ABU DHABI // More than 40 universities from across the globe have given about 2,000 local youths a taste of the future at an open day in the capital this week.
The public and private-school pupils, aged between 16 and 19, talked to university representatives about courses they would like to pursue, educational benefits and costs.
There was information on courses such as medicine, business, filmmaking, architecture, law, hotel management and engineering under one roof at Al Nahda National School for Girls on Monday.
"I was interested in seeing all the various international business-management courses available because I am thinking of pursuing a career either in entrepreneurship, marketing or business management," said Hasith Samitha, 17, from Al Nahda National School for Boys, who plans to study overseas.
"I plan to go to Malaysia because it basically has the best two offers in terms of cost, in terms of living expenses and in terms of good-quality education."
The Egyptian pupil Lara Rajab, 17, from Al Nahda National School for Girls, wants to study dentistry or medicine in her native country.
"It is so amazing because it is collecting all the universities in one place so we can see each university and what are the requirements," Lara said. "It is also saving time. We are proud that our school is bringing this fair to one place so we can ask and have more information."
There were representatives from UAE universities and foreign institutions with campuses in the country.
International universities represented included some from the UK, Malaysia, Canada, Australia, Germany, Switzerland and the US.
"The success of this event goes to the heart of what students are like in this day and age, in that they really seek out information and want to learn about what opportunities are available from a wide range of different resources," said Amy Simmons, director of Al Nahda National School for Girls.
"Of course, they use the internet, they will ask their teachers, they will ask their guidance counsellor in the school, but they really want to hear it first-hand, and to provide them with this opportunity has been really exciting for the students, and beneficial.
"The students don't identify for themselves any boundaries and they seek out opportunities and career paths that are going to take them to educational institutions all over the world."
Suzanne Ryan, director of admissions and marketing at International Horizons College in Dubai, said there was a great deal of interest in studying in the US.
"Historically, the US has a reputation for exceptionally high quality education in all of our more than 4,600 accredited colleges and universities," Ms Ryan said.
"Emirati students traditionally have loved business. US education provides hundreds of choices in degrees, so I have noticed over the last few years that we are now getting questions about, 'I would like a law degree, international studies, I want journalism, creative writing.'
"These students are now very tuned in to the world. This is the Facebook generation.
"They can go on any Facebook page from any US university and have contact with students there, contact with professors - they can ask the questions. They can really own the world now."