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Dalila Pineda

I miss Dubai

By Dubai

Four days ago, when I would look out the window of my amazing hotel room, I would see the Mall of Emirates and when driving I would see the Burj Khalifa. Now when looking out my window in Miami, I see a street and a palm tree and when driving I see a Publix. I miss Dubai so much and my family can tell because that’s all I talked about on Christmas. On the bright side, I’m no longer scared of elevators and I’ve been sleeping for days trying to get my sleeping schedule to match the time change. I’m already saving up money so I could visit Dubai again, although I’m dreading being on a plane for more than 5 hours. The plane ride from Amsterdam to Atlanta was terrifying and I might have developed a fear of flying. The delay at the Atlanta airport was also not the most ideal way to end this amazing trip, but the trip itself made up for it.

My favorite presentation in Dubai was the Nakheel presentation. Although I remember being sleepy because I wasn’t used to the time change, they amazed me with their accomplishments and future plans. We also got to see the model of the islands which was really amazing.  It was even more amazing when we got to go visit the Palm Island on the metro rail and see in real life what they accomplished.

Nakheel has built so much in so little time and has created an amazing reputation. The first thing that I learned about Dubai, 3 years ago, was how it had created man made islands in the shape of a palm. It was incredible to me to hear of such a thing and even more incredible to meet the people behind the creation of it. The presenter talked about how Dubai has the perfect weather for man made islands which is perfect because they could build as many islands as they want without the threat of a tsunami. It’s amazing how Nakheel can build an island in four years and meanwhile Miami is still trying to build Skyrise, which is supposed to be the tallest building in Miami, but its been 2 years and nobody has agreed on the use of the tower. It’s incredible how all the people of Dubai come together to help build more and have Dubai become one of the world’s most popular cities.

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I don’t even know where to begin when talking about the Desert Safari and dinner show – it was just all kinds of crazy. I had no idea what to expect when going to the desert, but listening to loud music on the way and having a funny driver was enough to let me know it would be a fun night. On the way there we were super picky about the music we listened to and kept telling the shot gun passenger to change the music. I find it funny how after we started driving crazily through the dunes we didn’t even notice the music that was playing.  It was the craziest experience I have ever had. I wish I could replay going through the dunes and I wish I wouldn’t have filmed so much and actually enjoyed all of it.

On the way there I also got to see the falcon show and learned how smart the species is and how much they helped the people of Dubai when they would hunt. After crazy driving and great memories of the dunes, we got to the dinner show and the first thing I did was get in the line to ride the camel. I can now say I have ridden a camel and I’ve got the pictures to prove it. The rest of the night was followed by great food and relaxing under the stars.

We also got to relax with the hookahs and for 10 minutes we were able to star gaze. You never really get to see that many stars in Miami and being in the calm desert in total darkness while watching the stars was incredible. Towards the end of the night we all went to get as many hennas as we could, seeing as they were free. I may regret that part because I have been asked many times at work if the drawings on my hands are actual tattoos. That day will forever stay as one of the best days of my life.

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I have created so many great memories on this trip and I have met so many amazing people. It’s only been four days and I already have separation anxiety from our Dubai mom (our tour guide). Going back to my normal life and my boring job is even more depressing when knowing that just a week ago I was having the time of my life with unforgettable people and seeing unforgettable places. Now all I have are pictures of the amazing places of Dubai, which I hope to visit again.

This study abroad trip has influenced my outlook on people and hospitality and how culture influences both. I saw and did so much in just a span of 10 days. I hope to go on many more study abroad programs and experience more places, but I know that Dubai was unique. One of my biggest hopes is to be in Dubai for the 2020 World Expo with some of the students who went on this trip and visit our Dubai mom.






Dubai, my happy place

By Dubai

Hey guys!

Sorry about how boring my first post was, I didn’t know exactly how to do the post.

So this is our 4th day in Dubai, and I am fascinated with the beauty of this city. Dubai is a city full of progress and ambition. Everywhere you look there is great architecture and great people. I love the atmosphere here and how businesses want to expand and make Dubai better.


