There are many misconceptions and a general lack of knowledge of the Middle East by those outside of the region. It was thus refreshing to read Paulette Singley *98's take on her experience at the American University of Sharjah.
I spent over five years in Dubai, having recently relocated (back) to Canada. Though the UAE -- of which Sharjah and Dubai are among the seven emirates that make up the federation -- are remarkably different than the rest of the Middle East, living there definitely opened my eyes to gain a better appreciation of that part of the world. Although there are serious issues in the neighboring countries, the UAE, and in particular Dubai, is a modern and liberal society with a highly diverse population that also counts a thriving Princeton alumni community.
In my time in Dubai, there was no shortage of boozy parties or women dressed in seductive clothing. Most ironically, and a testament to the diversity and dynamism of the UAE, is that I now play less ice hockey and at a lower level while living in the Mecca of hockey (Montreal) than I did when I was residing in the Arabian desert of Dubai.