Doha, Qatar – 8October 2011: Eager to chart the course for their future , over 1,500 high school students and their parents from across Qatar swamped the halls of the Student Center in Education City on Wednesday night, as gates were opened to one of the Qatar Foundation’s most highly-anticipated annual events, the “Discover Education City-Qatar” fair.
The evening offered prospective students, their families and the larger Doha community comprehensive insight into life at Education City through the perspective of currently enrolled students, representatives of participating universities and admissions counselors.
Opening the presentation session of the evening, Jowhara Al Qahtani, a fourth year medical student at Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar (WCMCQ), described her personal triumph in fulfilling her dream of donning the white coat.
“Life doesn’t draw the exact path for everyone. I had to draw mine and create my chances and not to wait for them to be given to me or to come to me on a golden plate. My advice to those of you in high school is ‘create your own changes now and always believe in yourself’,” said Al Qahtani, who is leaving in a couple of days to the US to conduct research at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City.
Another speaker, Fahad Al Kuwari, a third year student at Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar, shared his own journey at Education City; how he chose his career path and how he feels after finding his true interest. “Now, I am the happiest person,” he said.
Fahad will be spending a few weeks in India next month, working with acclaimed film producer Mira Nair on the set of her new film.
Soud Abdulaziz Al-Tamimi, Executive Director, Project Management Office, Hamad Bin Khalifa University, encouraged the prospective high school students and their parents to make their presence at the evening worthwhile by speaking with a variety of current students, graduated students, counselors and other members of the community.
“My colleagues at Qatar Foundation and across the universities and centers have provided lots of opportunities to help you prepare for college. Whether that is through summer enrichment programs, standardized testing services, visits to your school or debating opportunities, as a high school student, you have many opportunities to grow, develop and prepare yourself for college,” said Al Tamimi.
Jassim Al Muftah, Student Center Business Operations Supervisor, Qatar Foundation, delivered the main presentation while introducing the six participating universities of the event as well as the Academic Bridge Program, a foundation program that prepares students for university study.
“While you are a student at one of these universities, you will have the opportunity to take classes at the other five universities. So let’s say you want to be a government press secretary. In that instance you may study journalism at Northwestern University and at the same time, enroll in political science classes at Georgetown University,” said Al Muftah.
“So, as you can see, you are not just getting an education from one world-class university, you’re getting one from a combination of all six, and that’s a unique experience,” added Al Muftah.
After the presentations, attendees made their way into the exhibition area, where each of the participating universities had set up booths for facilitation. Special meeting areas served as a platform for students curious to know about the mandatory standardized tests such as SAT, ACT, TOEFL and IELTS that are often a pre-requisite for admissions. The British Council, Reach Out To Asia and the Higher Education Institute were also present at the event to provide students with information about their services.
“This event is very useful in that all the information can be had under one roof. It is important for senior high-school students to come here as it helps them to gauge their options in making potentially life-changing decisions,” said Qatari national Sarah Khaled Al Yahri, a grade 12 student at Qatar Independent Secondary School.
“I am going to be applying to CMUQ and Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar (SFS-Qatar) in an attempt to increase my rate of acceptance at one of them,” added Al Yahri.
Education City is the thriving home of a host of prestigious international universities, transitional bridge programs and innovative research projects. During Discover Education City, six renowned universities offering undergraduate degrees, carefully-selected for offering top programs in their respective area of teaching were showcased: Virginia Commonwealth University (VCUQatar), Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar (WCMCQ), Texas A&M University at Qatar, Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar (CMUQ), Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar (SFS-Qatar) and Northwestern University in Qatar (NUQ).
“Coming to Discover Education City fair was truly a great interactive experience. We were excited to receive all the crucial information we needed in the lead up to my daughter’s admission here. This generation is very lucky as they have access to world-class universities in one location, so close to home,” said another Qatari national, Mrs. Hameeda Ahmed, who accompanied her daughter to the event.
“We were particularly keen on getting to know about the preparatory programs at Education City, and the scholarships offered by the Higher Education Institute. Before coming here my daughter was only interested in one university, but after coming to the event she has already talked about considering at least two more programs,” added Mrs. Hameeda.
Following this event, Qatar Foundation and the universities in Education City will be hosting a series of programs for students and counselors. The campaign will also travel to rest of the Gulf and includes school visits and a counselor event.