Learning about the world of Dubai
Second-year trainee Alayna Cullen sends a dispatch from Dubai as the Godolphin Flying Start course enters the home stretch
Having landed in our fifth country, Dubai, with Godolphin Flying Start many of us are marvelling at the tall buildings, the vibrant city and the fantastic racing community that has been built in a landscape that argued against such infrastructure.
Before landing in the desert metropolis my fellow trainees and I were afforded the opportunity to have a Christmas holiday that allowed many of us to travel home after a wonderful time in Australia.
Although I was glad to get home and see my friends and family, I was not so happy with the weather change I was welcomed by.
Having said that, it was an excellent time of year to be home with Christmas preparations to be done, the sight of pregnant mares with future hopes and dreams attached to their precious stomachs and plenty of food to be eaten, although the latter means I have been hitting the gym pretty hard since arriving in Dubai.
This down-time allowed us to take stock of how far we have come since August 2015, of the many astounding people we have been fortunate to meet and of the countless places we have seen, informative lectures we have had as well as thinking of the future.
The future is something of a daunting word as we prepare to enter the workforce, showcasing the skills we have learned in the specified field of the industry we hope to enter.
However, it brings with it great excitement and opportunity combined with the fact that we still have six months left to complete on Flying Start. Three months of that time will be spent in Dubai, the birthplace of Sheikh Mohammed, a man whose patronage we will never be done appreciating, and if the first week is anything to go by our time here is going to be something only dreams are made of.
We are calling the Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management (EAHM) home and, with views of the Burj Al Arab to greet us every morning, I think all of us have settled in quite nicely.
Aside from our great accommodation we have been touring the city with visits to the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding, the Burj Khalifa where the Bond nerds among us enjoyed a fantastic 007 exposition, the Burj Al Arab and the gold and spice souks.
Many of us are still perfecting the art of bargaining but I feel what we learned in the souks will have uses down the line. Learning about the culture of Dubai has given us a better understanding of the vision Sheikh Mohammed has for his homeland and this passion is audibly and truly shared by those who have made Dubai their home.
Aside from the cultural expeditions, we have visited Meydan Racecourse, which left all of us dragging our bottom jaws behind us, Zabeel Stables, Al Quoz Stables and the International Stables. We have meet amazing trainers such as Doug Watson, Mick De Kock, Saeed Bin Suroor and Satish Seemar to name a few and the above is only a summary of what we have been getting up to since arriving.
Looking ahead we will be spending the next few weeks completing modules in the EAHM which will be of benefit for us when we sit down to finalise our business plans.
After this we will be completing work placements and I am thrilled to be joining the teams at Al Quoz Godolphin and Dubai Racing Channel. We will also be attending each of the race meetings leading up to World Cup night as well as taking in racing at Al Ain with the prospect of some camel racing thrown into the mix.
The future is looming but for now I am going to enjoy Dubai, enjoy the opportunity and wonder associated with Godolphin Flying Start and make my family insanely jealous by sending them photos of what we are getting up to. With the applications now open for the 2017-2019 class I envy those of you who are applying - this course goes by quickly but the memories are steadfast.