Robert includes high-SPF sunscreen and Polo shirts in his suitcase in preparation for a semester in Abu Dhabi.

I’m Robert Broman, a junior studying petroleum engineering at Mines. In eight days, I will be flying out to Abu Dhabi to begin a study abroad semester at The Petroleum Institute in Abu Dhabi. Obviously, I need to pack my bags, but this blog will probably be more interesting if I discuss some of the things on my mind instead of detailing which Polos I’m taking.

Now, many people have asked me why I’m off to the PI (Petroleum Institute) for a semester. Is it because I need a break from all of the partying that I do at Mines? Is it because I want to make sand angels instead of snow angels? Or maybe it’s because I want to try out living in a carbonate depositional environment as opposed to a siliciclastic one? Of course, the answer to all of these questions is yes, but they only scratch the surface of what piques my interest about having the chance to go to school in the UAE.

I’m excited to see how petroleum engineering classes are taught at the PI and to face the challenge of performing academically in a foreign environment. Learning about the Emirati culture and making new friends also have a prodigious amount of appeal. I also can’t wait to travel around the Arabian Peninsula. I think that my desire for the challenge and adventure of living in a foreign country is what made the choice to study abroad so easy. I like seeing how other people view the world, how other countries get things done and how my views compare to those of others. I lived in London for six years while growing up, and there was never a dull day. I am confident that living in Abu Dhabi will provide me with a similar environment for adventure.

Some of my closest friends and family have expressed some concerns about me going off to study in Abu Dhabi. For example, how will I protect my skin when I’m the palest person that they know? Well, with all of the SPF 50 sunscreen I just put in my suitcase, I’m all set! What about the fact that I don’t speak a word of Arabic? My response: Isn’t that what Rosetta Stone is for? It also can’t hurt that the classes at the PI are taught in English.

Overall, I can’t wait to head over and start living in Abu Dhabi! If you don’t mind though, I had better go and put some things other than Polos and sunscreen in my suitcase.