For some, it was a summer of online professional development and learning activities
Against a backdrop of exceptional global circumstances, Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) welcomed back current undergraduate and graduate students for the start of the new academic year. Their return heralds a new chapter in their respective academic journeys, which this year coincides with HBKU’s 10th anniversary.
While summer offered the majority of students a well-deserved break from the classroom, many took time to focus on their professional development by participating in academic and professional training, and international conferences or gaining work experience through internship and fellowship opportunities. Many of these valuable opportunities were provided on a remote basis and within virtual learning environments.
As part of its commitment to the overall development of its student body, HBKU encourages students to connect with local and international organizations and benefit from experiences that hone their academic, professional and interpersonal skills. These experiences often complement classroom learning and encourage a holistic and informed approach to their academic development.
Paula Djanine, a returning Master of Arts in Islamic Studies student at the College of Islamic Studies (CIS), said: “The work of an aspiring academic starts way before the first word is written; the process of gathering sources, reading, analyzing, comparing and contrasting is exhaustive, but essential. Summer was a great time for me to familiarize myself with the established literature in my field, as throughout the semester other academic duties naturally take their places.
Furthermore, because of COVID-19, several databases and journals offered sets of free content in order to support researchers during this challenging time – a golden opportunity for a curious learner. The summer period was tremendously important to develop a structured literature review and to turn ideas into theories.”
Another returning student, Muhammad Usama Tariq, at the College of Health and Life Sciences (CHLS), recounts his own experiences: “My journey at HBKU has been very rewarding so far. Despite being an international student, I was able to instantly adapt to the university’s approach and align with its conducive environment. This helped me perform well in academics and research, as I managed to maintain high grades and also publish a book chapter with a very prestigious publisher.
Then COVID-19 happened and the effects were undeniably tangible. However, the efficient system at CHLS, as well as the support of my mentors, research supervisor and the college’s staff, helped me sustain academic growth and continue this exciting journey with even more progress. Remote learning was initially a difficult experience, but the way my mentors navigated the situation was remarkable. My research mentors presented multiple opportunities throughout the pandemic, and I ended up writing a review article on a novel protein which is deregulated in cancer. This topic is now related to my dissertation. The experience added to my publications record and gave me a thorough understanding of my thesis project. The laboratory meetings we held and the journal clubs we attended helped me hone my scientific understanding.”
Last May, HBKU celebrated the success of 197 graduating students representing 44 countries. The students were able to benefit from a highly specialized, world-class educational experience in the heart of Education City.
All of HBKU’s programs are designed to cater for current and future demands in local, regional and global job markets. Students graduate with the skills they need to be adept as they pursue their chosen career paths. In its 10th anniversary year, HBKU also remains steady in how it imagines the world and people of tomorrow. Doing so underpins the University’s enduring commitment to educating future leaders and finding new solutions to challenges facing Qatar and the world.