12 Months, 12 Memories: My First Year in Dubai

Burj Khalifa in Dubai

On September 8, 2014 I opened for Lady Gaga. Well, not exactly: I landed in Dubai, UAE a few hours before Lady Gaga also arrived in Dubai for a concert at the Meydan Racecourse (on September 10). And so began my expat adventure as a full-time business professor.

In the 12 months since I have exponentially grown personally and developed professionally. While I had previously traveled internationally, my experience was limited mostly to short trips to a handful of countries. Those early overseas trips certainly exposed me to a more global perspective, but living overseas has allowed me to experience a different mindset entirely. Embracing the unknown was challenging, but, ultimately, rewarding.

As a lifelong learner, living and working overseas has been especially refreshing and rewarding. What better way to continuously learn than by putting yourself in a totally foreign situation and challenging yourself to adapt? To celebrate my first year as an expat, below I have shared one memory from each month — technically there are 13 memories, but consider the inclusion of September 2015 as one extra for good luck!

  • September 2014: Began teaching undergraduate business courses at Jumeira University.
  • October 2014: Celebrated Halloween by taking a dhow cruise on the Dubai Creek.
  • November 2014: Visited to the 148th floor observation deck of the Burj Khalifa (555.7 meters high)!
  • December 2014: Experienced my first desert safari on UAE National Day.
  • January 2015: Drove to Abu Dhabi and experienced Ferrari World and the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.
  • February 2015:  Traveled to nearby Oman for a short visit with friends.
  • March 2015: Attended the First International Conference on Sports Management and Sports Law.
  • April 2015:  Visited Los Angeles and went to the Dodgers opening day game with my son.
  • May 2015: Published my first book, “edX E-Learning Course Development” via Packt Publishing.
  • June 2015: Supported the Commemorative Air Force’s restoration of C-47 “That’s All, Brother.”
  • July 2015: Began teaching one part time marketing course at American University in the Emirates (AUE).
  • August 2015: Drove to Al Ain, the second largest city in Abu Dhabi and the fourth largest city in UAE.
  • September 2015: Began teaching marketing and management courses full-time at AUE.

The past 12 months have been a great adventure; I’m looking forward to the next 12 months!


#ExpatAdventure #PersonalGrowth #ProfessionalDevelopment #LivingOverseas #GlobalPerspective #LifelongLearning #ForeignExperience #NewMindset #MemoriesAbroad #TeachingAbroad #TravelAdventures #CareerJourney #OneYearAbroad #NewBeginnings #LifeAbroad #AdaptingAbroad

Matthew A. Gilbert, MBA, is a marketing lecturer at Coastal Carolina University, where he teaches advertising, consumer behavior, personal selling, and principles of marketing courses. Research-oriented, he focuses on artificial intelligence, the sharing economy, and social media, with a burgeoning interest in sports marketing. He also facilitates professional development workshops and has delivered three TEDx Talks. As a consultant, he crafts marketing content, creates business curriculum, and composes professional communications.