Lindner Contingent Visit UAE for "Life Changing" Study Abroad Program (2023)

A group of 13 from the University of Cincinnati's Carl H. Lindner School of Business recently became the first UC faculty to enroll in an 18-month study abroad program, beginning a nine-day experience in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). . Emirates).

In mid-December, 11 students of the Special Topics course (INTB 5093) flew to the UAE from the UAE and the MENA region (Middle East and North Africa). "leading" facultyCarlos “Chuck” Mateo, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Entrepreneurship and Strategy, Department of Management und „Co-Leader“lee amstrong, Director of International Programs at Lindner, accompanied the students on the travel part of the semester course. For Matthews, formerlyComrade MaloneThis was the seventh time he brought a study abroad group to the UAE.

Armstrong, Matthews and the students stayed at a hotel in the city of Dubai in the Emirate of Dubai - the United Arab Emirates is a federation of seven emirates - and visited three other cities: Al Ain and Abu Dhabi (located in the Emirate of Dubai). Abu Dhabi). Dabi) and Sharjah (located in the Emirate of Sharjah). Matthews put together an itinerary that included company meetings, cultural attractions, exploring economic development and more, with each day encompassing a specific theme such as "best hotel and tourism economy" and "Emirati culture."

According to the Matthews syllabus for INTB 5093, the course is designed to provide a "deeper understanding of business, cultural, social, economic, legal and other issues and the potential impact on business and social relations in the UAE and the general MENA region."

Lindner Contingent Visit UAE for "Life Changing" Study Abroad Program (1)

The Lindner Group at the Sheikh Mohammed Center for Cultural Understanding in Dubai.

“It's a great experience for students, especially on a relatively short learning path. There is so much you can do. We cover all the subjects in class, but it's not the same as being there," Matthews said. “Go to the (Sheikh Mohammed Center for Cultural Understanding) and have an unqualified Q&A with an Emirati focused on sharing how this country came to be, how emirates live, learn and lead in the Middle East and then see that happens in places like DP World and (Abu Dhabi) Falcon Hospital, you can't do that in a classroom. You look at it, (but) you can't touch it and feel it."

Julian Martin, BBA '22, originally applied to INTB 5093 to complete an International Business Elective. Martin, student of the Lindner Business Honors, is studying International Business.

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"I had already researched the United Arab Emirates for another course and really liked the country, so I thought this course would be a good opportunity to learn more about the culture," said Martin. "When Professor Matthews said we were going to Dubai and the rest of the UAE, I knew nothing would stop me from going on this trip."

Business and cultural experiences

Visits to the company also included a trip toGE Aviation On Wing Support Centerin Dubai, a trip made possible by a connection Armstrong had with an employee at GE Aviation's headquarters in Evendale, a community just 11 miles from UC.

"I think it's very interesting for our students to understand that our local businesses are very global, and for them to understand the global supply chain and how it's interconnected," said Armstrong. "And what's happening here (in Cincinnati) with GE is having an impact around the world."

Another stop was Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza), a free trade zone in far western Dubai to meet DP World, a multinational logistics company affiliated with 181 companies in 64 countries.

Lindner Contingent Visit UAE for "Life Changing" Study Abroad Program (2)

Visit to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi.

“I was fascinated by our visit to DP World in the Jebel Ali Free Zone. It's a massive, well-connected company that handles shipping and international trade, logistics and even financing for startups in the UAE,” said Nick Natale, BS '22. "Company representatives have spoken extensively about how they prioritize sustainability and emphasize this when choosing their business partners, which I personally really appreciate."

Martin said Jafza and DP's world tour was "very exciting".

"We were even able to drive around their huge working port," said Martin. "Learning about logistics on a global scale and not just on a national scale was great."

Matthews noted that visits to GE and DP World strengthened INTB 5093's focus on developing an understanding of commercial, cultural, historical, geographic, social, economic, legal and other issues, the potential impact on international business, and the "important role of the United States" showed Arab Emirates as well as the broader MENA region."

Lindner Contingent Visit UAE for "Life Changing" Study Abroad Program (3)

Nick Natale, BS '22, with a patient at Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital.

