The American University of Sharjah (AUS) is relatively young when compared with other successful universities around the world. Founded in 1997 it is young and still developing but old enough to have built up a reputation of academic excellence. The AUS offers something different when it comes to higher education and anyone interested in studying in the Persian Gulf should give this institution some careful consideration.
Experience authentic American education in the Gulf
The University of Sharjah has been purposefully modelled on American institutions of higher education due to the success and high reputation that they hold around the world. The AUS follows the same academic timetable as American universities with the same semesters and breaks. The teaching and learning are also based on the way that students in the US are taught.
What is on offer at AUS?
The university offers a wide range of courses to choose from with 26 major subjects and 52 minors, meaning there are hundreds of combinations that you could study. Whilst there is a wide choice there are also some focused subjects such as a mathematics degree, the American University of Sharjah science degree program, architecture, art and design and business administration.
There are also a range of 12 Masters degrees that can be studied across the colleges of Engineering, Business Administration, Arts and Science and Architecture, Art and Design. Once you have completed an undergraduate degree, continuing your education at the AUS is therefore a very real possibility.
Life in Sharjah
Studying isn't everything when it comes to choosing a university, most people produce better work if they are in a place that they enjoy. Sharjah has been called the ‘Cultural Capital of the United Arab Emirates' and so it is unsurprising that there is a wealth of art and history to soak up. Sports are also on offer in Sharjah with a cricket stadium and numerous football clubs to go along and support.
Life on Campus
Back on campus, life is very multicultural and both women and men attend the same classes. Whilst the number people from different cultures attending the university is high, the official language of AUS is English. Therefore, all classes with be taught in English and students will be expected to submit their work in English. However, all students can choose to learn Arabic language and culture, and what better place to do so than somewhere where the language can be practiced and the culture experienced daily.
Away from the books there is a lot going on. The AUS has 22 sports teams. 14 of these are available to male students and 8 for females as men and women do not participate in the same sports. There are also 35 clubs based on culture and 40 that are non-culture based, so there really is something for everyone to get involved in when they aren't studying.
Finding a university that ticks all the boxes can be difficult: looking further afield may be just the right thing for you. With the AUS there is no compromise on the quality of teaching and the experience of students will be similar to those attending university in the US. The advantage that the AUS has is that it combines excellent teaching with the diverse and captivating culture of the Gulf. Plus attending a campus that has been described as the ‘jewel of Sharjah' is certain to get anyone out of bed and into class.
Images by nheidenbluth and scui3asteveo used under Creative Commons License.
Ted Crane is a travelling lecturer in the Persian Gulf.