Dispatch from Dubai 2

Published on 30th March, 2010 in Author Blog by Lindsay Clandfield

3148711684_1448841d6bOn my second day in Dubai I asked to be taken to visit a school and meet some teachers. Dana, the local rep for Macmillan was only too happy to take me to see University City.

In Dubai and other parts of the Emirates, the cities are divided into sections and all the buildings pertaining to that section are there. There is Media City, the section where all the media companies are. There is Knowledge Village, Fashion District and so on. And there is University City.

We drove there (I hardly saw a single sidewalk my whole time in Dubai) in the morning, as the temperature was steadily rising to around 27 degrees. I guess I was expecting a small cluster of schools. Nothing further from the truth. University city had campus upon campus of enormous, palatial buildings that looked more like something out of the Arabian nights than the square, functional university structures I am used to seeing when I visit a country.

We went to a school and were received by the director, a rather fierce Arab woman who snapped her fingers and people would go running about, bringing us tea, calling in the teachers and students to talk to us. The group of teachers we met were quite remarkable. There were two guys from the United States, a woman from Pakistan, someone from Qatar, another man from India, a British woman and someone from Lebanon.

In a way, this represented a microcosm of Dubai itself. Dubai has become a business hub, a meeting point, a global city. I went to a talk about the region at TESOL Arabia where I learned that only 16% of the population of Dubai was in fact from the Emirates itself. That’s a whopping 84% of immigrants.

On the way back from our visit with the school after a chat about teaching, technology and typical challenges I saw a large billboard on the side of the road. It proclaimed, in English and Arabic, “Practice your language skills. There are 195 nationalities in this city.”

Felt like a very good place to be talking about a book called Global.

It’s rare on these trips that I get to do any sightseeing, so I immediately said an enthusiastic yes to go and see something on my first night in Dubai. Well, this being Dubai I ended up going to a mall. How boring and consumerist is that? But this wasn’t any mall, they told me. Basically, it’s like capitalism on super enhanced drugs. I started making a film of it, and it got weirder and weirder…

Bear with the strange sounds at the beginning (almost like droid like noises in the background) as it clears up when I get inside. If you’ve never heard of the crazy and wonderful things in the Dubai mall, it’s worth it…

Photo Credit: Britrob. Creative Commons Licence.


  • Lindsay, I liked the report from the mall, which I watched this morning. I spent some time marvelling at the coherence of your blogs, Global feedback and YouTube clips. I also guess you’re also writing, checking proofs, organizing travel and hoping for a good hotel. Good work,good luck!

    Simon Greenall on 31 March, 2010
  • Thank you Simon, it’s an honour to have you here. Yes, you’re right about the other stuff. Thing is with today’s technology one can do a lot of this work from almost anywhere. A blessing or a curse I wonder sometimes?

    Lindsay Clandfield on 1 April, 2010
  • Yes, I don’t know the answer. I so admire how you use the technology that I (and others) may overlook the extraordinary effort it requires from you. I should know better. Would love to talk about all this with you one day. Impressive, but please look after yourself.

    Simon Greenall on 1 April, 2010