for the cities of Abu Dhabi and Dubai both of which are massive international tourist destinations with features such as the world’s tallest building, fastest roller coaster and the fifth largest mall. The UAE is a nation composed of seven different states (Emirates), which include the Emirates of Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Ras al-Khaimah, Umm al-Quwain, Ajman and Fujairah.

The student’s trip started with a 14-hour plane ride arriving in Dubai in the evening. On the first day, students walked around the city of Sharjah visiting the Museum of Islamic civilization, Sharjah aquarium and the Fruit/Meat market.

Day two: the students toured the city of Dubai. Dubai is the tourism, financial and entertainment center of the UAE and thus the longest day of the trip. While in Dubai the students visited the Dubai museum, the Gold Souq, the Burj Al-Arab, Souq Al Madinat, the Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa. In one day the students visited the tallest building in the world, one of the largest malls and visited a centuries-old fort.

Day three revolved around a desert safari. Students went dune bashing and walked around at Al Bedayer in the Red Desert after which they enjoyed a traditional feast and performance. Abu Dhabi was the next day’s location as students visited a falcon hospital, the financial district and the Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque which is one of the largest in the world and made entirely out of white Italian marble with 24k gold leaf for trim.

The fourth day was a trip to Al-Ain, home of the old royal palace of the UAE and a visit to a date farm where students watched dates being harvested and taste-tested them.

The final day was an early trip to the airport and a 13-hour flight to Toronto where the students were let out on the town during a 6-hour layover. During the layover, the students were taken on a tour of Toronto including the CN tower, Chinatown and the financial district. The students arrived home after the seven day trip on June 27. 

“It was really cool to see the differences in the culture and finally be able to see the language we have been learning in the class for the past three years put in action,” senior Mark Early said.

This trip was deemed a massive success by students and faculty alike.

“It was a once in a lifetime experience with the best people. I couldn’t have asked for a better trip,” South graduate Shannon Henshaw said.

Junior Reid Venable’s favorite part of the trip was the tour guide. “His name was Rami and he was energetic and made the whole trip,” Venable said.

Students who took this venture to the Middle East come back to school this year with a new lense on life in the United States as well as some very cool stories and pictures.