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This paper highlights key issues involved in preparing students for an engineering program in the United Arab Emirates. These students often enter the program with a limited knowledge of English and science. However, many of the challenges that they face in the course of their studies are attributable to a lack of appropriate training in non-technical skills. The paper shows how the integration of content-based instruction and interdisciplinary project-based learning can be used to enhance the acquisition of English and, at the same time, enhance other non-technical skills. This approach gives the students an early insight into the disciplinary topics covered by the university. This head start helps students make both ends meet: they achieve the required language proficiency while bolstering their content knowledge. The result of this research shows that although this method of teaching might not have been initially favored by all students and faculty, the benefits are clearly agreed upon by all parties.