How strict is the cultural rules for American women?

Posted by Elizabeth Racine 8 years 3 months ago

Hi!! I read my cultural handbook for the fall semester and was just wondering how strict such rules are. As a girl from Texas, I'm just curious as to how different it will be. Obviously they're country wide rules and I understand that, but what did your packing list look like/what did you actually wear there? Should I leave all my shorts at home? What were outfits on travel like? I'm also a runner - will I be a able to wear athletic clothes while running?

I hope this all makes sense :) just trying to get some first hand experience suggestions on what exactly I should take/leave at home.


Those are great questions! The American University of Sharjah is one of the only co-ed universities in the Emirate of Sharjah. The Emirate itself is pretty strict. So you are going to want to pack a lot of long pants, jeans, maxi- skirts and dresses (that go below your knees) , and definitely don't wear your shorts around the Emirate of Sharjah because you will get an insanely high fine from the police (because it is illegal) or you will stick out like a sore thumb in the worst possible way. Also, if you are going in the summer time expect the temperature to be 110 Fahrenheit or higher with a lot of humidity, but still make sure to rock the pants.

Although, Dubai is a different story. You can wear your normal bikini attire on the Dubai beaches. And if you plan on going to clubs at night you can wear anything you like. Although, make sure to dress the same as you would in Sharjah to the Dubai Malls because you could be in violation of the mall dress code and get escorted out.

Also, you said you liked to run. If you plan on wearing yoga pants (since you can't wear shorts in public) make sure to wear a long shirt that covers your booty haha. Or you can just wear loose sweat pants. Unfortunately, the gym was closed during the time I was there... so I'm not quite sure about the outfit regulations within the settings of the gym. I know that men and women are not allowed to be in the gym at the same time (they had different hours they could use the gym), so maybe work out shorts are allowed in there.

Although it may seem like they have strict regulations on outfit wear it doesn't mean you can't look cute! Something that a lot of us did on our study abroad trip was buy an abaya (in attempt to blend in with the locals), so we would wear those around a lot!

Wow ok I'm so sorry - totally forgot to respond but THANK YOU. This literally rocks.

If I can bother you with another question (or like a thousand lol), what did you do for like food and such? I know there's places it says around campus but do the dorms have any sort of kitchen or will I have a little fridge/microwave? Like my school now has a dining hall that we used as freshmen so we just had a meal plan type thing. Or will I just need to like stock up on stuff that doesn't need prep?

Thank you so much!! :)

I am planning on studying at the AUS this upcoming term and am just wondering how the course rigor is. I have been advised to only take 12 hours, however, at the University of Arkansas I am currently attending 21 hours of classes and so this sounds like a drastic cutback and I really wanting to make the most of my time academically, but also socially. I will just be taking entry level business classes and an Arabic linguistics course so I just wanted some input. Additionally, is it true that the Emirati students generally tend to be pretty reserved and not associate with foreign students much?