A Tale of Two Cities: Across Two Continents

It was the summer of 2012 when my family: my mum, my dad my brother and I packed our bags and hopped on a plane to a destination approximately 3,900 miles away from England: the UAE. In what seemed like the blink of an eye for me, my father had made the executive decision to move out to Dubai for his job, a mere 1 hour by plane from Bahrain. As a shy, young girl of 9 years old at the time, I wasn’t particularly excited at the prospect of changing schools for the third time and leaving all of my new friends behind. Admittedly, making friends in Dubai did take me a few months, but I was, fortunately, able to do so and proceeded to settle into an extra-curricular life at my school. The diversity of the people that I had met there opened my eyes to new experiences and provided me with opportunities that I, otherwise, would not have been given such as learning three different languages and progressing my passion for literature infinitely, extending to reading literature of a different language. I can say that the most beneficial of my experiences in Dubai has to be the introduction to so many talented, culturally diverse people and learning the widely practised cultural traditions of Islam like Eid al-Adha and Ramadan. I felt very at home among a diverse student population at my school with over 70 nationalities being represented and a dedicated International day to celebrate our distinctions.

After an amazing four years in Dubai with my family and friends, my parents had chosen to move my brother and I to schools in England as the plan has always been for me to do my GCSEs here. My mum came with us, leaving our dad to work in Dubai. When we arrived to look at schools to attend in England, my parents had put Caterham School on the list being my mother’s old school and in an area that she knew very well. To put it simply, I fell in love with it. The outdoors and the countryside had always been something dearly missing from our lives when living in big cities like Dubai and Richmond before that, but moving to Caterham would and did assuredly give us those qualities. What I enjoyed so greatly about living in both Bahrain and Dubai was the sense of community, and recognising that element of life in Caterham as well, comforted me immensely.

Living in a different area of the world afforded me a broader outlook on life with regards to my adaptation to communities with such a variety of culture and background. I am thankful for my time in Dubai in that it enabled me to thrive and develop a passion for all sorts of things but just like many international hubs, it was a transient city where change is the new normal. Change was an aspect of life that I used to hate; I always liked to be comfortable, but, moving to Bahrain, then to Dubai
and back to England, I learnt that it is brings so many new opportunities and experiences.

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