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Tobias @ American University of Sharjah

Tobias Weber, student in the Master's Sports Business and Communication program, spent his semester abroad at the American University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates. He describes his experiences in the SBC away blog.

Why did you choose this partner university?

I found out about the various options for my semester abroad. The American University of Sharjah enjoys a good reputation and does well in international rankings. In addition, I really wanted to get to know a new culture. And of course the warm climate in the Emirates was also a plus for Sharjah.

How does student life abroad differ from your everyday leisure and study life in Germany / Munich?

One has to distinguish between Sharjah and the other emirates. Sharjah is dominated by Islamic culture, whereas Dubai, for example, has a strong western orientation. In general, one can say that everything, really everything, is very spacious here. Activities outside of university require planning and a lot of time. However, all things you can imagine can be done in Dubai.

Student life at the university is strict but very communal. Alcohol and tobacco are forbidden on the entire university site, which is an exclusion criterion for many students. Nevertheless, there are many university events that bring cultures together. Living in the dormitory is simple, but you have everything you need: common room with a leg (Arabic sky) and billiards, a fitness room and a laundry room; everything can be used for free. There are also several shops, fast food chains and restaurants on the university premises. Therefore, most of it takes place on the premises.

What was your best / worst / funnest experience abroad?

I gained my best experiences during the spring break: Various trips to Dubai and a visit to Aquaventure, the largest water park in the world, let the holidays go by far too quickly.

I had expected my worst experience from the start: The “driving skills” of the Arabs and the many Indian and Pakistani taxi drivers make accidents inevitable. Therefore, after a short time, I was involved in one of them. However, it was nothing more than a sheet metal damage.

How was the sporting offer at the partner university?

As far as the sporting offer at the university is concerned, many German universities can learn a thing or two about it: all kinds of sports are offered that you can enroll in at the beginning of the semester. It is also possible in the sports complex to visit a 5-star fitness studio, go to the swimming pool or, for example, play squash. The university also has various sports fields for football or cricket. However, I only went to the gym myself and laced my football boots at irregular intervals.

What tips and suggestions do you have for future students at the partner university?

Get to know people with a car! The only hurdle at the American University of Sharjah is the long distance to any activity outside of the university.

What is your conclusion from the semester abroad and what do you take with you for the future?

I have learned from these four months not to shut myself off to new things. Some things took a lot of getting used to here, but if you accept certain customs, you can better understand and internalize a culture like here.