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Qatar Students Visit Evanston Campus

Eight Northwestern students from the brand new Qatar campus paid a visit to the Evanston campus the last week in May. Students from both the School of Communication and Medill programs fresh out of their freshman year completed a four-question essay about why they wanted to visit the Evanston campus before embarking on the trip. The NU-Q students, several of whom were visiting the United States for the first time, toured the museums, architecture and shopping of Chicago over Memorial Day weekend before spending some quality time on campus the following week visiting classes, attending lectures and extracurricular activities, as well as enjoying Dillo Day festivities.

Students from Qatar before attending Jacqueline Stewart's Race & Ethnicity in Film class

Melanie Fridgant, a SoC student from France who is enrolled on the Qatar campus, said she always thought she'd attend college in the United States, but when her father's job took her family to Qatar, she opted to enroll at NU-Q instead. Visiting Evanston, she said, solidified her desire to study abroad for a year here in the U.S. Fridgant was impressed by the student groups on campus, specifically the Daily Northwestern, which she found to be "like a job." Student groups are in the formative stages at NU-Q, she said, and she hoped they could someday be as organized and established as the groups here in Evanston.

NU-Q student Lolwa Al-Jefairi, originally from Qatar, found the Evanston campus to be quite different than her home campus, but felt right at home in the classrooms here.

"The way they teach (in Qatar) is similar to how the class is taught there," Al-Jefairi said of Professor Pablo Boczkowski's Sociology of Online News class.

Al-Jefairi's excursion to Evanston was her first trip to the United States, a visit she hopes to eventually follow up with a year of study-abroad. Northwestern's Evanston campus with its multiple schools (School of Communication, Medill, WCAS, McCormick, etc.) is similar to how Education City in Doha, Qatar, is organized with multiple universities (Northwestern, Carnegie Mellon, Georgetown, Texas A&M, etc.), she said. And now that Al-Jefairi has had the opportunity to see Northwestern's campuses on both sides of the Atlantic, she is able to appreciate the similarities and differences between the two. Of her home campus in Qatar, she said, "It's NU, but it's NU-Q, mixing in our culture with traditions."

Becca Donaldson, NU-Q Student Affairs Specialist, accompanied the NU-Q students on the trip. She said the students had the opportunity to meet with current NU-Evanston students, "planting the seeds for further relationships and collaboration in the coming years."

Perhaps most importantly, Donaldson added, "students commented on their realization of being part of something so much greater than themselves, which may help lay the basis for the pride and confidence that will inspire them through these formative years."

Qatar students with Dean Barbara O'Keefe at the
Deans' Welcome Luncheon with deans, faculty and students

Susan Dun, associate dean of admissions and student affairs at NU-Q, said the students came back to Qatar "infused with energy and ideas" to continue building their home campus. "Because they are the pioneers," Dun said, "they do not have established student groups or upper class students from which to learn and join. Rather, they have created everything themselves. Having the opportunity to visit Evanston and learn about NU culture and traditions as well as learn from the NU-E students and organizations is an invaluable experience for them as they continue to create NU-Q student life."