From Sand to Sea in Dubai

The deserts of Dubai are famous for their haunting and stark beauty, dry air, and pumping hip hop music that pulsates through the Land Cruisers and other sport utility vehicles that fly up and down the sand dunes. CIEE students on a Faculty-Led program in the United Arab Emirates were thrilled at the opportunity to see all that the famous sand dunes of Dubai had to offer. They strapped into snowboards and carved turns down the slippery, steep sand faces. Some of them bravely climbed aboard camels, known as the “ships of the desert.” Students even had the chance to get up close and personal with some falcons, which have been used for hunting in the desert for several centuries. However, the real event of the night was dune bashing, a sport that involves driving cars through the dunes. As the sun dipped below the horizon, casting an orange hue on the landscape, the students bravely buckled up inside their vehicles of choice and tore around the desert like extras in Mad Max: Fury Road. Participant Brandi Newman remarked on the experience, “I have not had that much joy in my life for a while!”

After the excitement of the desert, it was time for the group to enjoy the more relaxing side of Dubai. The Gulf of Oman offers clear turquoise waters, dramatic rocky scenery, and privacy. Channing Riley commented that during the boat trip “…we had the whole cove to ourselves and we don’t see that much in the United States.” In addition to enjoying the solitude and the warm waters, some students tried out new sports like snorkeling. To see the underwater world for the first time is an unforgettable experience. However, the relaxation of swimming, snorkeling, and sunbathing left the adrenaline junkies craving a bit more spice, so all the students lined up on a banana raft to get towed around the bay for some high-speed tubing. Everyone was laughing, even when a few people fell off. From sand to sea, CIEE students embraced all the wonder and fun Dubai has to offer to .

Find out more about CIEE Faculty-Led and Custom Programs.

Find out more about CIEE Study Abroad in the UAE.