Trading Culture: Have Western-Educated Emirati Females Gone Western?

11 Pages Posted: 23 Aug 2010

See all articles by Maher Khelifa

Maher Khelifa

Zayed University - Department of Humanities and Social Sciences

Date Written: August 22, 2010


The United Arab Emirates’ large Western expatriate workforce as well as the economic and global pressure for the use of English in education and the workplace have created a high demand for Western and Western-modeled schools and universities around the country. A large number of English-speaking schools and universities are currently available and cater equally for expatriate and Emirati students. Some universities and colleges adopting Western curricula are even fully funded by the government as in the case of Zayed University. Unlike their parents, many Emirati youth now follow Western curricula delivered in English by Western and Western-educated faculty, and are therefore heavily exposed to Western thought, ideals, values, and behaviors. The purpose of the study was to explore cultural changes in Emirati Muslim female university students as a result of their exposure to Western culture as they pursue their undergraduate education in a Western-modeled university in the United Arab Emirates. Findings showed that females are still anchored to their Arab-Islamic culture yet increasingly show a strong interest in Western lifestyles and English language use. Females’ shifts toward Westernization included alterations to traditional behaviors, attitudes, and an increased Western value orientation.

Keywords: Cultural Alienation, Cultural Identity Change, Emirati Muslim Female Undergraduate University Students, Western Curricula, Western-Modeled Undergraduate University Education

Suggested Citation

Khelifa, Maher, Trading Culture: Have Western-Educated Emirati Females Gone Western? (August 22, 2010). OIDA International Journal of Sustainable Development, Vol. 1, No. 3, pp. 19-29, 2010, Available at SSRN:

Maher Khelifa (Contact Author)

Zayed University - Department of Humanities and Social Sciences ( email )

College of Arts and Sciences
United Arab Emirates

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