Zayed University is organising a one-week trip to Disney World in Orlando, Florida for 20 UAE national female students from the College of Business Sciences as part of an internship strategy called The Sorouh Travel and Tourism Business Management Course.

The course provides hands-on experience in understanding the complexities and nuances of the travel and tourism industry. It addresses the organisational creativity, people management and leadership skills that are required to excel.

About the trip

Students are due to travel on January 14 and will return on January 25. They will be assisted by Jon Mayo, Business Sciences and Supervisor of the project and trip. "I have chosen to approach the Walt Disney Corporation because it is a renowned leader in offering tourism business management training through their training division: The Disney Institute.

The course will be offered to 20 senior year students and alumni as part of a 10- week curriculum of the college."

The course will have two parts: a trip to Orlando and an intensive three-and-a-half-day programme by the Disney Institute. Upon their return to the UAE, the students will build upon the travel experience with emphasis on of the concepts experienced during the trip.

Students speak

One of the students, 23-year-old Khaloud Hassan Ali a finance student will graduate from Zayed University next June and is working in First Gulf Bank.

Ali tells Notes that she is excited about the upcoming trip and sees it as an encouraging step to learning more about the outside world, adding to one's management and creative thinking.

"It's an amazing experience to be given the opportunity to study the history of Walt Disney World, which is one of the most important destinations in the world. I'm interested in learning things about Walt Disney himself, how he managed to create this outstanding premises and what it takes to be this successful. I have already prepared questions for the faculty members in the Disney Institution regarding the management style and motto."

Hind Falasi, 20, Business Finance Graduate, decided to take the same course because she felt it was an opportunity to be exposed to more knowledge and a different culture.

"This is the first time I am travelling abroad; I have not built up any expectations so as not to get too excited. I'm currently working as a Financial Analyst in the Abu Dhabi Investment Company (ADEC) and this trip will set my standards right. If there is any other career I would like to pursue the path will be clearer for me."

Vice President of the Business Council Khadija Omar studies Business Finance and is due to graduate in June. Her GPA is 3.5 and she's devoted to improving the grade before graduation. She also feels the upcoming trip is exciting and a new learning experience for her since it will be the first time she is travelling alone.

"My parents were very understanding about me travelling on this trip. We are nine children in the family, five girls and four brothers, and they give us all the right to be ourselves and express our individuality. They know that this is an elective course and that I will be accompanied by faculty members and students, and that encouraged them to agree that I join the group. I can't wait to go," added Omar.

Najood Nasser, 21, is studying Human Resources. She will graduate in fall 2009 and is also taking the 10-week course.

Nasser was recently involved in collecting donations worth Dh25 million in less than one week to build a school for children with special needs between the ages of six and 18. The campaign was called Donate A Brick.

Apart from her ongoing humanitarian activities, she works with Etihad Airways as a Call Centre Agent. "Working as a Call Centre Agent is an experience for me to learn more about employees around me. It will not be too tough since I will work from 4 to 9pm and only have three courses to study alongside. It is my nature to keep myself busy," said Nasser.

One of the initiators of the trip

Laila Hassan, President of the Business Council, is due to graduate next June. She has a GPA of 3.5 and was one of the initiators of the Disney trip by approaching the sponsor for the trip. "I had a list of companies to visit and I was fortunate that Sorouh Real Estate was already willing to sponsor a student related activity. I have travelled to countries across the GCC region, but never beyond. I expect to learn a lot from this experience and it will help all of us to move forward and be more creative."

Hassan plans to continue her studies by doing her masters degree in Boston in International Business Relations. She feels travelling to Orlando was just a first step along her academic path.

"These girls are very bright and they are the future of the UAE. It's a joy to teach them. The main reason why this Orlando trip is taking place is because the faculty members believe that travelling is a vital hands-on experience. It will widen their scope and help them reach their goals faster. They are hard working women and I am sure that many more trip requests will follow this one. We plan to organise a trip for them to Tokyo, since relations between the UAE and Japan go far back and are vital for them to understand," added Professor Mayo.