Making the most of studying abroad in Sharjah, UAE

When it comes to studying abroad in the United Arab Emirates, most people will look no further than Dubai or Abu Dhabi. However, a lot can be said for choosing the country’s third largest city instead.

Sharjah may well be a little bit more conservative than its glitzy and glamorous siblings, but this works to the city’s advantage. Here, you are much more likely to experience what life for UAE residents is really like, and how they interact in their own cultural norms. At the same time, you will still benefit from modern day conveniences and achieve a first-rate education.


Why study abroad

Before exploring what Sharjah has to offer, here are some of the main reasons why you should consider studying abroad in the first place.

  • Travel opportunities – During academic breaks and on the weekend, you will be free to explore your chosen city and the surrounding area.
  • Cultural experience – Get to know another culture by living and breathing its long-established customs and conventions on a daily basis.
  • Learn a language – Learning a new language can be a thoroughly rewarding and enjoyable experience, which will undoubtedly come in handy when entering the world of work.
  • Networking opportunities – In the future, you will have former classmates and lecturers to call upon when required.
  • Make new friends – Being away from home can be a testing endeavor, but by making new friends you will easily overcome any difficult times.

What to see and do in Sharjah

Seeing as UNESCO gave Sharjah the title of “Cultural Capital of the Arab World” in 1998, you can rest assured that there are plenty of attractions and activities to capitalize on here. The very best include:

  • Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization – Featuring handwritten Qur’ans, letters from the Prophet Muhammad and artifacts from Mecca, this museum provides an incredible insight into the Islamic faith.
  • Sharjah Desert Park – With access to The Arabia Wildlife Center, the Sharjah Natural History and Botanical Museum, and a Children’s Farm, this particular attraction is a must-visit for animal lovers.
  • Central Market (Blue Souq) – This is the biggest souq in Sharjah and the main shopping hub for the city’s residents. Central Market features over 600 stores selling everything from gifts and electronics to precious jewels.
  • Eye of Emirates – Located in Al Qasba, this large-scale Ferris wheel provides a 360-degree panoramic view of Sharjah, where you can see high-rise apartment blocks and skyscrapers standing alongside the city’s green parks and traditional mosques.
  • Al Hisn Fort – Lovingly restored by the current Sheikh, Al Hisn Fort dominates the city’s heritage district and provides a glimpse into the Emirates’ social history.

Where to study

There is no shortage of higher education institutions in Sharjah, but one university stands out in particular. Despite its inception less than 20 years ago, the American University of Sharjah (AUS) has quickly become a center for academic excellence.

A wide range of undergraduate programs are on offer in the fields of architecture, art, and design, arts and science, engineering, and business administration. However, the Engineering System Management (ESM) master’s degree is one of the most popular graduate courses at AUS.

So, with ample higher education opportunities and plenty of attractions to take advantage of, the culture-rich experience of studying abroad in Sharjah is difficult to beat.


Harry Hollis studied and worked in the UAE before coming back to USA to pursue his career in journalism. He currently lives in Boston with his wife and two children.



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