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A melting pot of nationalities, language and cuisines, Dubai has a lot to offer trainees, writes Ashurst trainee Fatin Ibrahim
Fatin Ibrahim, Ashurst
Three weeks ago I packed my bags, said a temporary farewell to my friends and family in London and boarded my seven-hour flight.
I could never have been prepared for the wonder that is Dubai. Despite being affected by the recession, Dubai is once again buzzing with activity – it is a city that never sleeps. Emerging like a jewel from the desert, it is a city of contrasts, from its awe-inspiring skyscrapers – Burj Khalifa is the tallest in the world – to the traditional districts in Satwa and Karama, the city is rich in culture and fantastic (tax free) shopping. What’s more, with about 80 per cent of Dubai’s population made up of ex-pats, Dubai is a melting pot of nationalities, languages and cuisines.
The group of trainees out here represents law firms from across the city. The trainees are a sociable bunch and there are always people up for a spontaneous night out, providing great opportunities to explore the city. One of the highlights so far has been attending a famous ‘Dubai Brunch’, which is usually hosted in different hotels across the city and lasts about four hours. Food and drink is all included for a fixed price, making it a surreal but fun start to the weekend. A word to the wise: it is not advisable to make this a regular event, unless you want to test whether the ‘Dubai Stone’ is a myth.
Since arriving I’ve worked on a few different projects. The work is mainly on energy (oil, gas and renewables) and infrastructure. So far I’ve assisted on corporate set-up work and on the Dubai Metro project. I’ve had the opportunity to work with local counsel in Kuwait, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Hungary and Australia as well as within the UAE. Working alongside such dynamic and interesting people has been a fantastic experience.
Dubai’s conservative society exists side by side with a Westernised liberal environment, which at times can feel strange. But as long as you respect the local rules and customs, it’s a fantastic place to be. To me, Dubai is a city that beats the odds and reconciles the seemingly incongruous. I can’t wait for my friends and family to visit so I can show them everything this amazing city has to offer.