Interviewee: Tala Makhoul
Interviewer: Melis Birgen
1) What is your average weekday and weekend like?
– How many hours per day do you go to school? From 8-5 on most days.
– How many hours do you have for yourself on weekdays&weekends? I have about a day to myself on the weekends, and another day to study depending on the exams I have that week.
2) Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Hopefully still alive and well. I’m still toying with the idea of being a lawyer, but I definitely will be working as a journalist/reporter in 5 years time.
3) What is your favorite thing you like about living in Abu Dhabi?
I live in Abu Dhabi, and to be honest there are quite a few things I like about living here. The first is the beach, which is divine and can be visited for about 8-9 months during the year; and the second is how easily accessible everything is. The city is small so you can get around in a really short amount of time. The last is the weather between October and February – it’s not that cold, but there’s a really light breeze that makes you feel wide awake in the mornings.
4) What do you dislike most about living in Abu Dhabi?
The lack of outdoor activities in the summer due to the incessant heat. The temperature hits 50 degrees sometimes and it’s unbearable during the summer.
5) What are students in Abu Dhabi most passionate about?
Living life to the fullest, at any cost.
6) What do studentsin Abu Dhabi know about Turkey and how do they view Turkish people?
They actually know quite a lot about Turkey, especially due to the Turkish shows and movies that have seeped into our Arab culture. Most people I know go and visit Turkey at least once or twice a year on vacation, and we have a relatively high percentage of Turkish people living in Abu Dhabi!
7) If someone were to visit Abu Dhabi, where would you recommend they visit first?
If you’re visiting during the summer, it’s best to go to the beach in the mornings and out on the town in the evenings; Emirates Palace is definitely a must-see, and so is the Tim Hortons that is opening soon in Mushrif Mall! November is the best time to visit, because the weather is very nice and there is a week-long festival in the second week of November for the Formula One races.
8) Any one interesting fact about life in Abu Dhabi?
What I find very interesting about Abu Dhabi is that there is a lot of safety. There’s no risk of getting mugged on the streets, and you can even stay out till late hours of the night without worrying about late-night prowlers. It’s a very safe city, and I doubt anyone living here harbors any harmful intentions towards others.
9) How is the education life in Abu Dhabi different from the Western education life? Which days of the week do you have school?
For me, it’s not that different. I go to a Lebanese school that is modeled after British/American schools – possibly the only difference is that they focus more on the sciences here than the arts. We go to school from Sunday to Thursday.
10)Are arts important in your school curriculum?
They’re important if you want to give them importance. The arts are really easy to get rid of, while the sciences are harder to shake. Still, with a bit of extra effort, arts could be a very important part of your school and everyday life.
11)Is there a huge difference between public schools and private schools or do public schools offer a good education for students?
I have no personal experience with government/public schools, having been in a private school since 1st grade, but I can say one thing for the Emirati government: they invest a lot of money into their citizens’ education. Money may not be the main determining factor of the standard of education, but it provides an indication about how educationally driven most of the students here are.