International Connections


Mackenzie Andrews

Major: Event Management



Year: Junior
Hometown, State: Marshalltown, Iowa

Type of experience: Faculty-Led Program
Experience: Exploring Hospitality and Event Management in the Arabic World
Experience website: http://isuabroad.iastate.edu/?go=CHSUAE
Destination: Dubai, UAE

Overall experience..
I can't even begin to describe how absolutely amazing this place was. I had such a great time learning and meeting new people. I had so many positive experiences with Dubai. Every single day had something eventful, whether it was lounging on the beach or touring hotels. This trip was definitely one of my favorite trips I have ever been on and I can't wait to get the chance to visit it again! I would highly recommend this program because not only was the program fun but so was the staff that went with us!

I learned...
I learned about this international opportunity through guest speakers in my classes.

An impact to my life...
The experience has impacted my life in so many ways. I am now really considering doing international work as far as my future. I want to establish my own company, but with my recent trip, I may want to expand it to be an international business. Dubai has opened my eyes open to a new culture and a new way of thinking. They do things so differently there that it has definitely made me want to travel more. I am considering studying abroad for a semester now. It is crazy to think because I wasn't really sure what to think about a study abroad trip at ISU.

My most valuable learning experience...
My most valuable learning experience as far as my career goes to The Five Hotel. It really was a good presentation and he answered all of my questions. He talked about the way the business runs from top to bottom. I really thought that the presenter provided so much insight that I didn't have before. It was really beneficial, I would suggest going to The Five again.

I will never forget...
My most memorable experience was definitely when we were in the Dubai Mall. I had a TON of memorable experiences, but this one tops it all. It tops it all due to the fact that we were literally trapped in the mall because it was so big. It is the biggest mall in the world, so you can only imagine a group of girls getting lost. We had literally gone across the whole mall at some point and every floor. It was just funny because Hannah and I started crying laughing because we couldn't get out. It is so funny looking back on it now.

A surprising discovery...
There was a lot of things that I didn't really expect when it came to Dubai, UAE. I had never traveled anywhere in the Middle East, so I really just had an open mind to everything. The thing that surprised me the most was probably how strong of an impact their culture/religion has on their life. I knew that they were very spiritual, but they are on a new level. I give props to them because they truly follow their guidelines. It is actually really amazing to see it. The mosques there are unbelievable too. It just has such a unique environment and I loved every second of it.

Advice for others...
My advice for students who want to study abroad is to DO IT! There is absolutely no way that you will regret your time while studying abroad. It is a great chance to get involved, learn about new culture, gain experience, and meet new people. I honestly was not really sure about studying abroad, but I can honestly tell you the only thing it has done is want to make me do it more. Studying abroad is definitely going to be my favorite part of ISU and it could be yours too! You should definitely give it a chance!

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