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Andrea Martinez-Bustamante


By Dubai

It’s halfway through the trip now, and we have gotten the chance to experience Dubai. Between visiting the attractions and going to presentations, I have been able to better understand the hospitality available. Upon arriving one of the first things I noticed was how welcoming everyone is. From the check-in agents in the hotel to any of the servers at the restaurants, there is excellent service.

As part of understanding how Dubai runs its hospitality services, it is important to understand the culture. One presentation that really resonates with this was the speaker at Jumeirah Mosque.  Nasif Kayed’s presentation on “Open Doors, Open Minds” really did allow for us to ask questions that we would normally shy away from askingIMG_0293. He had a great insight into what it is to be Muslim and what Islam is.

Dubai is located in an Islamic county so, when an industry like tourism is involved, there is going go be people from all over the world with different customs. As a tourist it’s important to understand that we must respect the religious teachings that govern over day to day life in an Islamic state, and by having someone explain the religion and culture, it makes it easier to go in with an open mind. As someone who is looking to work in this industry, knowing about different cultures makes it easier to understand someone’s needs and would help me attend to their needs.

The Spice Market and the Gold Market was a beautiful area to visit. IMG_9959It brought a touch of the old Dubai to the new city everyone believes it is. The streets were old and clean, and the people that resided in them were far from the polished look in downtown Dubai. I enjoyed going through the souks and getting a hands-on approach to the bargaining that takes place. I have never bargained before and I learned that it wasn’t as easy to do in a foreign currency. Even with these challenged I enjoyed learning from our tour guide some of the tips and tricks.

From New Dubai to Old Dubai there are infinite numbers of activities. This is a city with a “can do” attitude. It is clearly reflected in the way locals go around doing their business. There are no limitations here, and in the short time I’ve been here, I’ve enjoyed it.

3 Days Until Depature

By Dubai

My name is Andrea Martinez-Bustamante, and I will be participating in the study abroad trip this year to Dubai. From the presentations to the attractions we will visit, Dubai will be a cultural experience as well as a glimpse into some of the most luxurious aspects of the hospitality industry.

To better understand the standards set for service in Dubai, I am looking forward to the presentation from the Jumeirah Group. They have created the world’s only 7 star hotel: the Burj Al Arab. I’m interested in learning what experiences guests can look forward to, and if it’s those expectations that keep the company motivated.

One attraction that I am looking forward to is the visit to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. Not only is the architecture Sheikh-Zayed-Grand-Mosque_6beautiful, but religion is a central part of the culture in the Middle East. By visiting a place of worship I would be getting an insight into what people believe.

We leave in 3 days and I’m excited to experience all that Dubai has to offer.

Day 5 in London

By London

Its already been four days since our arrival in London, and it has been incredible. Today has been one of the busiest days that I’ve had so far. I got to explore London’s nightlife, visit the Tower of London, and go to the theater to watch the Book of Mormon all in one day.

It started with the midnight celebration of my roommate Gisselle’s birthday. Jorge, Veronica and I thought that it would be a good idea to celebrate by visiting one of the clubs in the Soho District. The club that had originally been decided on was DSTRKT and, at the time, we did not know that we would not be able to get in. The four of us decided to take a cab and on the way, Jorge asked the driver about the different clubs that he liked to visit. One of the ones that he mentioned was Tiger Tiger, which happened to be around the corner from DSTRKT. Tiger Tiger was where we ended up and had a great time.

On our official itinerary, the Tower of London was planned for today. The Tower is famous for the many executions that happened throughout the years in London’s history. Today, it holds the exhibition the Crown Jewels and a tour of the history of the Tower. The Crown Jewels exhibition was fascinating as there was real pieces of many of the ancient English monarchs. Some of the swords and scepters date back as far as the early 1500s. Some of Queen Elizabeth II jewels were on display as well showing how old traditions are still important today. Near to the Tower of London is Tower Bridge. Gisselle, Mckenzie and I walked to the bridge and got a really good view of The Shard, which is the tallest building in London. The final activity of the day was to watch the play, The Book of Mormon. I had never seen it but I had heard of it.  It was one of the best performances I have ever seen. It was hilariously satirical, pointing out credibility of the Mormon Church, and the faith and doubt of people.

Today was a great day, from the club to the Book of Mormon. I can’t wait for the rest of the adventures that are waiting for us here in London!

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