Traveling and exploring new places has always been in my blood. When I was 13, I moved from Slovakia and started high school in New York. A lot of people were shocked; many said that I would face a lot of problems as I was too young and going on my own. Although very tough, these years were the years of my life.

After graduating, I decided to turn my dream of learning Arabic into a reality and decided to enroll in the American University in Dubai. My College Counselor spent many hours trying to change my mind, but I was determined. Since elementary school, I always wanted to learn Arabic, therefore, I could not think of a better place to learn Arabic than the United Arab Emirates.

In regards to people, my first days were brilliant; everyone was very open and willing to help. However, when it came to language and other barriers it was very tough for me. I felt like I was a tiny fish thrown into an ocean full of big sharks. No matter what I said and how right I was, in the eyes of others, everything I said was always wrong. I realized I needed to change. I realized that I can not act so weak and kind to everyone in such a competitive environment. I started to be tough and would not stop doing something until I finally proved myself right.

My time in Dubai was really difficult, but looking back at it now, it was a positive life experience for me that I would go through again anytime. Although it was not easy, I managed to find my way and fit in.

Photo courtesy of Miriam Sefcikova