Sand, strangers, shivers. This is what I remember from my first day at university in the UAE. (I was new to the Emirates.) It’s not easy to enter a situation alone. Especially when you are still navigating your teens and the awkwardness of age is the least of your worries. Eventually though, it’s all a lesson in grit and game – and most will go on to find their footing, discover themselves a tad more and get ready for – or step into – working life. This week, many, many teens will go through the roughhousing, the giggles and the fright that comes with walking into a new university – leaving behind the known, for their greater good.
Dr Mrabet Jihene, Assistant professor and Director of the Office of counselling and disability at the American University in Emirates, says the period is a big transition. The students “are coming from school to college, where the rules are completely different.”