New Student Arrivals

In 2020, the KGSP welcomed 114 new students into the program, consisting of 56 Foundation Year (FY) students, and 58 starting as undergraduate freshmen as such prestigious universities as Columbia, Cornell, the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech), Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Princeton, Rice, and University of Wisconsin-Madison.

While the majority of new students are beginning their university careers by studying virtually in Saudi Arabia due to the COVID-19 pandemic, several undergraduate students have been able to begin classes in the United States, whether in-person, through virtual instruction, or a hybrid of the two.

When students arrived in the US, the KGSP’s Advisors built upon the resources and information relayed at this year’s Virtual Program Orientation to help students adjust to living in the US and to start their first year strong. In addition, advisors frequently schedule video and phone calls to provide guidance for the students’ adjustment and educational progress. Wherever possible, new students are met in the US at the airport by their new KGSP advisor; in cases where travel restrictions prevent this, new students are instead welcomed by current a KGSP student leader studying at that university.

Mohammed Assabti, a Mechanical Engineering student at Georgia Tech, was the first new student to arrive in August. Upon landing in Atlanta, he was greeted by Stafford Oliver, KGSP Undergraduate Advising Lead, who helped Mohammed move into the residence hall and prepared him for his first days at the university as he socially quarantined, per university health regulations. After attending an online meet and greet organized by Georgia Tech’s Saudi Student Association—which just happens to be led by KGSP Junior Lama Bahanan—Mohammed reported that he felt ready to start the year, eager to explore more of the Georgia Tech community and Atlanta area, build relationships with his classmates and professors, and play American football!

All new students, whether they are in Saudi Arabia or the United States, are warmly welcomed by the entire KGSP community as they are encouraged to reach their fullest potential throughout their years in the Program.