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12 Reasons Dubai Should Be Your Next Vacation Destination

With less than a week separating us from April, seeing snow in the forecast is definitely a bummer. It’s especially hard to accept Cambridge’s weather after indulging in the hot sun of Dubai, UAE for the past week. Although reflecting on my amazing week abroad will not make the temperature rise, my memories, photographs, and sunburns are still reminders of the warmth that can be generated in even the coldest of places.

My amazing journey to Dubai began months ago with the Harvard College in Asia Program (HCAP). HCAP held a conference on building sustainable cities that took place at Harvard. Delegates from several partner schools throughout Asia spent a week in late January exploring ideas related to sustainability and going on cultural excursions. Then, during Harvard’s spring break, students (like me!) got to go to different areas in Asia to discuss sustainability and experience culture abroad.

We initially had the choice of which cities we wanted to host at Harvard and travel to during Spring Break, and boy did I choose right! Though learning about sustainability was certainly engaging, my favorite parts of Dubai were definitely the cultural excursions. Dubai is a lot different from places in America—there is a certain dress code, middle-eastern cuisine is served everywhere, and the clash between modernization and tradition is apparent. It was so surreal visiting it and it’s hard to imagine what living there for a long time would be like.

Though I think it’s pretty obvious why visiting Dubai should be at the top of your bucket list, these are just a few of the reasons why I LOVED it and can’t wait to go back:

1. This was basically my view every day, everywhere.

2. CAMELS! I got to ride them. And not only that but I could also find them literally anywhere, including walking along the beach.

3.  I got beautiful henna done in less than 20 seconds.

4. I viewed multiple record-breaking indoor aquariums in hotels and malls (the one pictured is in Atlantis Hotel). In Mall of the Emirates, there is even an indoor ski resort.

5. I went on my first desert safari and rode bikes like this (okay, maybe I didn’t actually ride that but at least the picture makes it seem like it).

6. I visited Masdar, a zero waste city, and had to ride this magnetic “car” to get there.

7. I toured the Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque and got scolded at by security for wearing inappropriate clothing.

8. I viewed Dubai from the top of the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. Like I said earlier, Dubai looks amazing from any view.

9. Impromptu beach visits with non-beach friendly clothing. Self explanatory.

10. I met Bill Clinton. Although this is not specific to Dubai, I never got to meet past Presidents in America…

11. I ditched the Annenberg meal plan and devour the incredible food (some even home cooked)! Plus, I even got to eat cake dusted with real gold. Yep.

12. And to end with cheesiness, the generous hospitality of locals and our American University of Dubai hosts was a subtle reminder of the good left in the world.

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