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While many St. Mary’s students vacationed or participated in service trips over Spring Break, 13 students from the Bill Greehey School of Business traveled to the other side of the world.

Accounting Professors Sam Sedki, Ph.D., and Kent Royalty took the entire class enrolled in Sedki’s course, “Business Environment and Public Policy in United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC),” on an eight-day cultural and business journey through Dubai.

Students toured and heard lectures at Unilever, the Dubai Chamber of Commerce, television station Al Arabia, and Nakheel, one of the world’s largest construction and real estate development companies, famous for building Dubai’s Palm Islands.

“The students experienced a new culture and learned how business is done in Dubai,” said Sedki. “From the moment we got to the airport, they were taking 10 pictures a minute. They loved every minute and didn’t want to come back.”

Sightseeing included viewing the world’s tallest building, the 2,717-foot Burj Khalifa, to dining at the seven-star Burj Al Arab. In the capital city of Abu Dhabi, students saw many aspects of a very different world as they visited mosques and Ferrari World, the world’s only Ferrari-themed amusement park.

Because the course was overwhelmingly popular, it was limited to 13 students in its first offering this semester. The business excursion – an added bonus for students – is something that Sedki developed after his term as a faculty fellow and visiting professor at American University of Sharjah in 2008-2009. His knowledge of the area, along with the help of his former student Husam Omar, Ph.D. (M.A. ’95, M.B.A. ’99), now a professor at Dubai Women’s College, led to the development of the detailed, behind-the-scenes itinerary. Through the ties to St. Mary’s, students visited both universities (American University of Sharjah and Dubai Women’s College) for a diverse perspective of higher education.

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