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Bye Dubai

By Dubai

Hello Wanderers,

So after multiple flights and many hours of travel, I finally made it home for Christmas. It was really great to be home for such a special night I always share with my family but, all things aside, I felt very different and I’m not talking about jetlag.

I realize many of the cultural experiences have impacted me greatly. During many conversations with family and friends, I caught myself referring to one particular cultural event to describe the excitement that I feel when I think about the Arab culture. The Desert Safari gave me a chance to learn more about the root of Arab culture and experience things I have only seen on TV. Riding a camel, watching a falcon hunt, and sitting to watch the sunset in the desert were all things I learned about at the cultural dinner on our first day. It was amazing to be able to experience it all myself and, as I share these experiences, I realize I have grown fond of the culture and my time in the desert.

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Although I had to leave, it is not forever. I am extremely excited to return to Dubai; especially after our visit to the World Expo 2020 office. What we learned about the expo concerning how it will be designed and how it will be conducted is beyond exciting and helped make sense of the numbers we were given at other presentations with regards to growth and expected growth in development for the city. Furthermore, the subtopics of Opportunity, Mobility, and Sustainability are even more exciting to me because of what I have learned about Dubai and their environmental commitment during this course. Let’s just say they don’t exactly have a sustainable or environmentally friendly past, so the fact that they are tackling this topic is really a testament to their dedication to change and a more environmentally-friendly future.

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And just like that, I am back where I started– in front of my suitcase. Only this time I’m unpacking. I am so thankful for this adventure, which has made me much more knowledgeable about a culture I truly knew nothing about and for affording me the opportunity to learn more about the hospitality industry as well as connect with professionals in the field. This trip has opened my eyes to a new part of the world and I think it has made me better as both a citizen of the world and as an industry professional by introducing a new market I had no idea existed and a country that is, in my opinion, really doing hospitality right!

I cannot wait until my next trip to Dubai and I urge everyone who reads this to plan a trip to Dubai (best time: Winter, 2020) and encourage others to do the same.

Yours In Wandering,

Alexandria Delgado

Half Way Here

By Dubai

Hello Wanderers,

How do I even begin? After five days in Dubai I can tell you with certainty that I never want to leave. In such a short amount of time, we have visited so many attractions and learned so much about this city, its people, and the hospitality industry here. It is kind of overwhelming to think about it all, so I will write about what has been my favorite so far.

The Nakheel Group presentation was definitely a top notch presentation. I enjoyed learning about how the Palm Island and other artificial islands were developed and how Nakheel sells the land to hotel brands and other developers to then create the hotels and attractions we see today. I also enjoyed how informative, entertaining, and knowledgeable the presenter was and her ability to answer every question.

It was exciting for me to sit through a presentation about a topic that I understood very well. I love that I was able to find a place where hospitality meets my undergraduate studies. Most importantly, it was interesting to see the less seen yet most important part of opening a hotel: LOCATION! After learning about how the land was developed and the categorization of high and low-density islands, I began to think about the trickier parts of choosing a location for a hotel or an attraction, not to mention the numerous obstacles that must follow when trying to meet all the requirements and regulations posted by the developers. Having learned about this process will really make me much more knowledgeable about the industry and make me a more aware manager in my industry because now I know what precedes the opening of a hotel, and I can actively participate or even consider working for hotel development companies.

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Of all the attractions we have visited, I truly enjoyed the cultural dinner at the oldest house in Dubai. I learned a lot about the culture here in Dubai and about the people who live here. It was wonderful to eat the food and openly discuss cultural differences. It was at this event that I realized that I know little to nothing about the Muslim culture and Muslims in general, but am happy for the time we had and everything I learned. This is definitely an experience that has made me a better citizen of the world because it has opened my eyes and mind to the truth about who the Emirati people are, and it has made me more interested in learning about other cultures that I know little about.

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Although we are half way done with the trip there is so much more to see and experience, so I’m off to get some rest before our next adventure.

Together In Wandering,
Alexandria

Dubai Dreaming

By Dubai

Dear Wanderers,

Only a few days to go, and I cannot contain my excitement. Between the exams, papers, presentations, and procrastination, I daydream of the places we will go, the attractions we will see, the food we will eat, and the people we will meet. While I struggle to fold my shirts just the right way so that all my clothes and shoes fit in my suitcase, I contemplate what I am most excited to see.

After reading the itinerary over 20 times and searching the internet for photos of the places I will see, I have fallen in love with the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. Aside from its architectural grandeur and its intricate design, the mosque is a cultural and religious experience I am excited to take part in. The prospect of walking through its grand halls and admiring the paintings on the walls makes me even more restless.

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On a more educational note, I am extremely interested to learn about the Byblos Hospitality Group. With more than a handful of 4 to 5 star luxury hotels sprawled across the coast in Dubai alone, this hospitality group has risen quite fast within the industry since its start in 2010. My passion for business is intrigued by the little that I have read about the company so far. There is nothing more interesting to me than to really get to the bottom of how businesses go viral and what steps they take to keep themselves relevant, so this presentation is definitely something I’m looking forward to.

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I’ve been told countless times prior to this trip how lucky I am and what a great opportunity this is for me, and I must admit that I do feel quite lucky to be able to travel to Dubai at this exact moment in time. The despair our country and other countries across the globe are feeling due to recent events and acts of terror, not to mention the unfair persecution Muslims worldwide are facing due to the actions of a handful, push me to feel that these experiences will enhance my knowledge of the Muslim culture and religion, introduce me to a different lifestyle, and overall strengthen my global citizenship by tearing down the stereotypical lens through which I see the Middle Eastern world. Furthermore, in the hospitality industry it is vital to your success as a professional to demonstrate tolerance, understanding, and possess an open mind when it comes to others. This trip, aside from helping me develop an open mind, will also give me a chance to learn about some of the most successful hotels in one of the largest and most popular tourist destinations in the world and how they operate, knowledge that will help me advance myself in the industry.

Well, I’m off to finish packing so keep reading because in 2 days I will be air-bound and preparing to share photos and detailed accounts of my time in the most glamorous city in the world!

Your fellow Wanderluster,

Alexandria

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