While many expatriates catch-up with family and friends back home and locals stay up to speed with lush tourist destinations somewhere in Europe or Africa, a few youths are holding down the fort here. They are at peace with the city, refusing to cave-in to the heat or let boredom grip their minds.

By Faisal Masudi

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Published: Sun 22 Aug 2004, 2:43 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 12:32 AM

Only a two-hour drive would have reunited Natasha Qazi with her family in Abu Dhabi, her birth-place and the city where she grew-up. But Qazi, 21, opted to forego the short-term benefits of sulking in the lazy summer afternoons in exchange for a chance to improve her prospects of a decent job - the Bangladeshi woman is a trainee at Johnson & Johnson Middle East.

Speaking from her office in the World Trade Centre, Qazi told City Times that she does not like to depend on people.

"I found the job on my own," the senior-year student of the American University of Sharjah explained.

Qazi, a finance and accounting major, is "crunching numbers all day long" as part of her work in the vision-care division of the firm. The young intern assists the financial accountant in making sure every dirham is in its proper place, among other tasks.

The lady from the sub-continent was aware of the value of work experience early on. "I've been involved with past Dubai Shopping Festivals, and I also worked as a TA (Teacher's Assistant)," recalled Qazi, who visits her home country every four or five years.

She seems to have it all figured out: "I'm planning to work (full-time) after I graduate. Then, get a master's (degree). I hope to get a Certified Financial Account licence as well."

Qazi underlined the importance of time by stating that "third or fourth year students should get a part-time job if they have free-time because jobs are competitive. If you're not on the cutting edge, you've lost."

But, like any of us, she takes time-out to relax. "I love reading. I'm not particular - anything worth reading, classics or contemporary," Qazi pointed-out prior to returning to work from her lunch-break.

Turning obstacles into opportunities is an invaluable skill that few people possess. Banafsheh Kazerani is one of those few people. The 23-year-old Iranian woman decided to enrol in an on-line programme to obtain a psychology degree after realising that no universities based locally offer the qualification. The cyber-student went further and took advantage of the spare time to secure employment at Gymboree Play & Music, a United States franchise for child development. "I'm a teacher," she explained her role at the centre. "We conduct theme classes that stimulate the physical and mental development of children," the Persian said. Kazerani point-out that she is learning child psychology, courtesy of Southern New Hampshire University.

"I love kids," the teacher expressed. "After working with kids, and parents, I observed many people under-estimate their abilities. For example, the way they talk to them - it's too simplistic. They are capable of much more. Give them complete sentences, give them confidence, and treat them more like adults because they do understand," advised Kazerani, who is graduating this summer.

Even though she tries to visit her country across the Gulf every year, the tall brunette is fond of Dubai. "My family's here, and I don't mind the heat," the seven-year resident of the Emirates said. Kazerani has also utilised her time in past occasions as a volunteer of Comprehensive Medical Centre, and by participating in "MENA RCP," the first regional conference of psychologists, according to her.

Although the young lady would like to work for a year before attempting a master's degree, she is not obsessive about the future. "Sometimes the path is chosen for you," she said. Be that as it may, there is no excuse for wasting time: "Seriously, just be productive whether it's cooking, summer classes, or a part time job."

And how does Kazerani unwind after a long day? "I practise yoga at the end of the day to relax from the stress - wouldn't want to get on a tread-mill and make myself even more tired!" she laughed. The busybody also enjoys going to the movies with friends; like accompanying Banan Hadid, a Jordanian co-worker. Kazerani said she frequents a cafe in Jumierah to finish her assignments.

While most in Dubai dream of rain in their afternoon siesta, "Side Project" blares-out rock tunes. The four-member band consists of teenage students fresh out of high school. Playing samples of the works of Green Day (an American punk-rock band) at an apartment near Maktoum Bridge, the friends told City Times about their summer-break:

"We jam once in a while," said guitarist Eric Jacob. The 17-year-old Indian decided to spend quality time with family before departing to a university in the United States. The graduate of St. Mary's High, the school he shared with two members, admonished youngsters about taking leisure for granted - "Keep up with family and friends. The summer's boring, so find an interest and go for it." Jacob has his hands full; a part-time job, summer camp, and working out consume his days. He opined that since every place is air-conditioned, the heat is no excuse to stay indoors.

Vocalist Brendon Afonso,17, agrees. "You're on holiday - there's no point in doing nothing!" the T-shirt and jeans clad singer said. He improvised by putting down basketball and hanging out - his interests - as alternatives to vegetating. Afonso, who also plays drums and keyboard, completed his "A-levels" recently. "I want to go into sound production," the musician answered to a question about his future plans.

Sacrificing an opportunity to visit the beautiful islands of Philipines, bass-player Ivan Mark Silvestre resolved to stay put for his visiting sister. "I also wanted to get my driver's licence," the 18-year-old added. Silvestre said he is staying focused on his applications to several universities in North America. "I'm in a transfer-programme at the American College of Dubai," the bassist, who wants to pursue architecture, stated. Family and sports are important to him, Silvestre pointed-out. So is "staying active ... and taking productive course like Autocad for the future." He also mentioned that the mid-year recess is suited for people who want to slice off the extra pounds.

Last but not least is Yeswant S, the eldest member. Side Project explained his absence - he's on vocation!

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