Since it began in 2006, the Dubai Summer Surprises (DSS) shopping festival has annually hosted an apprenticeship competition, which allows Arab students to compete for an opportunity to work with organisers of the event. For the first time this year, Palestinian students were invited to apply.
"The thinking behind initiating such a programme was driven by the direction of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to share success with our Arab brothers, to provide know-how and knowledge and to help achieve further success in their own countries." Khadija Turki, a senior manager at DSS, explained. This year, the competition consisted of writing an essay in which the students were asked to discuss how they would promote DSS in their local niche.
The internship included spending two weeks discovering Dubai, visiting malls, historical sites and places of importance in the city. The students also went through essential training by participating in leadership workshops and developing marketing and business skills by working with DSS organisers. Apart from developing skills and experiencing the corporate world, the internship also provided the students with the opportunity to bridge cultural gaps and share ideas.
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Bader Jaffer Ali, who won a place as the UAE representative, said: "I had the opportunity to bond with other students and there was a lot of cultural bridging. We shared each other's cultures and understood each other better."
For Bader, who is studying tourism and event management the internship was an invaluable opportunity to share ideas with fellow students in the region. It also helped him in his education and career path, he said.
"I see myself taking on a leadership role and the internship at DSS helped me get closer to my goal. It benefited my tourism education as I learned with hands-on experience how Dubai, one of the most famous tourist spots in the world, targets and caters to tourists."