The first day of programme took place on Sunday, the start of a week in the UAE, and began with meeting with the faculty members of College of Science in the UAEU. Every morning, they were exposed to different hot topics ranging from modelling the environment with remote sensing and GIS, algebra applications, applications of environmental microbiology and biotechnology, fabrication of nanomaterials, to detection of toxic ions in water, all delivered and presented by experts from the College.
Participants were extremely impressed by how they make use of science to address burning issues in the place. For instance, the research devoted to groundwater resources purification, seawater desalination, and water resources conservation is a possible answer in response to the lack of water resources in such desert area. While the use of mathematical models when dealing with infectious diseases in the Middle East is another example illustrating the contribution of scientific research to the society, in particular the advocacy of public health policy.
Apart from scientific exchange, the cultural difference also broadened their horizons. Due to religious reason, the UAEU campus is separated into male and female campuses and solid restrictions are set on the entry of female campus. Other than that, male and female students there also attend lectures on alternative day, meaning that unisex lectures are also delivered.
Travelled from a concrete jungle like Hong Kong to a place surrounded by deserts, historical buildings, and mosques, they found the founding history, Muslim culture, cuisine, and languages behind all eye-opening, especially when they visited the Safari in Dubai, the Al Jahili Fort in Al Ain, and the Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi.
‘The five-day scientific and cultural exchange programme was an amazing, memorable, and life-changing experience in my life,’ concluded by all participants. Other than experiencing the Arabic culture, the well-structured programme has also lighted up some of their goals of pursuing further study and research. They all thanked the UAEU and the Faculty for bringing them an incredible experience.