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American University of Sharjah

About

Studying abroad at the American University of Sharjah (AUS) allows you to direct enroll in high quality courses in your major discipline, while studying Arabic and learning about the Gulf Arab, Islamic and Middle Eastern cultures (our 6,000 students hail from 94 countries across the Arab/Islamic world and beyond!). The AUS campus is located at the intersection of four very different worlds: the traditional Arab city of Sharjah (named by ISESCO as the 2014 Capital of Islamic Culture and by UNESCO as the 1998 Cultural Capital of the Arab World - and currently the Capital of Arab Tourism); the bustling metropolis of Dubai, widely known for icons such as the tallest building in the world, an indoor ski slope, and palm islands; the wide open desert where students can experience a desert safari, ride camels, and experience life as a Bedouin; and finally the Indian Ocean resort shoreline where snorkeling and traditional water sports abound.

Website
www.aus.edu
Founded
1997
Headquarters

PO Box 26666
Sharjah
United Arab Emirates

Reviews

Hassan
10/10
No, I don't recommend this program

Compared to universities in middle east, AUS is one of the best. I took 7 courses, 4 of them were helpful, but the remaining were not. The core courses are:
-Modeling and simulation (was very helpful, only the modeling part were we get to know Lagrange..)
-Advanced Control (with Dr.rached dhaouadi, he is the best who can teach you this course)
-Advanced Math. (it was a revision for differential equations and Laplace..)
also not to forget : embedded systems, though this course was the same as the bachelor level because some students come from a mechanical background.

The core courses were good, but the elective courses, not all of them was. Because the department does not offer the interesting courses like machine vision and robotics and autonomous systems every year. In fact during my stay these courses never got offered.

Adaptive control was a very helpful course with Dr shayok who is totally into control.
Advanced Manufacturing processes: this course is totally not helpful, it was useless unfortunately.

Research: they fund research better than other universities around the region, but this funding is not enough. Research topics are limited but you can come up with a topic, the professors won't reject.

Mechatronics lab and equipment: the lab is not good (again if you compare it with universities like for instance Jordan university of science and technology where I took mu bachelor, you will find the lab good) .
It is missing many components, the university doesn't care much about the lab, old computers, no mobile robots that are ready to use and so on..
If you need equipment they can buy it for you, but you will have to wait (up to one semester) which is bad becuase normally you wouldn't have that time

Dorms the housing: very good

Sohaila
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

In Fall of 2015 of my junior year, I decided to study abroad at the American University of Sharjah. Five months later, I could say that this was an experience that I will hold close to my heart for the rest of my life. Theatre 352: Dance Styles of the Stage at the American University of Sharjah made me feel as if the program was my perfect match. From the age of 3 until now, dance has been my artistic outlet and fortunately it has remained a part of my life, even in college. When I discovered that AUS offered a dance course, I knew it would be the perfect class to balance all of my other difficult science courses. My learning experience in the class was endless because we studied so many different genres of dance ranging from Broadway to Hip Hop to Bollywood. Also, as the class doesn’t require auditions, there were students with various backgrounds in dance, some who have never taken a dance class before and others who have been dancing for longer periods of time. The diversity in the class made the process that much more rewarding because I was able to share my love of dance with my classmates. Other notable experiences from the class were when we performed for a labor camp, as well as for a charity event for children with special needs. Both of these events were extremely eye opening and inspiring. Also, having the opportunity to dance and learn from Professor Mina was probably the best part of the entire experience for me. She served as my mentor in tap dance and I learned so much from her. Not to mention the people in my class are so kind hearted and generous and they have remained my closest friends since I have returned home. I would say that dance definitely helped me become more integrated with the AUS community and I’m so grateful for all of the new relationships that came out of it.

What would you improve about this program?
As I had expected, there were many different university rules that reflected the conservative culture of the UAE. My only complaint are the curfew rules because they limited my flexibility to travel on the weekends and to explore the city without worrying about time constraints.
Kamra
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Studying abroad at the American University of Sharjah has taught me a lot about what it means to be alive as myself. It has expanded my consciousness in ways that I never thought possible. I know a few more Arabic words than I did when I left the US. I've learned that human beings are mostly good. I've learned that friends come and go, but true love lasts forever.

During my time abroad, 150 AED was stolen from me. I was so upset because it was during a time when I was struggling financially. I continued to think, “why me?” for several days. Soon after this, I found a woman’s handbag in the middle of the road. All of her personal and important belongings were in it, and had I not stumbled upon it and turned it in, someone could have stolen from her the same way that someone stole from me.

