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United Arab Emirates

office of international programs

Overhead photograph of waterfall

Established in 1971, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a federation of seven emirates. The land of the modern Emirates has been inhabited for many thousands of years. Stone tools recovered from Jebel Faya in the emirate of Sharjah reveal a settlement of people from Africa some 127,000 years ago. Sharjah is the third largest emirate and important center of commerce and trade, as well as art and culture. The UAE has a highly diverse population, which is well represented among the student body of AUS, consisting of 90 nationalities. 

BC Semester and Academic Year Programs

BC students wishing to study in the UAE have the opportunity to enroll directly at the American University of Sharjah, a leading comprehensive coeducational university in the Gulf, which serves students from the region and around the world.


Speak to an OIP Advisor

In preparation for your study abroad in the UAE, you will work with a Boston College OIP Advisor who specializes in this country and in BC's programs there. Your advisor will help guide you through the application and pre-departure process, as well as act as your main contact with BC while abroad. For students studying abroad in the UAE, your advisor is Christina Hatzipetros. To schedule an appointment, please click here.


Currency in UAE

The main unit of currency in the UAE is the Dirham (AED). ATM's are widespread and are your best way to get local currency. It is important to remember that Dirhams and US dollars are not equal and students should consult a currency conversion calculator like the one below:

Current Events & News Resources

In preparation for your time in Sharjah, you should familiarize yourself with the current events and contemporary issues facing the United Arab Emirates. By knowing about your host country before you arrive, you are making yourself a more informed traveler, a more receptive student and a better-prepared individual. It is also helpful to know about your host country so you can pack correctly. Following these and other news sources will be of great value in preparing you for your time abroad.


Language & Customs

Arabic is the national language of the United Arab Emirates. The Gulf dialect of Arabic is spoken natively by the Emirati people. English is widely spoken and is the language of business and education.

Emirati Arabian culture has been influenced by the cultures of Persia, India, and East Africa. The list of museums in the United Arab Emirates includes some of regional repute, most famously Sharjah with its Heritage District containing 17 museums, which in 1998 was declared the Cultural Capital of the Arab World.

Emirati customs may be very different than many in the United States. It is best to familiarize yourself with acceptable practices before you arrive in the country. Some tips for successful cultural integration may be found here.

Visa Information

Upon acceptance to AUS, students will receive a pre-arrival guide detailing the process of applying for a visa. Students apply for a 1-yr residence visa and a UAE national ID. A blood test and chest x-ray are required for visa issuance, which must be done in-country.