5 years ago I got the opportunity to live abroad in Abu Dhabi. If none of you know where that is, well its in the Middle East, the Capital of The United Arab Emirates. Now most teenagers at the age of 14 weren’t thinking about jetting off to a different country to study their GCSEs / A Levels, however, that was the case for me.

My parents asked myself and my older sister if we would like to go live out there and to study. (My dad works out there hence why they asked) My sister wasn’t up for it however I was. I knew I couldn’t miss this great opportunity to experience something new, a new culture, a new way of life.

When the day came to fly out there, I panicked. I had that scary thought of “Am I doing the right thing?”. Saying goodbye to my sisters, my horse, my mum was probably the worst thing in the world however my dad and I got into the car and drove to the airport. I will always remember the flights to and from Abu Dhabi and England because throughout the 4 years of living there I flew back to England every school holiday, so as you can imagine it was a fair few times. I will say one thing though, flying on your own is very boring but it was just a routine for me, and I got the hang of it fairly quickly. Plus the food on the plane was always yummy and I’m a girl who likes her food!

Now living out in Abu Dhabi is pretty much like living in a sauna all day, everyday. I don’tĀ think I ever got used to the heat and if I went back now I probably will still sweat just as much…it was horrible. I remember my first week at my school and being the only person sweating constantly. We would have to sit outside at break time and lunch time and that was probably the worst time for me everyone else seemed cool whereas I was literally dying of heat. Due to the heat meant walking back inside the school was like walking into a freezer they would have the AC on -10000 degrees just so it was durable for us to work.

Obviously over the 4 years, I gained knowledge of the religion, culture and learned so many different things. The school I went too was very diverse with people from all over the world so I did learn a lot about everything as we celebrated pretty much every celebration a culture or religion can celebrate. The best day that was celebrated has to be National Day. For readers who don’t know what National Day is, its a holiday that marks the unification of the seven emiratesĀ and the founding of the country in 1971 under Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the first president. And boy was it celebrated we would have Falcon Shows, Camels, stalls explaining the heritage background and buffet of food the list is endless. But the celebrations wouldn’t stop there. People would be out on the streets all night, all the roads chock-a-block of cars, they’d be spraying silly string, party poppers, people sitting on the roofs of cars it was crazy but amazing! Everyone would then gather for the fireworks at the end, where I used to live was right on the Corniche (beach) and they would have a big display of fireworks and I wouldn’t have to leave my house to watch it because I could see from my bedroom window.

The one thing that I never got used to about living in Abu Dhabi was the fact that you’d make friends with people and they would then be leaving the country because their dad or mum got asked to work in a different country. However the friends I did make whilst living out there are unbelievable, you know when you meet someone and you get this feeling you’ll always be friends even if you don’t speak everyday, well that’s what it was like when I met my friends. I just knew that no matter where we are in the world we will still talk and when the day comes to meet again it wouldn’t be awkward it would be completely normal.

Living aboard has made me become more independent and sort of helped me grow up. It helped with the idea of living away from home but also allowed me to see the world. I am forever grateful to have had the opportunity to study abroad and to whoever is reading this if you get the chance to live in a different country take it with no hesitation.

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