Sunday, November 25, 2012

Arrived in Abu Dhabi!

Hello!  My name is Brett and I am a first year graduate student with SPIA.  Currently, I along with other students, faculty, and staff members are in Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates.  We are attending a conference hosted by the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies on the global financial crisis and its geopolitical consequences. 
At 8:30 am (UAE time), we arrived in Dubai after traveling about twenty-four hours.  We flew on Emirates, which was a great experience.  The flight attendants and crew were superb as they were very friendly and truly an international group.  Countries represented included the UAE, Scotland, Greece, and South Africa to name a few. 
Once we arrived, we were greeted by members of our travel agency, who quickly picked us up and directed us through the airport.  There will be pictures to come of a group of us on a shuttle to get our passports stamped. We were then directed onto a bus where we got on the highway and started to make our trip down to Abu Dhabi.  We drove through Dubai, and were able to take great pictures of the architecture, with special emphasis on the Burj-Khalifa, the tallest building in the world.  While we were unable to explore Dubai today, we will have the opportunity to do so on Thursday before we fly back to the States. 
I’m incredibly excited for the conference to start as I’m looking forward to interacting with the Emirati students.  Questions that I want to ask them include what they think of issues happening in the Middle East, there perspective on the U.S. election, and what life is like for a typical student in Abu Dhabi. 
I also want to explore the city.  I want to travel to the shops and markets to buy some souvenirs and test by bartering skills. This is my first time in the Middle East and I know it is going to go by quickly, so I need to experience as much as I can.  I’ll keep you posted on the days coming ahead.

Thanks and pictures to come.

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