January 2012

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For about two weeks I studied abroad in Dubai. It was winter break of the 2009-2010 school year and the trip included environmental, design and journalism students who rang the new year in together on a beach with expatriots from around the world.

Through the whole trip, one image dominated – literally. Even when we couldn’t see the tallest building in the world, we were surrounded by reminders. From the scale Lego model at Dubai World to the gift shop postcards and newspaper headlines, it was everywhere.

We couldn’t wait for the January 4th opening and a chance see the view from the top. We knew it would be spectacular – and we weren’t disappointed. From big lights to big noises, the event had everything. There was even the twist of a last minute name change from Burj Dubai to Burj khalifa.

What I didn’t expect were the little things – the individual voices and faces that made up the crowds pooling in streets and courtyards all over Dubai to gaze upwards together and form something even greater than the fireworks.

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