Karma knocked on my door when Sheikh Mansoor, my political science professor, invited myself, Danielle and Simone to his estate in Ali-Ain. At the beginning of my semester abroad at American University of Sharjah, I made a life changing decision and enrolled in Sheikh Mansoor Bin Tahnoon Al Nehayan’s political science course. I have to say; it was one of the best decisions of my life, as I have learned so much just from sitting with him for 2 hours and 30 minutes per week. I asked him if he would be willing to sit down for dinner. Little did I know that I was in for a big surprise. After being picked up by his driver, we arrived at his estate in Al-Ain. We waited in his masjlis as Sheikh Mansoor and his sons arrived by helicopter.

My favorite part about the experience was lunch. We ate with our hands (I intend to incorporate this into my daily life), and it felt so natural and refreshing. Not to mention, the traditional Emirati meal was phenomenal. After a hefty meal, we enjoyed cake and then headed out in the truck to tour the farm. The first thing I noticed was how happy the animals were. They were treated very well and actively responded to engaging with us, especially the camels! It was easy to notice how intentional Sheikh Mansoor is about tending to and caring for his family and his land. We were blown away when we returned from touring the farm, and Sheikh Mansoor asked us if we wanted to fly in the helicopter! It was such a thrill! I have never been in a helicopter before, nor has anyone been able to change my life in such a short amount of time.

Before we concluded our time with Sheikh Mansoor, his sons drove us around the open land in 4x4s to see the wild animals! Just when we thought our tip to Al-Ain couldn’t get any better, Sheikh Mansoor said that he wanted us to go to the mall with his driver and pick out any gifts that we wanted! We cried. We couldn’t believe the hospitality and generosity. I bought a Michael Kors watch and DSLR Canon Camera. I cherish both gifts, and am so happy that I will be able to document my time abroad via my new camera. Besides getting spoiled, I am blessed to have Sheikh Mansoor be part of my study abroad experience. He is an incredible and intelligent human being and I thank God for making him part of my journey.

What would you improve about this program?
Although I was extremely grateful for the top-notch security and safety, it would be nice to be able to explore the city without the fear of getting written up for breaking curfew laws.
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Aisha
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Studying abroad in the United Arab Emirates has been the most humbling for me. While growing up America, one is endlessly being badgered with negative images of the middle east. I am not surprised to discover that it is incredibly peaceful here and nowhere near as bad as America is. I have felt nothing but welcomed here in the UAE. The American Univeristy of Sharjah is actually more rigorous than my home university, which was challenging but much needed.

What would you improve about this program?
Less museums more interactive cultural outings
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Claire
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I studied abroad at the the American University of Sharjah over this past summer and had the most culturally enriching experience I could have ever asked for. My regular school days consisted of my six hour Arabic language program, socializing in the dining area and in the dorms, and exploring new restaurants outside the university gates for dinner. My weekends on the other hand varied greatly from one another. They consisted either from roaming the desert of Dubai on camelback, tanning on the beautiful beaches off of the Arabian Gulf, exploring the in's and out's of a few of the other emirates, standing at the top of the tallest building in the world (Burj Khalifa), or riding the fastest roller coaster ever recorded in largest indoor amusement park in the world(Ferrari world), and never was I ever bored, I was able to do things I would have never thought I would have been able to do . My time there was full of new and exhilarating experiences, ones that I will never forget. Something that I did quite often with my friends and one of my fondest memories was watching the water show outside of the Mall of the Emirates. Although it wasn't as elaborate as the time I had a falcon put on my head, or as extravagant as eating Iftar at the Atlantis resort on the Palm Island, it was still something I was always so excited to watch, something that was always able to put a big smile on my face no matter how many times I had seen it. The only thing that I found difficult to deal with was the heat. Not the program, not the people, just the heat. It was just something I had never experienced before, but I eventually became accustomed to it. Overall, the trip was a success and something I would do over in a heartbeat!

What would you improve about this program?
The only fault I found in the program was that my first nights stay was pretty unorganized. I wasn't provided with a pillow, sheets, or a blanket that night and my room still had not been cleaned since the prior occupants. But other then that I have no complaints!

Programs

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Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Keith Fakhoury

Keith Fakhoury is a 22 year old, first generation Jordanian-American from the small lumber town of Philomath, Oregon. He is an economics major at Willamette University and has also completed leadership and business programs at the Harvard Business School and Yale School of Management.
Keith Fakhoury Camel

Why did you decide to study abroad with American University of Sharjah?

