Study in Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates is one of the most liberal and modern countries in the Persian Gulf. A federation of seven states—Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Ajman, Fujairah, Ras al Khaimah, Sharjah, and Umm al Qaiwain—it was established in 1971 after the sheikdoms won independence from Britain. Oil revenue, which is unevenly distributed among the emirates, generally provides a high standard of living. Foreign workers account for more than three-fourths of the population. Dubai, which has smaller oil reserves than the other states, has diversified its economy in an effort to become the financial hub of the Middle East. Islam is the official religion and Arabic is the official language.
The United Arab Emirates has the world's sixth largest oil reservesand possesses one of the most developed economies in the Middle East. It is currently the thirty-sixth largest economy at market exchange rates, and has a high per capita gross domestic product, with a nominal per capita GDP of $46,584 as per the IMF. The country is fourteenth largest in purchasing power per capita and has a relatively high Human Development Indexfor the Asian continent, ranking 35th globally. The United Arab Emirates is classified as a high income developing economy by the IMF.
The United Arab Emirates is a founding member of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, and a member state of the Arab League. It is also a member of the United Nations, Organisation of the Islamic Conference, the OPEC, and the World Trade Organization.
The United Arab Emirates is determined to replace its oil based-economy by becoming an industrial heartland. A national qualifications authority coordinates the efforts of a network of vocational skills training centers, to ensure quality outcomes, and the involvement or organized labor in assignment with national priorities.
The Emirates are exceptionally well endowed with tertiary education institutions, of which the leading state-sponsored ones are United Arab Emirates (UAE) University, Zayed University and Higher Colleges of Technology. There are a number of excellent vocational and technical centers too.
The UAE University partly illustrated here was established in 1977. Today is has over 15,000 students of which almost 80% are women, and offers more than 70 undergraduate degrees.
Study in the United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Consisting of seven states, each with universities that offer modern facilities and a top-class education, there are plenty of options for studying in the UAE
The UAE education system
There are three state-funded universities in the UAE:
- Higher Colleges of Technology;
- United Arab Emirates University;
- Zayed University.
There are over 50 private (licensed) universities in the UAE and since the federation formed in 1971 there have been measures to ensure education at all levels is available to all nationals.
Many universities from Europe, the USA and Asia have campuses in the UAE. The University of Bath – United Arab Emirates is one such university.
Many higher education institutions in the UAE are set in state-of-the-art buildings with equally impressive facilities and modern technology.
To study in the UAE, you will need:
- a Bachelors degree to study a postgraduate course;
- a Masters degree to study for a PhD;
- for all UK qualifications to be obtained from an accredited higher education institution.
International students need to have received a student visa before they start any course. Acceptance on to a university programme does not guarantee you a student visa.
Students are required to pay admission fees for all universities in the UAE, plus additional costs for applying and registering for courses.
It is a good idea to check with each institution you are applying to as fees will vary depending on the university and the course.
Courses in the UAE are assessed in semester credit hours with each course carrying a certain number of credits. These credits are awarded after the course has been successful completed. The costs of each credit hour changes depending on the course.
For example, A MSc in Electrical Engineering at the United Arab Emirates University will cost around £280 per one-credit hour with the complete programme totalling 30-credit hours. This equates to around £9,000 for a postgraduate programme at a state-funded university.
The MSc in Information Technology at Ajman University of Science and Technology costs £160 with the programmes total credit hours at 33.
To find out about entry requirements and costs, search for individual universities at the UAE Commission for Academic Accreditation .
Funding to study in the UAE
There are funding options to support your study in the UAE. It is probably easier to secure funding from a UK organisation or university than from within the UAE as scholarships from UAE universities are often specifically for national school-leavers.
If you are studying at a UK university and planning a study period in the UAE, speak to your university regarding funding while you are away.
If you are applying to study at an institution in the UAE, you should contact them directly to discuss your funding options as an international student.
The Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) offers bank loans with reduced rates to students who are studying at the British University in Dubai (BUID).
UAE exchanges and placements
If you are enrolled at a UK university you may be able to study at universities in the UAE through exchange programmes.
Many institutions in the UK will have links to the UAE such as the Heriot-Watt University Dubai Campus so discuss this with your tutor or visit the international office.
