Students Samy Meddahi, Chloe Fitzgerald and Baryan Regragui decided to embark on the third year of their five-year Programme Grande École degree at the EM Normandie Business School in the UAE. Image Credit: Supplied

EM Normandie Business School in the UAE opened its doors a year ago in Dubai Knowledge Park. Among the first to study at the university’s new campus is a group of visiting international business students from across the institution’s global network. Samy Meddahi, Chloe Fitzgerald and Baryan Regragui decided to embark on the third year of their five-year Programme Grande École degree in the UAE. They share their expectations and experiences of life as an international student in Dubai.

Twenty-one-year-old Meddahi spent two years at EM Normandie’s campus in Paris before making the move to Dubai. With Algerian heritage, Meddahi says he felt an instant connection with the culture and way of life in the UAE. He explained, “There is a tendency in France to think of Dubai as an extravagant city with a lavish lifestyle, but I have found the people and the place to be very authentic and welcoming.”

He added, “The learning experience is quite different to France as lessons are in English and the professors come from a wide range of nationalities and backgrounds, which brings different perspectives to the program. Dubai is renowned as a global hub for commerce and to be immersed in that, as a business student exploring the finance and banking sector, is an invaluable experience.”

Image Credit: Supplied

Having spent her first year in Paris, French national Fitzgerald moved on to undertake her second year of study at EM Normandie’s campus in Oxford, before joining the university in Dubai. The twenty-year-old, who is considering a career in events management, says her experience in the UAE has been an enriching time of personal growth that has opened her mind to new opportunities.

Fitzgerald said, “Dubai is a vibrant city that offers an excellent lifestyle, with so many things to do and see. The safety I feel here as a young female student means I can comfortably go out and freely explore the diverse range of recreational activities and cultural experiences the UAE has to offer.”

For French Moroccan Regragui, EM Normandie in Dubai is not his first experience in the Middle East. The twenty-year-old had spent some time in Qatar, where he graduated from high school, before going on to undertake his first two years of university at EM Normandie’s campus in Oxford. Regragui believes that international study provides a more practical way to learn about global business.

Sharing his experience, Regragui explained, “I missed the Middle East and leapt at the opportunity to return for a year when EM Normandie established a School in Dubai. The combination of an English curriculum and spacious, modern campus facilities set in the middle of a global city makes this a unique learning experience. Classes are well-structured to allow us time for private study and extracurricular activities throughout the week. I have also been able to secure a two-month internships in DIFC to conclude my year in Dubai.”

After completing his internship, Regragui will transition to EM Normandie Paris along with Meddahi and Fitzgerald, where they will complete the final two years of the Programme Grande École. The degree is ranked among the top 70 Masters in Management programs by the Financial Times, and offers students the opportunity to choose from one of 16 specializations. It also incorporates a work-study program, which Regragui will take up when he starts a position with a leading professional football club upon his return to Paris.

As one of several global campuses established by EM Normandie France, the Business School in the UAE is expecting to host more international visiting students in 2024. This year will also see more UAE-based students on campus with the launch of the Master’s in International Logistics and Port Management, and the Master’s in International Marketing and Business Development, in addition to the existing Bachelor’s in International Management, which offers majors in Digital Business, Logistics and Service Industries.