Elham Bolooki is a 23-year-old UAE native, and Nina Badri is a 27-year-old Iranian who was born and raised in Sweden. Though these women have very different backgrounds, both of them found their way to studying and completing degrees at the prestigious Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management (EAHM) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

EAHM is the very first hospitality school in the Middle East that offers internationally recognised degree-level courses. The school has 300 students hailing from 60 different countries, highly-qualified faculty members, world-class facilities and enviable partnerships and networks with the global hotel industry. Learn more about Elham and Nina’s experience of studying at EAHM, one of the top hotel schools in the world.

EAHM

Choosing Home Over the United States

Before Elham Bolooki completed her Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from the Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management, she studied at a private school in her hometown of Dubai, UAE.  

Elham tells us that upon her high school graduation, her heart was initially set on studying Musical Theatre in the United States. Her aspirations took a turn, however, when her scholarship did not come through in time for her first semester. Elham’s sister, an alumnus of EAHM, convinced her to join the Academy and to give it a try. In a twist of fate, Elham received her scholarship for the United States soon after beginning her courses at EAHM. By this point, she had already begun her operational classes at the Academy and found she was really enjoying the courses. “I had a new-found love and respect for hotel operations and I genuinely did not want to abandon the Academy, so I decided to stay,” explains Elham.

After completing her undergraduate studies, Elham also earned her Master’s degree from the Emirates Academy.

EAHM

Finding a New Challenge

Before moving to Dubai, Nina had only ever lived, studied and worked in Sweden. After her high school graduation, she worked for three years at an event company before deciding to go back to school to attain her Bachelor’s degree.

Nina decided she wanted to study a combination of business and hospitality, so she began researching institutes and programs around the world. “I needed a new challenge - a change,” she says. “My brother had just moved to Dubai, so I went to visit him and fell in love with the city. He recommended Emirates Academy to me as it was part of the Jumeirah Group, where he was working.”

Nina went on to complete her Bachelor’s Degree in Hospitality Business Management at EAHM. “One of the main reasons I chose Emirates Academy was that the program offers insight into both the theoretical and the practical side of the hospitality industry.” She explains that there is a mandatory 6 month internship required to complete your degree at EAHM; it is through this internship that students receive vital experience and education in a real work environment.

Nina completed her internship in the Maldives at the Jumeirah Dhevanafushi Hotel. “The internship period is when many students decide what department or specialty they would like to work in after graduation. In addition, the internship aids students in choosing topics for their final dissertation assignment before graduating,” she says.

EAHM

Adjusting to Emirates Academy

Starting at a new school always has its struggles, even for those who do not travel overseas. Elham comments, “My greatest adjustment was doing the full time fast-track programme. We had a minimum of 15 credits every trimester and I found that it was designed to really challenge and prepare the students for the real world.”

Nina’s situation, on the other hand, was slightly different upon enrolling in Emirates Academy. She comments on the experience, “It’s always difficult to leave your comfort zone - your family and friends - for something unknown. However, coming to EAHM was one of my best decisions, as I have made unforgettable memories and friends throughout my time here. It’s important to understand that the majority of the students that you meet at the Academy are in the same position as you, so everyone is very open-minded and supports each other throughout the years.”

Student Life at EAHM

Elham, whose family lives in the UAE, comments on her situation, “Luckily, my parents decided that since I hadn’t moved abroad, they would still allow me to develop my independence through having a dorm room on campus.” Elham was a part of the Student Council and became involved in many activities at school. She met many people from all around the world and together, they created an international community on campus. “We particularly enjoyed sitting at the Pool Bar together listening to music, Shawarma Thursdays, long drives, and late night movies. I enjoyed being involved in orientations and sharing information about the UAE culture and the Academy that allowed me to show new students that it is very easy to adapt in Dubai,” she says.

Nina concurs about the welcoming environment at EAHM, “I never experienced difficulty in finding friends in the Academy. It’s a great place to meet people from all over the world and gain knowledge from various cultures and countries. Another advantage is the location of the Academy – it is in a central location in Dubai and it’s easy to get around the city.”

EAHM

Where Are They Now?

Elham is currently working as Operations Manager in an elite programme designed for Emiratis within the Jumeirah Group called ‘The Future Leader Programme’. The programme allows students to experience working in all areas of a hotel, in both operational and support departments, for a maximum of 5 years. As part of this program, she is working with Jumeirah Al Naseem’s pre-opening team. She has currently been placed in the Rooms Division, but is moving into the Food and Beverage department as of January 2017.

Nina worked part time during her studies at events held by the Jumeirah Group where students are paid by the hour to support their serviced events. After submitting her dissertation, she joined Burj Al Arab as a Marketing Communications Executive and just over a year later, she was promoted to Assistant Manager - PR & Communications for the Dubai Commercial Cluster in Jumeirah Group.

The Jumeirah Group Connection

The Emirates Academy’s relationship with Jumeirah Group is held in high regard by the students. Elham recalls, “Many colleagues of mine said that they decided to join the Academy due to the connection to Jumeirah Group. I helped plan many career fairs where colleagues from Jumeirah Group would conduct on-the-spot interviews and hire interns, and even full time staff directly at the event.

“The connection has great advantages,” says Nina, “as all Jumeirah Properties value the hospitality education the students are receiving at the Emirates Academy. Their collaboration is viewed as a future investment in new talent and team members.”

EAHM

EAHM - The Best First Step

International students will be extremely pleased by the education and experience they receive at Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management. The majority of the students have travelled overseas to attend the institution, so new experiences are shared together between students. Academic standards are internationally recognised and surpass all expectations. The mix of regular classes and hands-on experiences are a stand-out feature of the Academy, and the school curriculum encourages students to research and stay up-to-date with industry trends. Elham says, “Students at the Academy are so professional and disciplined that they are consistently chosen by major companies for part-time jobs and internships that often develop into full time careers.”

The advantages of studying at Emirates Academy are many. “Being a part of this industry, and in a booming city such as Dubai, allows students to seize the very best opportunities. Additionally, students have the opportunity to develop with the industry rather than going through an extremely traditional way of schooling that could limit their innovative talents,” explains Elham.  

Nina agrees, saying, “Dubai is an amazing, key location in the world at the moment, with a great focus on the hospitality industry. The city offers ample exposure to the sector and Emirates Academy is the ideal place to begin your ascent in the world of hospitality.”

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