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Tom Fisher

Bettendorf, Iowa
Finance major

What made you choose to study abroad in the United Arab Emirates?
One of my professors, Professor Jeff Kappen, is the reason I looked into going abroad. He showed me that I would be able to go and still graduate in four years, while also explaining how he thought his experiences abroad gave him a different view of the world. I spoke with him regularly, and when I decided that I should go to London and apply to the London School of Economics, he told me that I should think bigger. That is when I started looking at the Middle East. Dubai was the only choice for me, as it had more opportunity for employment and was safer than other locations. Professor Kappen actually came and visited me during my stay.

What was the most extraordinary thing about your time in the UAE?
I had the chance to work in Dubai three times a week with Mercer Middle East (I work with Mercer here in Des Moines as well). I worked at the Dubai International Financial Center, a very recognizable building. During these trips, I got to really appreciate everything that has been built in the country in the last 43 years. I saw the largest mall, the tallest building, and hundreds of other amazing buildings and world records. The architecture and advancement was extraordinary.

What lessons did you bring back with you?
My time abroad has opened up my mind on a lot of things. I look for both sides of a story now, rather than just taking the first side I hear as the appropriate or correct idea. Moving to an Islamic country from a strongly Christian country allowed me to see that sometimes, what the news says isn’t the full truth. I am much more open-minded today.