According to Ghada Athamnah, who joined Parsons nine years ago as a civil engineer supporting the infrastructure department in both gravity and pressurized networks in Dubai, some of the best things about living there are the many gorgeous parks and open spaces, the rising food scene, the diverse culture, the convenience, and the health care.

The health care is especially appreciated, because, Ghada says, her ten-year-old daughter, Sarah, has Down syndrome and, living in Dubai, has affordable access to speech therapy and a shadow teacher, which, along with the support provided by her loving family, has enabled her to thrive. “Every time I look at her, I realize how lucky I am. Dubai is one of the most progressive cities when it comes to supporting people with special needs and helps facilitate their lives, such as giving them priority in long queues and free park access.”

Another thing that Ghada really enjoys about living in Dubai are all the cycling opportunities available there. Cycling is actually the fastest-growing sport in the city, thanks to the crowned prince of Dubai, H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s, interest in biking. There’s a plethora of tracks available throughout the city, and something called “desert fat biking,” which means biking on the dunes, is also widely popular.

“When it’s not too hot out, I love going to the park to exercise or ride my bike. It’s a huge stress relief for me and affords me some much-needed personal time,” says Ghada. One of the parks she enjoys with her family is Al Barsha Pond Park. And another one, just one kilometer away from the Parsons office, in fact, is close enough that she can step out during lunch and take a stroll.

Just two months into her new role supporting the project management team, these walks provide a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of the office. Ghada may never have imagined herself as a civil or structural engineer when she was growing up, but it’s a career she’s grown to value. Once upon a time, Ghada, who’s the eldest of seven siblings and who’s always been a high achiever, imagined herself as a doctor, dentist, or pharmacist. But growing up in Jordan, her test scores were always off the charts, and a career in civil and structural engineering opened up for her, seemingly the best fit for her talents.

She graduated from the University of Jordan back in 2006 with a bachelor’s in civil engineering and technology and began her career by performing rainfall analyses for dams and feasibility studies in Engicon. She then went on to conduct site supervision for the National Electric Company, as a member of the civil department. Ghada eventually came to Parsons because, she says, “Parsons is a very well-known company, and working in such an organization enriches my experience.”

I love the professionalism of my environment and the collaboration of our team. I also love all the diversity in culture and skill sets our team offers each other and our clients.”

Ghada feels there’s nothing quite like living in Dubai. From the tallest building in the world—Burj Khalifa—to the bright lights and world-class technologies available, there’s only one way for a star like Ghada to go in a city that has it all—up.

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