Learning the Emirati way

Learning the Emirati way

4 minute read

Last month, 20 undergraduate students from the ANU College of Business and Economics (CBE) visited Dubai as a part ­­of the College’s Global Business Immersion (GBI) study tours. Commerce and Accounting students Michael Oates and Carlin Sloan recount some of the highlights from their trip.

Discovering Dubai’s success

Our GBI trip completely changed our perceptions of Dubai – well beyond our initial impressions from internet search results.

We began the trip with visits to Dubai Tourism and Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA). Our time at Dubai Tourism gave us unique insights into the various marketing techniques and strategies used to target different markets across the globe. The excursion to JAFZA, a free economic zone on the coast of Dubai, focused on the rapid development of Dubai’s Jebel Ali Port – the largest port in the Middle East. It gave us a first-hand-opportunity to learn about the JAFZA’s significant contribution to Dubai’s GDP (23.8%) and why the UAE has become a globally important logistics hub.

We got a chance to visit Zayed University, one of the region’s leading institutions in educational innovation. Inside its modern campus, the university prepares its graduates to serve the changing needs of the nation in economic, social and cultural spaces.

Through the course of the study tour, we learnt the importance of foreign investors complying with the Emirati way of conducting business to be successful in this region. Another highlight was the morning we spent with local and expatriate business leaders from the Australian Business Council of Dubai who shared their business insights, industry knowledge, and cultural tips. The group provided us an intriguing perspective on how Dubai’s success is a result of the collaboration of businesses from all over the world, as well as a more in-depth view of what it is like to live in one of the world’s most innovative cities.

The cultural highlights

Aside from visiting some of the leading institutions in Dubai, we were given a weekend opportunity to participate in a range of cultural activities. One of these experiences was a day trip to Oman, in which we spent the day on a traditional Dhow boat, visiting nearby villages, swimming and snorkeling in the clear blue waters, and even spotted a dolphin.

Another cultural highlight of the trip was a visit to Hatta, an enclave of Dubai Emirate. Hatta is located high in the Hajar mountains, and we saw heritage villages filled with defensive towers and stone houses, followed by a paddle on the beautiful Hatta Dam. We later embarked on a thrilling desert safari and even had an opportunity to ride a camel. We finished this day with a barbecue dinner in a Bedouin style tent whilst watching folk dance performances.  

Having completed the GBI tour to Dubai, we gained insight into the cultural and business environment of Dubai and the UAE. We also came to realise how little we knew about the city and the region beforehand, and are grateful to have had the chance to immerse ourselves in its business and cultural ecosystems.

GBI is an enriching in-country immersion program offered by CBE. It allows students to fully “immerse” themselves in the culture of a specific country and gain further understanding of how the country's environment influences the way that business is conducted.

To learn more about GBI, click here.