Why international interns choose Dubai?
We speak to Gulf News Australian interns to decode why young people are choosing the UAE for international internships
Dubai: Two media students have travelled over 12,000km for an internship at Gulf News.
But what’s driving young people like them to the UAE?
Alison Xiao, 20, and Natassia Chrysanthos, 21, students at the University of Sydney, Australia, are in their second week of a monthlong internship at the newspaper’s head office in Dubai, and they’re making every day count.
Xiao, who is studying media law, said: “Internships are a part of our university programme, where they offer spots in Thailand, Korea and Dubai. I just thought that the Middle East is a really interesting part of the world I’d never been to before, and it would be a great learning experience to work in Dubai.”
Although her parents had reservations about her travelling to a distant, foreign land, she said she was comfortable with the idea.
She said: “Dubai represents a really exciting opportunity for growth because of the way it’s developed from a desert into a metropolis. I also knew that the UAE is a very safe country and is known for this in the region.”
In fact, the UAE is the third safest country in the world, after Finland and Qatar, according to a report by the World Economic Forum (WEF) in 2016.
For Chrysanthos, a media and international relations student, the opportunity to meet people from different cultures, and learn more about the UAE and the Middle East, was a big draw.
She said: “The multicultural aspect of the country is a really great reason to work here. Sydney is very culturally diverse too, but if you see the newsroom at Gulf News, or look around at people in Dubai, you see people from all over the world and they’re genuinely collaborating. Everyone has a different accent, speaks a different language … and it feels like a more genuine kind of multiculturalism.”
There are over 200 different nationalities residing in the UAE, according to the Shaikh Mohammad Centre for Cultural Understanding website.
The UAE is also no stranger to international students — it has the highest concentration of university branch campuses in the world, with 40 across five emirates.
But for newcomers, navigating a foreign land, while learning the ropes in a new workplace, can be a challenge.
Chrysanthos said: “I spent my entire first week figuring out public transport and walking to places. I found it quite challenging. Taxis are something we would never use back home; it’s a luxury for one person to travel in a cab, especially because of the costs. So learning how people do it here has actually been the biggest adjustment for me.”
Xiao said she initially faced some hurdles when trying to reserve a place where she could stay, in Dubai. Eventually, it all worked out.
Now, while interning at the Weekend Review section, she feels being able to absorb new experiences at work makes all the effort worthwhile.
Although her focus is on writing articles, Xiao has had the opportunity to try her hand at newer media. She recently did a weather report through a Facebook Live video, which received over 61,000 views.
She said: “The media industry is so broad and interesting, especially in the UAE. It has been a really good experience so far.”
Chrysanthos, who works with the newspaper’s Nation desk and blogs about being a newcomer for gulfnews.com, added: “Jobs and careers seem to change all the time, as new media and technology changes. It’s an interesting time, as we’re trying to break into an industry that’s facing this transformation.”