Dubai: Nour Al Falasi, a young Emirati girl who went to Antarctica on a student expedition, says she wanted to open doors for other Emirati women to seek out and achieve their passion in life.

Nour, a 17-year-old second year student at Zayed University, said she also aims to spread awareness and undertake research on the importance of protecting the environment and curbing the negative impact humans have on the environment.

She said it all started when her university invited two Canadian photographers who visited Antarctica to talk to students about their experience.

Nour, who is specialising in environmental health sciences, said she asked the phototgraphers if students could go to Antarctica as well.

"They told me about an organisation called Students on Ice, which is a student learning expedition to Antarctica and the Arctic. That was it for me," Nour said.

She needed a sponsor to enable her to go on the expedition and she approached her own university, who had sparked the interest she had and could make her dream a reality.

"I wanted to go to Antarctica ever since I was a kid to see penguins because I am fond of wildlife. This opportunity was a once in a lifetime," she said.

Nour said she invited her elder brother Jamal, who is also a student of environmental sciences at Sharjah University, to join her in the expedition.

Hard work

Jamal Al Falasi said, "I also had to find a sponsor ... and thankfully the Global Information Technology company sponsored my trip and I was also able to accompany my sister and accomplish our dream."

Nour said the trip was not only fun, but a lot of hard work and effort was also involved.

"We attended many lectures, workshops, naturalist seminars, and small group discussions. The programme also included shore landings, hikes, community visits, and ship-based exploration," she said.

Jamal said they are also considering going to the Arctic as part of another expedition.