Youth Encounter in Abu Dhabi

For February 14 to 26, 2010, GDAB organized a unique youth encounter for 22 German high-school graduates specializing in geography and their peers from the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. The project was implemented in collaboration with the Abu Dhabi Educational Zone and the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in Germany, as well as with generous support from His Highness Sheik Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi. The participants were able to explore and appreciate a new culture through joint projects and visits to relevant institutions. Building on a careful in-class preparation prior to their departure from Hamburg, German students discussed their initial expectations and actual experience with their peers in Abu Dhabi.

In addition to several visits to educational institutions including schools and universities, the guests from Hamburg benefited from a tailored program highlighting geography and culture of the region. In order to gain insight into the regional geography, its challenges and opportunities, students visited amongst others an oasis and the desert. Through presentations of the local customs and traditions as well as visits to cultural centers and museums, to a falcon hospital, and a camel market, students gained important exposure to the local culture. During an excursion to the Arab Emirate of Dubai students also learned about the economic challenges and opportunities of Dubai and the region as a whole.

Certainly a highlight of the trip was the reception of the students by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan – the Emir's Representative in the Western Region and President of Abu Dhabi University's Board of Trustees.

The established contacts between youth of both countries persist also beyond the visit of the German students to Abu Dhabi, important to foster long-term respect and understanding for the formerly foreign culture.

What participants say:

“Abu Dhabi was one of our most wonderful experiences in my live. Especially because of the cultural area which is totally different from ours. [...] They showed us so many things. Especially because of our persons in charge we had the opportunity to see so much of this country and these were mostly things you could never see and experience in this way as a tourist. [...] Abu Dhabi was an experience we will never forget and I want to say thank you to everybody, who enables this for us.”

“Before I went to Abu Dhabi I knew hardly anything about the Arabian culture. Surely, I had heard some bits and pieces and we had talked about the culture in class but to me they just seemed to be tales and images of something so unfamiliar to me. That I might actually get to know this different lifestyle personally and that I might be able to create my own picture that is real and free from prejudices was an incredible experience for me that changed my thoughts in so many ways. [...]The trip to Abu Dhabi has shown me so many new thinks and I have learned a lot. I think I will be more open-minded towards other cultures and I hope to discover a lot more about different countries in our world to understand other people better.”

“First of all I want to tell you that our trip to Abu   Dhabi and Dubai was the most interesting trip I’ve   ever had. I had such a wonderful, unforgettable   time in the United Arabian Emirates because the   Arabian people gave us an overwhelming hospitality.   [...] The trip was perfectly planed from the   beginning to the end.”

“What a big chance the trip was I realize every month a little bit more. Locally it was very unrealistic and unbelievable. Now retrospective I can repeat that it was impressive and instructive. I think I can count myself lucky that I got this chance in my young life and if I could I would reprise the trip directly. Thank you for that!”

 

 

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