Qatar Wildcats bridge Evanston, Doha campuses

Nathalie Tadena

Northwestern students from Qatar got their first taste of Evanston with an all-campus picnic outside Norris University Center on Sunday afternoon. More than 40 students from the Evanston campus came to meet eight of their classmates from NU’s outpost in Doha.

“Students from both sides are curious to answer questions and to see how you can take Northwestern and adapt it to a different culture and location,” said Becca Donaldson, Communication ’08, the student affairs specialist at NU-Q.

The Qatar Foundation , a non-profit organization which funds NU-Q and the satellite campuses of five other American universities in Doha, arranged for several Qatar Wildcats to visit Evanston on a 10-day trip. The students are accompanied by 5 members of the Admissions and Student Affairs offices at NU-Q.

Ten students were expected to visit the U.S.; however, some could not come for “various reasons,” Donaldson said.

This is not the first time Wildcats from Evanston and Doha have bridged the 7,000-mile gap. More than a dozen NU students travelled to Doha in March to attend the satellite campus’s inaugural ceremony. The campus began offering classes in journalism and media studies last August with an entering class of 38 students.

“The university is so nice, I would like to attend some classes here,” said Lolwa Al-Jefairi, a communication student. “I’ve met some students and they are very friendly.”

Some students noted the differences in weather, building architecture and andscape.

“I expected it to be different, but now that I’m here, the two campuses are not even comparable,” said Nazneen Zahan, a journalism student. She said that she enjoyed getting to talk to students with a wide range of academic interests.

Mary Katherine Gleissner, an Asian and Middle East Studies major, said she had read about NU-Q and came to the picnic to talk to students about her work with NU’s Conference on Human Rights.

“It’s cool to know people coming from all different regions, ” the Weinberg junior said.

To be selected for the trip, NU-Q students went through an application process that included evaluation based on grades and essays.

“Because we are in our first year, none of these students has had exposure to older students and established student organizations to learn from,” Associate Dean Susan Dun wrote in an e-mail last week. “They have done amazing work at NU-Q establishing many student organizations from scratch.”

The delegation, which includes students from both the communication and journalism programs, arrived on Friday evening and spent Saturday touring downtown Chicago.

“I want to be a part of the NU society here, take all this and bring it back to Qatar so I can share it with my friends,” Al-Jefairi said.

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