Throughout this summer, KGSP worked closely with the newest cohort of scholarship recipients as they prepared to travel to the U.S. for the start of the 2015-16 school year. In addition to receiving visa and travel assistance, new students also participated in informative (and fun!) pre-departure orientations hosted on the KAUST campus. These events are only the first in a series of engagement opportunities that KGSP students have with the University and are meant to prepare them for their initial relocation to the United States, and to introduce the KAUST faculty, research areas, fields of study, and overall community. Events included:
- Specially-designed academic sessions, scholarship workshops, and team-building exercises led by KGSP advisors
- A KAUST research fair
- Opportunities to speak with returning KGSP students
- Tours of KAUST’s Desert Agriculture Lab, Combustion Lab, and award-winning library
- Lunches with KAUST faculty and graduate students
A highlight at every pre-departure orientation is the opportunity for students to hear directly from University leadership: Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Jim Calvin and Vice President of Research Dr. Jean Fréchet spoke about the achievements of KAUST’s academics and research community (of which the students are now a part), while Executive Vice President for Administration and Finance Mr. Nadhmi Al Nasr emphasized the important role KGSP students play in advancing the University’s mission within Saudi Arabia and globally. KAUST President Dr. Jean-Lou Chameau further honored the group by delivering the Welcome Dinner’s Keynote Address, wherein he shared his inspired vision for KAUST’s future. Vice President of Saudi Initiatives Dr. Najah Ashry closed the event by encouraging each student to work hard and commit to taking full advantage of the wonderful opportunities available as KGSP scholarship recipients.
Armed with such preparation and encouragement, the students were ready to start! From mid- to late-August, KGSP advisors met each group of new students at the airport as they arrived, accompanying them to their new universities and helping with the settling-in process. Once there, students participated in a second round of orientations offered both by KGSP and by the home university: These events introduced students to their campus and neighborhood, and included additional information about the scholarship program, coursework, KGSP and university resources, as well as general information about American culture and university life. Foundation Year students also received information about the upcoming undergraduate university admissions process.
With the fall term now underway, KGSP wishes the best of luck to both new and returning students as they start the academic year!