Blog #1

There were actually a lot more similarities between the Dickinson Students and the students from the United Arab Emirates than I initially thought. We all hold family as a similar extremely close priority in our lives and consider them to be of the highest importance. All of us also seemed to be interested in athletics and sports were an important part of the youth development of both groups. Some key differences seemed to come in the form of what both the Dickinson group and the United Arab Emirates students considered to be home.
The United Arab Emirates students seem to more closely consider their community and loved ones as their home. From my impression they seem to put greater emphasis and importance in the relationships they build, so much so that they link said people more closely to the definition of home rather than the place they grow up. As a Dickinson student that grew up in America, I can understand that sense of loved ones or community being home, but I also would have to say if you asked me what home is, I would absolutely say Wilmington, Delaware. When I think of the word home I immediately think of a solid and tangible place, not an idea of belonging. I think culturally Americans value locational pride (examples being state pride or specific city pride), and we also value privacy a lot more than the Arab culture. From what I seemed to gather from my conversation it sounded like Arab cultures enforces a larger sense of family, where people are often surrounded by large extended families (whether biological or found) in a very intimate close-knit group. Americans do have those same close connections, but very rarely do you find a family that is extended past the parents and their children. While it’s still common for me to see my grandparents or aunts and uncles, I rarely talk to many people outside my immediate family on a daily basis.
Another big difference is the caliber of athletic training that the students who grew up in the United Arab Emirates is much more intense and competitive than that of America. One of the students from the University of Sharjah told me that children are started training extremely early in soccer (football) and have to join a profession team early if they ever hope to play later in life. It’s just kind of a wild idea to me that a bunch of people that young can have these huge aspirations of being a professional athlete. When I was younger and starting athletics the thought of taking it so competitively never crossed my mind. Just that level of commitment to a sport so early amazes me. I’m sure that some places or people in America take soccer in that seriously but it’s certainly not nearly as common. Though I suppose that a comparison could be drawn between the union that football brings to the Arab nations and the union that American football brings to all the different states. Regardless, I thought the role that sports play in the United Arab Emirates was fascinating and I would be interested in hearing more about it.






2 responses to “Blog #1”

  1. trinhth Avatar

    Hello Matt. Thanks for this great blog. It seems like you had an interesting meeting with The UAE partner. The fact that you found both the Dickinson group and The UAE group have so many similarities makes me impressed. Because usually, when people from different cultures meet, the first thing that comes up in almost everyone’s mind is the differences. I also mentioned a lot of them in my blog. In addition, choosing to write about detailed things like home and soccer is also new to me. Do you think there could be a possible challenge in bridging the cultural differences between both student groups?

  2. mosemanb Avatar

    Thanks for this post, Matt! I like what you said about people being home instead of home being a physical location. I too, wrote something similar about home being a feeling and a sense of belonging, rather than a place you live. I think what you mentioned about athletics is very interesting! As an athlete, I try my hardest to be the best I can at my sport, but I never found such motivation and intensity at such a young age.

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