Education City university students represent more than 113 different nationalities
The universities housed within Education City are home to students from more than 113 countries. And this diverse student body helps young people learn about – and embrace – different cultures, ethnicities, beliefs, and opinions, and ultimately broadens perspectives and promotes acceptance and understanding.
Being a student in such a diverse community has allowed many topics to be raised regarding stereotypes and misconceptions
“Qatar Foundation houses people from many different backgrounds,” said Fatima Al-Sulaiti, a Qatari student at Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar – one of eight universities situated within Education City.
“Being a student in such a diverse community has allowed many topics to be raised regarding stereotypes and misconceptions. Class conversations have allowed me to help others from different backgrounds, as well as learn more about my own culture,” she adds.
Al-Sulaiti believes creating platforms for open discussion allows others to learn and ask questions. “However, it is important to be aware of the fact that not everyone is coming with the same mindset and set of background knowledge – not everyone knows about other cultures and backgrounds.”
From the very first day that I joined WCM-Q, I was overwhelmed with the immense sense of generosity and hospitability of everyone
Fatima Al-Sulaiti points out that it is important for students to interact with others because interacting with people from different backgrounds and understanding different cultures helps shape more understanding individuals.
“I personally find it extremely important to have an inclusive society, as this allows people to be more culturally aware and open-minded.”
Basel Humos is a student at Weill Cornell Medicine – Qatar, who was born and raised in Ramallah, Palestine. Speaking about his own experience, he says: “From the very first day that I joined WCM-Q, I was overwhelmed with the immense sense of generosity and hospitability of everyone.”
According to Humos, when engaging in such a diverse environment, like Qatar, is important to make sure that you are culturally aware and respectful.
“This was not easy for me in the beginning, when I was introduced to so many nationalities that I had never interacted with before. In Palestine, I only interacted with Palestinians and that’s it. I was not exposed to all the other cultures that are present in the community here.
“Despite this cultural ‘setback’, I would sit down with people of all ethnicities and simply ask them about their story and background. It might be hard to be culturally competent from the very beginning, but it’s not hard to be respectful and curious.
I see so much respect and care around me all the time that I have actually grown used to it. And that’s why I find the environment here, in Education City, perfect for enriching learning experiences
“I made it a mission of mine to engage with as many people from as many cultures as possible. It didn’t take long for me to realize that the shortest distance between two people from two different cultures is a question.”
Humos points out that to be submerged in a society with so much racial and ethnic diversity in its student body and faculty is an opportunity to discover different parts of the world while staying in the same place. And it’s a daily reminder about the importance and significance of values such as tolerance, inclusivity, and acceptance.
“Besides graduating with a college degree, I will leave Qatar Foundation a more culturally competent student who understands that with diversification comes so much more than just awareness of cultures, but also a code of ethics that is built on mutual love and respect.”
Afsha Shaikh, a student at Texas A&M University at Qatar, moved from India to Qatar when she was two months old. “The most beautiful thing about being here is celebrating the culture and owning it. I believe that recognizing the diversity within us paves the way for an open-mindset and global culture."
Shaikh points out that QF’s diverse student body embraces inclusivity and promotes productivity, explaining that in group projects, she is able to work with people from all over the world.
“Overall, I have learned that kindness and understanding are key in communicating with students from different nationalities.
“I see so much respect and care around me all the time that I have actually grown used to it. And that’s why I find the environment here, in Education City, perfect for enriching learning experiences.”