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Washington State University
Dividend - Fall 2023 Features

Dubai Study Abroad and Internship Empower Multiple Career Aspirations

By Sue McMurray

Sala Moreno
Courtesy Sala Moreno
Airplane pilot, automotive enhancement entrepreneur, Airbnb owner, and Interpol officer: these are just some of Sala Moreno’s professional interests. For a person contemplating so many career paths, Moreno has a solid plan for succeeding at any of them.

Moreno took classes at Boise State University but ultimately decided the WSU Carson College of Business was the best place for him to study international business, a direction that would develop his global business perspective and open unique career opportunities. His love for travel has already taken him to 23 countries, including Dubai.

In his junior year, Dubai’s “wow factor,” coupled with scholarship support, inspired him to study abroad there for a week at the Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management. Dipra Jha, assistant director of the WSU School of Hospitality Business Management, developed and launched the Dubai study abroad program in 2022.

Taking the road less traveled

“I always knew I wanted to lean into new experiences, and I pride myself on taking the road less traveled. Dubai is currently the pinnacle of success for hospitality and international business, but it’s not yet a familiar option for many American students,” Moreno says. “Experiencing business at the highest level, paired with the opportunity to trailblaze this program for future students, made it feel like the right option for me.”

During his senior year, Moreno returned to the Emirates Academy, spending six months developing a portfolio of business skills that will support anything he chooses to do professionally. Following that, he accepted a six-month internship at the Jumeirah Al Qasr luxury resort in Dubai.

“I don’t know another place in the world where I can spend time off on a yacht without breaking the bank. For some people here, that is just your average weekend,” he says.

Internship hones versatile business skills

Dubai’s exploding business opportunities draw some of the world’s most ambitious and successful CEOs, entrepreneurs, and other executives. Moreno soon found himself working alongside them.

His duties as a human resource/learning and development intern included data entry and overseeing the hotel’s employee learning app and related questions. He launched the hotel’s Yammer program, which is like Facebook for companies.

“We used it to make our hotel more competitive by posting about our exciting educational and other opportunities,” he explains. He also helped implement new corporate training and was heavily involved in onboarding processes.

“The most valuable skills I developed in my program were marketing, sales, customer service, communication, and negotiation—as the Arabic culture is to negotiate everything,” he says. “Leadership, networking, problem-solving, delegation, time management, and project management were paramount to my internship.”

Moreno attended WSU commencement ceremonies in May, then returned to Dubai to finish his internship. His plans for the future are wide open.

“With international business being so broad and versatile, I don’t want to be limited to just one field but instead try a few things out in life,” he says. “I regularly seek out challenges in my personal and professional life and pursue diverse opportunities. Ultimately, I want to make my money work for me, not work for my money.”