Education City Students Travel the World in Spring Break


Photo by Syed Owais Ali

By Rumana Shaikh and Wajeeha Malik

Photo by Syed Owais Ali
HBKU students lay their hands on the last brick of the wall they constructed in Nepal
Photo by Syed Owais Ali


Students at Education City’s six universities spent their spring breaks traveling on service learning trips, international experience trips, and Umrah trips to Mecca in Saudi Arabia.

Service learning trips were organized by Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar, Northwestern University in Qatar and Hamad Bin Khalifa University to Philippines, China and Nepal respectively.

“The goal of service learning trips is to give students exposure to parts of the world, [including] conflicts and crises and global issues that happen to be problematic in that particular area,” said Greg Bergida, Director of Student Affairs at NU-Q.

Northwestern’s service learning trip to China included 12 students and three staff and faculty members who spent eight days volunteering for a non-governmental organization called Roundabout, a donation and distribution center in Beijing.

“It was really inspirational to work with disabled kids. It was heartwarming to see how these disadvantaged children were so active and happy,” said Jemina Legaspi, a communication freshman at NU-Q.

In the future, “we’ll do more and more to have the trips focus on the skills and knowledge that our (NU-Q) students bring,” said Bergida of the service learning trips.

At Georgetown University, 15 students, accompanied by three staff members and one faculty member, spent the week in Manila as part of the school’s Community Engagement Program. “This trip was a research endeavor to explore and document the immigrant process from the Philippines to Qatar. This was coupled with a service learning component,” said AbdurRehman Naveed, freshman at GU-SFSQ.

Hamad Bin Khalifa University’s trip to Nepal was organized in collaboration with Reach Out to Asia, a Qatari-based non-profit organization that works with Qatar Foundation to provide primary and secondary education in areas of crisis across Asia. Nineteen students and five staff chaperones spent the week in the town of Tikapur.

According to Ahmed Raza Hashmi, the student trip leader, the students helped with the construction and design of a library for underprivileged children, and also taught basic computer skills to young Nepali students.

“The students were all very proactive and very eager to learn and serve the community,” said Hashmi.

In another trip, 19 students and two student affairs coordinators from Georgetown traveled to Northern Ireland as part of the university’s annual Zones of Conflict, Zones of Peace Program.

“The purpose of the trip was to be more informed about the steps Northern Ireland has taken post-conflict to ensure that the peace and reconciliation efforts are sustained and to observe how the surroundings, people and culture add to this reconciliation,” said Tayreem Asghar, a culture and politics sophomore at GUSFS-Q.

Other international trips included Texas A&M’s Student Leadership Exchange trip to the school’s College Station campus in Houston, Texas for 12 students.

“The trip is about taking students to a different location and letting them experience how their counterparts study, live and socialize in their own community, and to understand how leadership plays a role in different situations,” said Rizan Baig, a chemical engineering junior at Texas A&M at Qatar.

Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar organized a five day trip to Silicon Valley in San Francisco, where 25 students visited several company headquarters including those of Whatsapp, Twitter, Zynga, Facebook and Google. CMU-Q’s Information Systems professor, Maher Hakim, headed the trip.

“Overall, the trip opened my eyes to this new world of opportunities that I wish to someday be a part of,” said Nargis Premjee, a business administration student at CMU-Q.

CMU-Q students also traveled to the university’s Pittsburgh campus to experience IT as part of the Instigating Meaningful Pittsburgh and Qatar Ties (IMPAQT) program.

Twenty-two students from the graphic design department at VCU-Q went to Japan for a Graphic Design Field Study trip on which they visited Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka and Nara to explore the graphic design culture in Japan.

“We had to photograph and document any visual system related to graphic design,” said Hazem Asif, a sophomore AT VCU-Q.

“I think as graphic designers, we need to have knowledge of how graphic design is carried out in different areas of the world.”

There were also two Umrah trips organized for male students over spring break. Qatar Students Association (QSA) and the Shabab Club Education City each took a group of male students to Saudi Arabia for Umrah, a pilgrimage to Mecca that is performed by Muslims.


Photo provided by Zehni Khairullah
CMU-Q, San Francisco
Photo provided by Zehni Khairullah


Photo provided by Tayreem Asghar
GUSFS-Q, Northern Ireland
Photo provided by Tayreem Asghar


Photo provided by Thana Hasan
GUSFS-Q, Philippines
Photo provided by Thana Hasan


Photo provided by Hamza Abdurrehman
Texas A&M, City of College Station
Photo provided by Hamza Abdurrehman


Photo provided by Hazem Asif
VCU-Q, Japan
Photo provided by Hazem Asif


NU-Q China, Photo provided by Muhammad Shakeeb Asrar
NU-Q, China
Photo provided by Shakeeb Asrar


HBKU, NepalPhoto by Syed Owais Ali
HBKU, Nepal
Photo by Syed Owais Ali


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