TAMUQ takes additional fall semester break this week


Photo courtesy of TAMUQ

Texas A&M University at Qatar is the only American university in Education City to have a mid-semester holiday during its fall term, scheduled for this week from Nov. 12 to 16.

“All American branch campuses within Education City have academic calendars that balance their respective main campus rules, national holidays in Qatar and a desire to coordinate with each other for the benefits of all of our collective students,” said Troy Bickham, assistant dean for academic and student services at TAMUQ. “Texas A&M University at Qatar is no different.”

“I feel that the break is at the right time,” said Seif Elgazar, a student at TAMUQ.“[The break is] a stress relief after the midterm heat and pressure.”

Typically, all American universities in Education City have one break per semester that lasts about a week. This term, the break took place at the beginning of September to coincide with the Eid al-Adha holiday; this meant that students went on break two weeks after the semester had just begun. As Eid is scheduled according to the Muslim lunar calendar, its timing changes each year. In previous years, Eid fell later in the semester, giving students a much-needed respite after midterm exams.

The midterm break that TAMUQ scheduled this week is an additional holiday for its students. The other American universities in Education City, including Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar, Northwestern University in Qatar, Georgetown University in Qatar, Weill Cornell Medicine Qatar and Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, have not scheduled any other fall term holidays for their students beyond the usual Eid break. Students at these universities say they have mixed feelings about not having a holiday after their midterm exams.

“In all honesty, I say let [TAMUQ] have it,” said Yasmine Fade, a student at GU-Q. “We can make a case for why we’re equally deserving of a break as well, but [I] wouldn’t say it’s unfair [that we don’t have one].”

“I think all universities in Qatar Foundation should have a break in the [middle of the] fall semester, just like [TAMUQ],” said Maha Nasr, a student at VCUarts Qatar. “The only break we get is the Eid break, which is unfair, because it is not actually considered a break because we get assignments.”

Academic calendars are planned two years in advance, so it was too late for many of the universities to announce an additional fall term break this year, according to Safna Ansaruddin, the director of student records at NU-Q. Next year, however, some of the universities in Education City plan to do so, she said.

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