While deciding upon potential universities, the one aspect of the American University of Sharjah that captivated me was its appearance, gorgeous architecture and a breathtaking campus. The institution was founded by the Ruler of Sharjah and AUS President, Sheikh Sultan bin Mohamed Al-Qasimi, who grew it to be the top ranked school in the Gulf with the best professors in the world and the host of international engagements such as the MENA Economic Forum. As if these weren’t reasons enough, AUS was a stone toss away from Dubai, the international economic and entertainment hub that was always a vacation favorite of mine.

Tell us about an experience you had that you could not have had at home.

Experiencing the tallest building in the world, Burj Khalifa, on New Year’s Eve was the greatest, and logistically worst, experience during my year abroad. Several Friends had dinner at Dubai Mall, the world’s largest mall, which was unbelievably packed. Then, from a friend’s apartment at the Index Tower, we watched Burj Khalifa host thousands of fireworks. What an unbelievable sight! As beautiful as it was, the night quickly turned into a logistical nightmare as more than 5,000 people were bound for the metro system. It was hours waiting in line with inpatient people and cranky police officers with rifles. It was very intense at the time, but I personally grew from trying to survive that night and I relish the opportunity to talk about that escapade.

Describe your program socially and academically.

The social and academic aspects of my program were equally awesome and overwhelming. Most of my professors were superstar academics and professionals from Europe and America, included the former head trader at JPMorgan Germany, a partner at KPMG Netherlands, and other illustrious figures. Professors, like students, come from all four corners of the map. UAE is home to many professional expats and many of them send their kids to AUS, creating the most flavorful melting pot and social situation. In addition, every class had fewer than 15 students, making every session especially intimate and engaging.

The campus is bustling with dozens of student clubs, from the Emirati Cultural Club to the Entrepreneurship Club, giving the student body endless opportunities to network and connect with our peers. The biggest event on campus, Annual Global Days, provided a platform for various groups to showcase themselves and their homeland. Despite being entirely Jordanian, I was a member of the Emirati and Pakistani Club and performed their traditional dance at the event and had the most memorable of times. Overall, my time at AUS was a social paradise: constant desert parties, never-ending chai karak tea breaks, the most diverse melting pot of potential friends, and the Dubai nightlife.

Describe your favorite must-have food that you tried abroad.

My must-have international food is Biryani. I first had it at Gazebo, a popular chain across the UAE. Initially, I was disappointed because it looked like a plain pot of seasoned rice. Dig in a little deeper and you’ll strike tender chicken or beef and feel like an Emirati who struck oil in the desert. Usually served with a side of salad and zesty sauce, it a dish I’ve always look forward to. I would eat it every day if it weren’t for those meddling carbs.

Tell us about any interesting cultural tidbits you noticed about your country.

Respect in the UAE is like tax in the US -- everywhere and significant. Within the dialogue between Arabs, you’ll find an overwhelming amount of praising and complimenting between the individuals. However, that was taken to another level when I heard my Emirati friends speaking with their fathers. It sounded like they were speaking to the ruler of their Emirate! There was enormous respect present. It inspired me in my own relationships with my family. Cheetahs and tigers are common domesticated pets. Seeing a tiger on a leash as if it was an American household cat was startling! The parking lot at AUS was like an international auto show. I’ve never seen so many so many Maserati’s, Range Rovers, R8’s, and Ferraris in my life.

Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Linda C. Angell

Job Title
International Exchange Programs Director
Dr. Linda C. Angell is Director, International Exchange Programs at the American University of Sharjah in the UAE. Her career spans 30 years as faculty and administrator in public and private universities and organizations in the UAE, NZ, USA, Germany and U.K. She currently is Chair Elect for the Council of Advisors for ISEP. Dr. Angell holds a D.B.A. Boston University, an M.B.A. with High Distinction Babson College, and a B.A. Summa cum Laude UMASS Amherst.
dubai sunset

What position do I hold at AUS? What has been my career path so far?

I currently serve as Director, International Exchange Programs since January 2010, but I joined AUS in August 2007 as an Associate Professor of Operations and Project Management in the School of Business Administration.

I moved to the UAE from Wellington, New Zealand, where I had lived with my family for 7 years - initially on the faculty of the Victoria Management School, but later I left academia to work as a manager in the research sector for the New Zealand Government.

Prior to moving to New Zealand in mid-2000, I was an Assistant Professor of Operations Management at the Smeal College of Business at The Pennsylvania State University (i.e. Penn State). Before that, I was a Fulbright Research Scholar at the University of Muenster in Germany for two years, working towards my Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) at Boston University.

