I am in 11th grade at a school in Dubai. I would like to pursue a career in fashion designing. What are the courses I can do after 12th grade and which is the best place to do it from? Are there colleges in Dubai that offer these courses?
Deepika, Dubai

Fashion design is a field that involves creativity, imagination and aesthetics, all of which are influenced by culture and the environment. Designers need to identify and interpret customer needs and anticipate trends. There are various universities that offer the course and a good college counsellor would be able to direct you to specialised universities that have faculties from the trade and industry thereby helping you network and learn from experienced fashion designers themselves. Schools in Europe would be worth exploring as some may offer short courses too. These schools would help in getting you internships, which is needed in this field.

I was recently introduced to a school in Europe offering unique and exciting degrees in e-retailing, retail management, fashion business, e-fashion, fashion and luxury brand management, fashion photography and fashion marketing and production. Many of my students ask about fashion designing without understanding the related industries they could be a part of which also call for as much creativity. Some jobs related to the industry are costume designer, personal stylist (all stars have one!), fashion illustrator, fashion writer, fashion buyer to name some. 

My daughter has just completed her Grade 12 (A levels). Please advise as to what are her options if she wants to pursue a BSc in biology, biochemistry or biotechnology. She wants to continue with the British curriculum, which presents her with a three-year degree course as opposed to the American curriculum which is for four years. Also, which are the best places in Dubai and Abu Dhabi where she can do her higher studies?
Riaz Jeelani, Abu Dhabi 

At the outset, I think it is important to know what each discipline you have mentioned entails. Biochemistry includes sciences of molecular biology, immunochemistry, neurochemistry, biophysical chemistry, etc. Biochemistry may be applied to medicine, dentistry and veterinary medicine. Scientists research on developing more sources of nutritious foods and how to extract nutrients from waste products. Some other areas scientists are working on are ways to prolong the shelf life of food products, studying how herbicides interact with plants, studying diagnosis and therapy of disease and health. Biotechnology is the use of organisms to create products. It is used to learn about diseases and help with the development of medicines. We now use it in DNA and gene-related studies and to discover new things about the basis of life.

Having pursued the British curriculum, it would be relatively simple for your daughter to gain admission in the UK and the options she gets there are far higher than available locally. The decision to study in the UAE or go overseas is not only academic but also a holistic decision influenced by various non-academic factors including cost, career prospects and family ties.

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Sanjeev Verma began his career with Ernst & Young before moving on to set up the Gulf operations of IDP Education Pty. He now leads Intelligent Partners in Dubai developing a wide range of solutions in areas of international education. Ask him a question by emailing