UCL Qatar: first term report
14 November 2012
Students are coming to the end of the very first term at UCL Qatar, a unique three-way partnership between UCL, Qatar Foundation and Qatar Museums Authority based in Doha, the capital city.
UCL is the first British university to open a campus in Qatar, offering postgraduate degree programmes in Archaeology, Conservation, Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies. Here Ileana Olmos, a student originally from Panama, describes her first term in Qatar.
"It was exactly a year ago that I first heard about the opening of UCL's new campus in Qatar, never anticipating that it would be my final destination. After a few months of communication, paperwork, and expectation, the letter of acceptance arrived, and it was then that the real journey began. I said goodbye to my friends, my belongings, and to life as I knew it, and with great joy I prepared to become a member of the UCL family abroad.
UCL Qatar offers three competitive Masters programmes: Archaeology of the Arab and Islamic World, Museum and Gallery Practice, and Conservation Studies. I chose the last one, as did a great group of seven other students from different parts of the world. Overall, across the three programmes we are 32 students from 13 different countries, including some from Qatar itself.
Education City in Doha, the capital of Qatar, is the campus that we now call home. Our headquarters are located in one of the many outstanding architectural structures that make up this modern and sophisticated complex, which includes many other world-renowned universities. This vast site looks set to get even bigger, as several buildings are being constructed around us.
There is definitely a higher degree of instruction here in UCL Qatar, and I am delighted with the quality of knowledge that I am exposed to every day, as well as the assertiveness of my peers, the zeal of our lecturers, and the great disposition of UCL Qatar's administrative staff. Although the courses and the workload are highly demanding, the experience so far has been incredibly rewarding.
The life of a graduate student can be limited, and busy at times. UCL Qatar is no exception. The good news is that Education City offers such a fantastic collection of amenities that whenever there is a small break from the routine of class work, there is always a great place to relax and enjoy yourself. Education City students can enjoy everything from workout facilities, swimming pools, basketball courts and cinemas to special events and international conferences, at no cost whatsoever.
On top of these activities, there is the chance to make new friends from different backgrounds and different parts of the world. Our group has proven great in this sense, and we all feel like one big family here in Qatar.
It is November and
our first term will soon be over. Some of us will go home to visit family and
friends and some of us will stay here, but we are all looking forward to our
next term in Qatar where will have even more opportunities to learn, share and
become better human beings to contribute to our global society."
Ileana Olmos (far right) with fellow students
Below are some photos of life at UCL Qatar from UCL's Flickr photostream.