I came to the academic world after earning an MBA from Babson College, and then working for several organizations in the Greater Boston Area - in the fields of Market Research, Investment Brokerage, Interior Construction, and R&D!

Did I study abroad, and where? What inspired me?

My first study abroad experience came while I was attending my MBA program, and I had an opportunity to do an international internship with Horwath & Horwath Consulting on Baker Street in London, England. I had been inspired to have an international career after listening to my International Business Professor regale us with his tales of living abroad in India and Japan.

When I went to London, it was my first time ever travelling abroad, and I was very surprised to find the culture to be so very different! It was a huge shock - I didn't know how to turn on the TV or the clothes washer, I weighed myself and had no idea what 'stones' were, I would hold my money out for cashiers to paw through and take what they needed, and I struggled to understand the strange language being spoken, with terms such as 'lorry' and 'brawlie' and phrases such as 'mind the gap', etc.!

After I finished my internship, my best friend and I spent a month and a half backpacking around Europe. It was an amazing, wonderful, eye-opening experience and I found that I was completely enchanted! A few years later, I received my Fulbright Scholarship to conduct my Doctoral Dissertation Research in Muenster, Germany.

My husband and I lived there in a 'wohngemeinschaft' (i.e. house full of German adults) for two years, during which our oldest daughter (and my dissertation) was born.

After that, I couldn't wait to go abroad again, and when the opportunity came to move to New Zealand in 2000, we jumped at the chance with our two young daughters in tow, and never looked back!

Seven years later, we made a similar transition to the United Arab Emirates to join AUS. We have loved every moment of our time abroad.

What does the future hold for AUS - any exciting programs to share?

We have grown our Summer Intensive Arabic Language Program considerably over the past few years and next summer we will add an Intermediate level of instruction to the mix.

This program has received rave reviews from all participants to date. In addition, both our inbound and outbound study abroad numbers have grown significantly, as well.

As we approach our 20th anniversary as an institution, and our 5th anniversary as the International Exchange Office, we are celebrating all of our huge accomplishments since our founding, and thinking about where we would like to focus for the next twenty years, and beyond!

What country have I always wanted to visit?

Botswana! Ever since I read Alexander McCall Smith's series 'The Number One Lady's Detective Agency', I've been wanting to go. I am charmed by his description of the people, the culture, and the land. This country is definitely on my wish list!

What was my favorite traveling experience?

My family and I have very fond memories of a day we spent driving from Muscat to Al Hadd in Oman. We hired a guide for the trip, and our first stop was at a sinkhole called Hawiyat Najm. We climbed way down and swam in the emerald green waters thinking the whole time about how our guide had told us that no one had ever been able to find the bottom of this sinkhole. We particularly loved swimming in the caves around the edges!

After a few hours there, we continued south until we got to the little village of Tiwi, where we had the best lunch we had ever had at this tiny, hole-in-the wall non-name cafe that didn't even have menus (our guide ordered lunch for us). After lunch, we went to Wadi Shab and began hiking up the wadi, sometimes climbing along the old falaj (i.e. traditional Arab irrigation system) in the cliffs, and oftentimes having to swim through the natural pools filling the wadi.

My family was brave enough to jump from high on the cliffs into some deep waters below, while I stood nearby clutching my heart in fear!

Eventually, we came to what would seem to have been the end of the wadi - a sheer cliff with deep water in front - but our guide just continued swimming on to a small, head-sized crack at the base of the wall and disappeared in.

What could we do but follow him through a very strange tunnel that just barely fit our heads while our arms and legs splayed out below the rocks which seemed to end just below the surface of the water.

After several meters of this tunnel, we came out into a natural cave with some cracks in the ceiling allowing in light.

The cave contained a waterfall and a natural ledge, and we spent an hour or so climbing up the water fall and jumping into the water. It was magic! Eventually, we made our way back to the entry of the wadi and continued south to Al Hadd, where we settled into our hotel and reserved a spot for a late night tour of the Ras Al Hadd Seaturtle Nature Reserve.

It just happened that we had arrived during the full moon, which is apparently the best time to go. We spent hours on the beach, watching huge mother sea turtles lumbering out of the water and up to the beach, digging deep holes, and laying their many golf-ball sized eggs. At the same time, all around us there were tiny baby sea turtles hatching and making their way back to the water, guided by the moon. What a perfect day that was, and so unexpected!!