I thought that I’d start off this blog post by providing a bit more information about what it’s like to be a student at the PI, just in case some of you thought that we’ve not been working hard enough during our time in the UAE.

The PI was founded in 2001 by ADNOC (Abu Dhabi National Oil Company) as an engineering school. The formation of a school associated with an oil and gas company meant that Emiratis would not have to attend other universities across the world to pursue higher education in fields such as petroleum engineering and petroleum geophysics. The decision to promote home-grown engineers also reflects the country’s desire to increase the prestige and quality of its education. The student body hails from a wide variety of countries, including the UAE, other states around the Arabian Gulf, Egypt, Syria, India, Bangladesh, Sudan and China.

Colorado School of Mines was selected by ADNOC to help develop the curriculum at the PI. The curriculum has many similarities and several professors from Mines have had input on how classes are taught at the PI. Due to the relationship that exists between CSM and the PI, it makes sense that a student exchange program for undergraduates should exist. Until this semester, that program had not been started, thus, Cliff, Ian and I are the first Americans and the first exchange students to attend the PI.

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The PI is still in its infancy when compared to most other institutions across the world, and it is pretty interesting to see how the school is forming. Itís in the process of creating school clubs, intercollegiate sports teams, intramural teams, a school song, and essentially all of the other things that come with school spirit. This also provides an opportunity for us to share some of our culture with the students here because no one does school spirit as well as American schools! Ian and I are always wearing our PI rubber wrist bands that were handed out at the start of the semester as well as getting everyone pumped up for intramurals, and I think Cliff is devising the English version of the school’s fight song.