You will be able to organise your own exchanges and placements by contacting the university at which you wish to study.
Science, engineering and technology students have the chance to embark on 12-week paid placements in the summer and for longer periods at other times of the year with IAESTE UK .
To study in the Emirates, a student visa is mandatory. You need to be sponsored by a UAE institution as recognised by the UAE Ministry of Education . You should apply through the immigration authorities and most student visas will be valid for one year.
Getting a student visa for the UAE can be a lengthy process so begin your application early. Find out more at UAE Interact – Visas and Immigration
10 Things to Do when You Study Abroad
ISEP Program Officer Hilary H reminisces about her study abroad experiences and the top 10 things she recommends all students do while abroad!
1. Make local friends.
You will undoubtedly make wonderful friends while abroad! Some of my best memories from my ISEP Direct program in Montevideo, Uruguay, were the outings and family gatherings my Uruguayan friends invited me to. I’m very fortunate to keep in touch with my friends from Uruguay and even went to my friend’s wedding in Montevideo last year. Local friends can provide you with great support and a home away from home while you are abroad.
2. Commune with nature.
Sure, you’re abroad to study and possibly learn a language, but don’t forget to take in the natural wonders around you. If you are in the U.S., places like the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone provide wonderful opportunities to enjoy Mother Nature. If you really want a program with an environmental focus, check out ourGreen Adventure summer program at Universidad Americana in Nicaragua. This year students went volcano boarding, surfing, and observed the local turtles.
3. Live like a local
Take the transportation locals use! If you’re in the Netherlands that may mean a bike, or the subway in Tokyo. You can shop like a local too! Farmers’ markets are a great way to buy fresh, local produce, and practice those language skills. If you need expert advice, ask our ISEP ambassadors! You should also check out opportunities to get engaged in your community; I volunteered through my university, and it was one of the best parts of my experience!
4. Keep a travel journal.
Documenting your experience is important! The memories you make while abroad will last a lifetime. You can share your experiences with friends and family back home by blogging or sharing your photos on Instagram – just remember to tag them with #ISEPStudyAbroad! If paper and pen is more your style (it was mine), think about keeping ticket stubs or other mementos from your trip.
5. Play (or watch!) sports.
Sports are an important part of culture. In the U.S. as an ISEP Exchange student, you can even participate inMarch Madness! Football, or soccer to our American friends, is popular around the world. In Spain you can root for Real Madrid (my team!) in El Clásico, a game between Real Madrid and Barcelona. Badminton, cricket, rugby, and more are popular in many countries, so ask your local friends how to get tickets to a match, or learn how to play!
6. See the sites in your “new” backyard.
Whether you’re in Botswana or Belgium, get to know your new city and country well. One of my regrets is not getting to know other parts of Uruguay better. I loved my trips to Argentina and Chile, but I wish I’d explored my own “backyard” a little more.
7. Learn the language.
Try to use the language of the locals. If you need to brush up on those language skills, check out a language class. Even if you’re in a country where you already speak the language, learn the local slang. When I first got to Montevideo people kept asking me “¿Cómo andas?” (which literally means, “How are you walking?”). At first, my thought was, “With two feet – just like you!” After asking my host mom, she explained that “¿Cómo andas?” is the Uruguayan version of “How´s it going?”
8. Embrace your inner chef.
I cherish the times I spent with my host family in their kitchen. My Uruguayan host mom, Silvia, is one of the best cooks in the world (I’m not biased or anything), and she shared some of her great recipes with me. Read aboutMaria’s cooking lessons in India; she even shares the recipe she learned!
9. Get festive.
Chances are you’ll have the opportunity to attend a local festival or holiday celebration. ISEP student Wildaly attended the EuroChocolate Festival in Italy, which sounds delicious and fun! International students in the U.S. and Canada will have the opportunity to experience Thanksgiving , a unique celebration of friends and family. Read about Yoann’s first Thanksgiving!
10. Go to class (no, really. GO!).
Your home university will likely have policies regarding the transfer of credits and grades, and the number of credits needed abroad to maintain financial aid. Plus, classroom cultures vary around the world, so this will be a part of your international experience!
Published on 28 Oct 2013
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