When my Operations Director Claire asked me if I would like to attend the GESS Show in Dubai with her in March, I didn’t hesitate to say yes, combined with a bit of jumping up and down and being very giddy.
What an experience and opportunity this was for me, especially as Dubai was on my bucket list!
We had a couple of months to plan and get everything booked so Team Focus worked very hard to get this done in time. We wanted to get our name out to international schools who needed help.
Claire and I had a very early start on Sunday 25th March getting picked up at 3:45.
From the view looking down on Dubai from the plane before landing, I just knew I was going to love Dubai.
The journey from the airport to the hotel and the view from the hotel, confirmed that I definitely wanted to see more of Dubai, and would love to return one day with my hubby, Mick.
On our first day in Dubai we had a stressful time waiting for our book display to arrive, it was stuck with the courier in customs which was a nightmare! Luckily the Dubai World Trade Centre where the exhibition was being held was open late and a lovely man offered to take us to customs to collect our bags so we finally managed to start setting the stand up at 8p.m.
This is how the stand looked before we started!
After lots of hard work our stand looked very colourful and we were really pleased with the finished result. Even though our stand was small, we got lovely comments from other stands that ours stood out from the crowd.
First day of GESS Dubai
We tweeted this photo of Claire and I on our way to the Dubai World Trade Centre for the first day of GESS.
Our staff sent this photo back to us of the office – what a difference! We had temperatures of 28˚C whereas the office had temperatures of 2˚C.
The first day of GESS went really well, and we had lots of people visiting our Stand. We were looking for International schools using the British Curriculum to introduce our product range to their schools. We joined BSME (British Schools in the Middle East) and COBIS (Council of British International Schools) so we could reach more international schools and this exhibition was our starting point.
In the evening we were at a networking event at a local Irish Bar, where we met lots of other exhibitors including our one of our partner companies Otrack.
Seeing the sites
Throughout the trip Claire offered to show me some of the sites since she has visited Dubai for the last 3 years on holiday. We arrived at the Mall just in time to see the Dubai Mall Water Fountain show, which was amazing to watch and listen to the music. Claire and I both had lumps in our throats as it was very moving. Our next stop was at the cheesecake factory, where we shared a salted caramel cheesecake, which was delicious, but very big! You can see the aquarium that runs through the Mall whilst you are actually eating! Our next adventure was Madinat Hotel, where Claire had stayed with her family last year. This hotel was stunning, and Claire even got us a ride on a little boat back to the hotel reception.
GESS went really well and we both thoroughly enjoyed meeting lots of new friends and exhibitors. It really was an interesting start to us working with international schools.
We definitely worked hard, but made sure we laughed every day, we were so busy we even missed the Prince of Dubai and his entourage as they walked straight past our stand.
It was an amazing opportunity, and hopefully we will get to work with International and British Schools in the future.
Continue the Conversation
For more information on our international services, please click here. Find my Twitter here or find our main Twitter page here, or get in touch with the Focus Education office on 01457 821 818. If you are an international school and you would like a consultant to support you in your school, please head to our International Consultancy page.
Elaine Carr is Focus Educations Office Manager and PA.