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Senior Broadens Horizons during Winter Break Trip to Dubai

Provided By Kennedy Montgomery

Payten Boyd, Staff Writer

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As he walked into the five-star hotel, he was surrounded by columns implanted with gold from the ground up. Looking outside he sees unique, sky-high buildings and beautiful blue waters as far as the eye can see.

Senior Kennedy Montgomery and his mom spent winter break in Dubai, as part of his graduation gift. The two left on Dec. 18, and visited for nine days.

“It’s (Dubai) a really nice, historical place,” he said. “They have the largest buildings, the clearest water and it’s just a really lavish, extravagant place to vacation.”

The family stayed at the Jumeirah Emirates Towers.

“Dubai is known as the city of gold, so everything in the hotel was luxurious,” he said. “It was very top notch.”

They visited different tourist attractions like Ferrari Land, Abu Dubai and the desert on the Arabian Sea.

“I really enjoyed the desert,” he said. “They had a camp ground that included fire dancers, Brazilian belly dancers, camels, horses and falcons.”

Montgomery’s favorite stop, however, was the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, a Muslim prayer house.

“Entering the mosque was a very invigorating experience,” he said. “It’s a sacred place, so going in I automatically got a better understanding of life. I felt like my spirit was enhanced.”

With this experience, Montgomery said he gained a new perspective of the world.

“I was able to witness how different people unite together,” he said. “It’s amazing that no matter what the religion there’s that sense of unity. No one person is an island, but we are all a sea of humanity.”

To assimilate, Montgomery and his mom wore traditional clothing.

“We did it to embrace the culture while I was there,” he said. “They recommend it when you’re there to be a part of the experience and to make things fun.”

Adjusting to the new outfits was odd at first, Montgomery said.

“People thought that we were Middle-Eastern, so they started speaking to us in Arabic,” he said. “I just smiled and said ‘as-salaam alaykum’, which is a common Arabic greeting that means ‘peace be upon you’.”

Montgomery’s mother had to dress conservatively in order to respect the city’s rules.

“You couldn’t have any outstanding nudity,” he said. “When we went to the mosque, she had to cover her arms and legs for modesty.”

On this trip, Montgomery said he was able to learn more about the Islamic religion.

“In school they teach you a lot about the religion, however, they don’t tell you how it is in application and how the religion goes along with daily life,” he said.

He said he was also able to actually see the way women are viewed in other countries.

“They (women) aren’t frowned upon, they are more so protected as sacred jewels,” he said. “You can’t believe everything the media says. Sometimes you have to actually visit a place to find out for yourself.”

Montgomery said that he is very grateful for the opportunity to travel.

“I understand that many people don’t receive such gracious and magnificent opportunities, such as the one I was given,” he said. “That’s why I believe it was a blessing.”

He said he was happy to be able to enjoy this trip with his mom.

“It was an amazing bonding experience and a great way to expand our world view together,” he said.

This experience is a memory Montgomery will never forget, he said.

“This trip was very eye-opening and life-altering,” he said. “It enhanced my spirit, mind and body. Being exposed to a different setting with new people opened my heart and made me feel closer to the world.”

Montgomery believes that if given the opportunity, people should visit the city.

“It will change your life and with exposure comes growth and with growth comes self-discovery,” he said. “I believe that’s what life is all about.”

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Senior Broadens Horizons during Winter Break Trip to Dubai