First Meeting With Our Exchange Partners – 1/31

Going into my first meeting with my exchange partners, I was eager to meet and converse with someone from the UAE. Interestingly enough, my uncle moved to the UAE for some time for his military duties, so I knew a little bit about the area, but never really talked about it with him in depth. As I joined the zoom room with my exchange partners, I was prepared to hear the immense differences between where I grew up, Bowie, MD, and where my partner grew up, Sharjah. However, after talking to him for a while, I realized that the US and the UAE aren’t all that different.

Among similarities, the only glaring difference between Maryland and Sharjah is the time difference.  To think that while I am writing this, my exchange partner is fast asleep is pretty interesting to think about. Another difference is the architecture. The architecture in the US is incredible in some places, but the architecture in major UAE cities is on another level to me.

Incredible sights in Dubai
Incredible Sights in Dubai

As for similarities, where we both grew up are not far from bustling cities. I am right outside Washington, D.C., and my exchange partner is not far from Dubai. While we are both accustomed to the suburban life, being near a populous city gives us boundless opportunities to explore what they have to offer. Being near huge cities comes with one downside: traffic. We bonded over driving in traffic, and not just any traffic, but the type of traffic that can turn a 20-minute trip into a 60-minute trip. That just comes with being around areas where you can never run out of things to do and explore. Another similarity between are general areas is the political turmoil. We didn’t speak much about it, as our conversation was more lighthearted than anything, but we were both able to share our sentiments about it. For example, I was able to share how it hit extremely close to home when I heard about the January 6th insurrection at the Capital, given that I live 20-30 minutes from it.

Bowie Town Center – Bowie – Dwellus

I am more than excited for our next conversation and to learn more about the city of Sharjah and bond over our experiences.

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