Although the United Arab Emirates gained independence from the United Kingdom just over 50 years ago, it boasts a diverse and unique population, a deep cultural history and popular tourist destinations. Of the country's 9.9 million inhabitants, only 11.5% or about 1.2 million are from the Emirates.

Thus, the vast majority of the population consists of expatriates. For example, just over 40% of the population are expatriates from India and Pakistan.

The group's cultural and tourist visits included:

  • Discussion and lunch at the Sheikh Mohammed Center for Cultural Understanding, which aims to “remove cultural barriers in the UAE through education and awareness-raising of UAE culture, traditions, customs and religion for expatriates and foreign visitors”.

  • The Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world.

  • Visit to the University of the United Arab Emirates campus in Al Ain.

  • United States Embassy and Consulate in Dubai.

  • Expo 2020 Dubai.

  • Oder Abu Dhabi Hawk Hospital.

  • The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.

For Natale, the Expo was "without a doubt one of the most incredible experiences I've ever had."

"Almost every country on earth had some kind of booth or pavilion to represent it," said Natale, who specializes in information systems with a specialization in business analytics. "It was amazing to meet people from Poland, Singapore, Iran and hundreds of other countries I've never been to and may never go to."

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Lindner Contingent Visit UAE for "Life Changing" Study Abroad Program (4)

The Linder contingent ahead of Expo 2020 Dubai.

Morgan McLaughlin, BBA '22, said the expo was one of those things he'll "always remember."

“I felt like I could see more of the world in Dubai alone. I ran 13.5 miles, was there for seven hours and only saw a fraction of what it has to offer,” said McLaughlin, a dual graduate student in international business and marketing. “But to see something on this scale with so many countries was inspiring. I feel it was also representative of the larger composition of the UAE.”

Effects of COVID-19

COVID-19 has made studying abroad significantly more difficult. At the start of the Fall 2021 semester, the US Department of State placed the UAE in Tier 4/No Travel. Soon after, the UAE was downgraded to Tier 3, so Matthews and Armstrong completed the required international travel application to be submitted to UC's International Travel Oversight Committee (ITOC).

"Typically, our faculty sends 20 to 24 students into a group," Armstrong said. "They allowed us to travel when we were 15 and we ended up traveling when we were 11."

The group had to be tested for COVID-19 again in the United Arab Emirates before departure and again 24 hours before returning to the United States. If a student tested positive abroad and then went into quarantine, the group leader or co-leader would have to stay with the student.

"There are always contingencies that teachers have to deal with," Matthews said. “You must have backups for the backups of the backups. (COVID-19) is just one, but it's also a more serious contingency that we need to watch out for."

Exceeded expectations

As part of their experience, the students were required to keep a journal exploring cultural differences relevant to doing business in the UAE. In addition, the students took turns keeping a group journal of their daily travels, experiences, lectures, briefings, cultural insights and more.

McLaughlin carried a small notebook and pen with her everywhere, documenting her feelings, perspectives, and interesting facts she learned along the way.

"I still have my journal and I want to convert it to a PDF file to print in a proper book with photos as a reminder of a great time and also as a reminder that the world is a huge place," he said McLaughlin.

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On a sand dune in the Dubai desert.

The three students had never been to the Middle East before and returned to Cincinnati with rave reviews of INTB 5093 study abroad program in the United Arab Emirates.

“This trip is the perfect option for those who have little travel experience but want to travel to broaden their horizons and experience new things. dr Matthews knows the UAE inside out and works with very knowledgeable and professional tour guides to ensure the trip is both educational and fun,” said Natale. "It's also probably the cheapest way to experience the UAE for most university students."

McLaughlin called the experience "life-changing," while Martin echoed his classmates' sentiments.

"The tour group became very close and created many unique memories together," said Martin. "I think I can speak for all of us when I say this trip exceeded all of our expectations."

Featured image: The Lindner study group abroad in the Jebel Ali Free Zone in Dubai. All photos courtesy of Charles Matthews.

Study abroad at Lindner

Despite the complications of COVID-19,study abroadis possible at the Carl H. Lindner University of Applied Sciences. An effective commitment to global knowledge and experience is critical to the development of innovative business leaders. For more information please send an

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