Sara Mohammed, a VCUarts Qatar valedictorian for the class of 2021, talks about building relationships and taking courses at two US partner universities at QF
Tell us about yourself and your course at VCUarts Qatar.
I majored in Art History at Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar (VCUarts Qatar) and I absolutely love my major although it was a field that I had never planned to be involved in. The program was very comprehensive, so not only did I learn about art and history, I also got to study about people, the relationships between people in different times and in diverse spaces.
I was able to view art, study art, write about art, write about people who make art, who receive art and who are inspired by art – all of which were beautiful conversations and narratives to explore. I don’t view my education as just an art history degree. I try to view it as an inclusive study that will be a stepping-stone to different fields. I can travel, write or research, and hopefully, I can share these in the future.
How has learning at QF changed you for the better?
My journey at Qatar Foundation (QF) and VCUarts Qatar was very fulfilling and gratifying, to say the least. I was continuously encouraged by my instructors and peers to view education and life from different perspectives. To experiment, innovate and share my knowledge and opinion. These aspects created a sense of community, friendship, and mentorship, all of which I am very lucky to experience at QF and VCUarts Qatar. Being part of these communities made me a better communicator, leader and team worker. My writing has improved because of the variety of perspectives and feedback I was able to get. I’m also more confident and outgoing than ever because I know I have the support of my colleagues and of my mentors no matter what.
What change would you like to make happen in the future?
Change is hard to describe or try to put into words, so this is a big question. However, I would like to be someone that inspires the people around me, push people in doing their best, relish the present and help foster a love and respect for education and art.
I would also like to encourage people to acknowledge their own individuality while celebrating the diversity of their community by considering the various ways all humans across time and space share so much in common. The idea of human connectiveness is an important lesson I have gained during my experience at VCUarts Qatar. If I am ever able to inspire positive and constructive thinking, that would be one of my greatest honors and accomplishments in life.
What are some takeaway lessons from your academic journey in Education City?
VCUarts Qatar has a beautiful and welcoming community that is very positive and creative. While I was studying at VCUarts Qatar, I was always encouraged to consider various perspectives and points of view on different subjects. During my Art History program, I was surprisingly exposed to many narratives and assorted histories. I learned that there is no one definite truth, and to embrace this fact rather than obsessing over one single narrative.
I chose to acknowledge and consider these thoughts and apply this understanding not only to my studies but also more broadly to my life. I celebrate the diversity, complexity and beauty of history and people and I am glad that I got to experience that at VCUarts Qatar.
Although I was unable to engage with many Education City students during the pandemic, I was lucky to have cross registered at Texas A&M University in Qatar (TAMUQ). I was enrolled in two courses at TAMUQ and this opportunity was very valuable and enriching to my academic journey at Education City.
Even though my experience was limited at TAMUQ, I was able to virtually meet new professors, instructors, and students which I found to be very inspiring. It shows the dynamic learning environment in Education City and how instructors from various disciplines teach their studies or how they choose to view and teach life.