Northwestern University in Qatar’s newest class of students is the largest group of students to enroll at NU-Q since it established a campus in 2008. The incoming freshman – similar to previous years – is quite diverse. While more than half of the class (56 percent) is Qatari, the remaining students represent 20 countries – and five continents - of origin. More than half are bilingual, with many speaking multiple languages.
“At NU-Q, students are immersed in a multi-cultural experience, which provides the entire student body with the opportunity – both academically and personally – to broaden their understanding of the world. These personal experiences, along with travel opportunities offered to students, leads them to develop qualities of an enlightened global citizen,” said Everette E. Dennis, dean and CEO. “This new cadre of students has also demonstrated leadership skills in their high schools by being involved in multiple extracurricular activities, including the Model United Nations, national sports teams, and debating competitions.”
The University’s annual “Wildcat Week” introduced the students to campus and brought the NU-Q community together through a variety of activities and events, including the "March Through the Arch." Adapted from Northwestern’s home campus, current students, faculty, and staff join together and cheer the new students as they marched through an arch of purple and white balloons as the newest “Wildcats.”
The week-long series of events is organized and hosted by the University’s student affairs staff. The department’s director, Greg Bergida, said that it is always among his favorite weeks of the year. “Watching the class form friendships and come together, is really rewarding – and also a clear sign that our student body is only growing stronger and more connected with each new class.”
Majed Al-Naimi, one of the 82 new students enrolling at NU-Q this year said that the welcome week was “a very memorable experience for me. Our peer advisers were very enthusiastic and fully devoted towards making our orientation week very unique. NU-Q is a top university for media in the region, and I look forward to earning my degree from this prestigious institute and eventually pursuing a job in government communications, where I can give back to my country and be part of the rapidly changing media industry.”
Meanwhile, Maryam Al Rumaihi, also a first-year Qatari student, said that it was “a great opportunity to blend into the new community and get used to the surroundings. It has motivated me to reach my goals and has assured me that this is where I belong, and that it is a starting point to a bright future. My aspiration for the next few years as a Wildcat is to realize that not only have I reached my goals, but I’ve also exceeded them.”
Dennis added that the students entering this year are joining an impressive group of current students and alumni who are already making their mark in Qatar and the region. “I am confident that over the next four years, our students from the Class of 2020 will join their classmates and alumni in becoming skilled professional communicators and future media leaders in Qatar and the region – both in the media industry, as well as with government and multinationals as strategic communicators. Also, many may choose to continue their academic careers by enrolling in graduate school.”
Among current Northwestern University in Qatar in alumni, 34 percent have pursued graduate degrees at prestigious institutions around the world, including Harvard, Oxford, the London School of Economics Northwestern, Columbia, and Dartmouth.
First-year student, Deema Al-Kuwari reflecting on her first week at NU-Q said that the whole week – particularly when they sang the University’s song made all of them “feel united and part of one large community. I’m excited to start my journey at NU-Q, especially after attending the “Wildcat Welcome Week” – the community is a big part of the reason why I wanted to join.”