Fresh grads fight nerves as they leave for college from UAE

Fresh grads fight nerves as they leave for college from UAE

Dubai - Most of the graduation ceremonies for high school students were held in May.

By Sarwat Nasir

Published: Sat 17 Aug 2019, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Sat 17 Aug 2019, 1:45 PM

Fresh high school graduates who've grown up in the UAE are fighting their nerves as they prepare to head abroad for university, with many dreading the day when they have to leave their families behind.
Most of the graduation ceremonies for high school students were held in May and, now, summer is coming to an end with pupils preparing for the university fall semester.
A student who has lived all the 18 years of her life in Dubai, Simone Noorali, will be starting classes at the University of Pennsylvania in the US soon.
"I started this summer incredibly excited at the prospect of immersing myself in a new diverse academic and social environment. As the time comes closer, however, the inevitable first-day nerves are catching up with me," Noorali, who graduated from Uptown School Dubai, told Khaleej Times.
"What's most immediately jarring is the independence, housing, medical forms, insurance and visa forms - the likes of which I've never seen before. For the next four years, every decision will be my own to make and I have to trust myself.
"Leaving home, I know I'll miss the comfort and reliable presence of my family members the most. But growing up in Dubai is such a privilege, too - the sprawling air-conditioned malls, endless food choices, and safety of the city create an environment for any child that few other places can offer."
Noorali's parents are also feeling anxious as their only daughter prepares to leave the nest and move thousands of miles away for her higher education. Though, her dad Sameer Noorali said they are feeling both anxious and excited for the new chapter of her life.
"Our daughter will explore and create a new world, yet we can't help but think, who will take care of her? What worries us is the thoughts such as how she'll cope with the pressures of studying, settling in a new environment, and most importantly, the lack of family and emotional support when she needs it most," he said.
"Technology has made it easier now to see and talk to our children on a daily basis, but it will still create a physical and emotional void for us."
Afaf Zafirah is a 19-year-old student who graduated from Dubai's Raffles World Academy this year. She's recently moved to Montreal to continue her studies at McGill University.
She relocated a few weeks ago and is trying to make many new friends, familiarising herself with her surroundings so she does not feel homesick.
"I was anxious leaving Dubai. The lifestyle abroad is very different from what we had in Dubai. On one side, you have this luxurious life, where it feels as though almost everything is given to you," she said. "Dubai really spoils you, and then on the other side, you enter this new world where you have to be independent. You have to fend for yourself and you have to carry yourself, your dreams and your life forward.
"At times, it makes me anxious seeing the huge pool of faces almost as lost as mine still trying to figure out everything. However, despite all that, McGill was my dream school and the fact that I reached it - thanks to my education at Raffles World Academy, Dubai, and in particular the IBDP - at the end of the day, I am nothing but thankful."
Another student who lived all his life in Dubai, Tihami Tahmid, will be moving to New York for the next four years to pursue a bachelor's degree in graphic design.
The 17-year-old said he is feeling nervous about moving away from his family and childhood friends, but added he is also excited about his new chapter in life.
"Some of the things I am going to miss about Dubai is the convenience it offers. There are more indoor activities here and travelling around is easy as there are many transportation methods," said Tahmid, who graduated from Dubai Scholars. "I'm going to miss my family and friends."

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