Screen Shot 2015-12-18 at 12.04.06 AMAtlantis

My favorite presentation so far was the Kerzner presentation of Atlantis. On Thursday morning I woke up thinking I was just gonna hear a simple presentation of a hotel chain, but we got to tour all of Atlantis and hear Kerzner’s amazing business proposals to expand.

The tour of Atlantis was fascinating. We got to see all the parts of Atlantis and their best room called the Royal Bridge Suite. The Bridge Suite was the best hotel room I have ever seen. The word that comes to mind when describing it is luxurious. Everything was high-end, and the best part about the room was its view of the city. We got the BEST pictures in that balcony. After, we toured the remaining parts of the hotel and then went into a conference room for the meeting with Kerzner.

The man directing the meeting told us about Kerzner’s expectations for expanding their hotels. I thought Atlantis was huge already, but with their new building being made, it’s going to be humongous. It was the most interesting meeting I have ever experienced. I was amazed at how beautiful every hotel they owned was. I also learned a lot about hotel companies and what they have to do to beat the competition. I found it amazing how they keep expanding and changing the themes of their hotels. I also learned a lot about the the people that visit their hotels and how they accommodate to them. Atlantis for example, is a family hotel; their theme is fast and productive, while other hotels are personal. I plan to use everything I have learned in this meeting when working for hotels in the future.

Burj Khalifa

Burj Khalifa_Currently the tallest building in the world

I can’t even face the fact that I visited the tallest building in the WORLD.

On the way up to the Burj Khalifa there was a lot of walking because we had to walk through the Dubai Mall, which just so happens to be the biggest shopping mall in the world. That’s two record breaker building that I saw in one day.

On the way up to the Burj Khalifa, there are sculptures of it and facts on why and how it was made. It’s hard to believe that such a huge building was completed in only six years while they are still buildings in Miami which are being built after 8 years.

Not only did we also take some amazing pictures, but I also saw how much this city has progressed in such a little amount of time. Nine years ago nobody knew what Dubai was, but now, everybody wants to come here and experience the magic of this city for themselves. While looking down you can still see how there is a lot of construction going on. By 2020, Dubai will be full of newer and better buildings.

This city has done so much in a few years and I admire how much Dubai has progressed. I learned a lot about the history of Dubai and their goal to be a known city. I’m pretty sad about this trip coming to an end because it feels as if I’ve only been here for a little bit. I wish this trip was never-ending and Mozhgan was our tour guide forever.

Goodnight Guys,
Can’t wait to enjoy the last few days we have to together.|
Dalila Pineda

Pre-departure Dubai

By Dubai

Dalila Pineda

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The World Expo 2020 Dubai is an exhibition of all the new innovations being introduced, and it is also a chance to learn about all the cultural events and issues happening. The theme chosen for the World Expo in Dubai is “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future”. This World Expo will open on October 2020 and is expected to attract thousands of people from all over the world. I will learn a lot about Dubai and its functions. I will hopefully also understand a lot about their culture and their history. I expect to learn how Tourism and Hospitality differs based on the culture and their traditions. I have heard many exciting things about the World Expo but I have never been to any. I plan to expand my understanding of how events such as the World Expo are planned and what is expected of them. I then plan to use this newly acquired knowledge of all the angles of Hospitality in my field of Hotel and Lodging.


The Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world and was finished being constructed on December, 30 2009. The Burj Khalifa was built because Dubai wanted to be recognized and known for something other than their oil. To know that I will be standing in front of the worlds tallest building in just a few days is nerve-wracking. I am excited and curious to see the building in person and to learn more about the building’s history. I believe that visiting this attraction will help in Hospitality and Tourism because I will learn what type of people and how many of them this building attracts every year and how it has helped Dubai. I will be learning a lot about Dubai and its history through its architecture. I also plan on applying what I learn while visiting this attraction to help me develop as an industry professional.

Burj Khalifa_Currently the tallest building in the world


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