Study abroad program offers glimpse of new society

A revamped study abroad program in Dubai is offering students a taste of Middle Eastern culture, cuisine and history along with a dash of Hollywood glitter.

ASU in Dubai: Exploring Culture is a spring program directed by Mirna Lattouf, a senior lecturer at ASU’s School of Letters and Sciences. Program participants will explore traditions vs. modernization and Arab Islamic integration with the world, as well as witness some spectacular buildings and landscapes used in major Hollywood movies.

“Dubai has become world renowned for its innovation, including creative real estate projects, sporting events, conferences, a business and tourism hub, the playground of the rich and famous, and now, Hollywood-style productions,” Lattouf said.

This past holiday season, audiences gasped when Tom Cruise scaled the outside of the Burj, a 240-story skyscraper prominently featured in the film "Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol." Other movies filmed in Dubai include "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps" (2010) and "Body of Lies" (2008). Kanye West is currently scouting locations in Dubai for an upcoming feature film.

A two-hour information session for the study abroad program is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m., Feb. 15, in room 361 of UCENT, located at 411 N. Central Ave.

The actual study abroad program starts May 6-17, 2012, followed by an online course.

Dubai is one of seven states that comprise the United Arab Emirates and is situated in the southeast of the Arab Peninsula on the Persian Gulf. The states are rich in oil and natural gas and have become highly prosperous, especially the Emirate of Dubai. The most populous and second largest emirate, Dubai has become world famous.  

“This is a priceless opportunity for our students to see what the future holds because Dubai is the vanguard of what a new society will look like,” Lattouf says. “Students get to live, observe and engage in this society rather than theoretically study about Dubai in a far-away classroom.”

Courses that students take in Dubai are offered in Religious Studies and Interdisciplinary Studies, and are designed to fulfill requirements of students majoring and minoring in various programs.

For program details, including costs, travel arrangements, hotel accommodations, and credits, contact Lattouf at