Qatar University Arabic Program scholarship - Irina
Experience on arriving in Doha
My journey to Doha took several hours of tranquil transition. Once I arrived in the State of Qatar, I instantly felt the difference in climate. In the middle of September it is hot, yet humid. The good news was that the weather transforms from hot to pleasantly warm towards November.
Nevertheless, after a few necessary formal procedures I exited the airport where I was greeted and taken to a female student accommodation at Qatar University. There, I was introduced to a caring member of staff who introduced me to basic yet vital aspects of life in the accommodation. I instantly admired the courteous attitude of the local people. Moreover, it is worth highlighting a sense of community and mutual assistance whether one is in public or at the university premises.
After my arrival I gradually started to liaise with students who already lived in the accommodation. Within the following two weeks I attained all the necessary skills and smoothly integrated myself into student life, adapted to my schedule and started to explore the surroundings.
The lifestyle of local people deserves separate attention as it is based on spending leisure time indoors, such as malls where a vast number of activities are provided, i.e., shops, food courts and activities for children. There are common places such as parks, exhibitions, libraries and museums that are located in an urban area which are frequently visited by students.
However, there is a narrow spectrum of transport available for tourists which impacts on the quality of life when staying in Doha. Having said that, the metro is a convenient and affordable method of travel whereas the taxi is also convenient and a faster mode of transport.
The course content was challenging and required a lot of effort and persistence. For this reason I have invested my time into enhancing the quality of my knowledge of the language in order to achieve the best outcome while I am here in Doha. Besides, it is worth mentioning that physical activity along with a healthy diet plays a crucial role in my life. I have included into my schedule a range of complex exercises and activities that help me to maintain my health and wellbeing. Also, it was worth taking books (electronic as well as hard copy) from England that I could read in order to nourish my intellectual and spiritual health. As a result, this complex of practices along with an early morning rise facilitates my academic performance.
During my course so far, I have benefited hugely from a variety of teaching and learning styles, including interactive lessons, small-group works and dialogues. Various types of assessment are used. Exams and essays were a significant part of this, but some modules included presentations. Communication and assistance from teachers are also included. However, independent study is also a crucial part of education and this has allowed me to expand my vocabulary and start to express my point of view on various themes in Arabic.
A distinguishing trait of the teachers is their unique ability to manage a multicultural group of students who are on their journey of learning the Arabic language. Initially, during this first semester, I progressed by mastering the language in a context which allowed me to prepare for real-life situations and improve my confidence. I was facing new vocabulary on a daily basis and sometimes it was overwhelming. That said, after a couple of weeks of immersion into Arabic culture, history, religion and etiquette it has become more comfortable and enjoyable.
Consequently, I find my studies at Qatar University to be a hugely valuable experience during which I have gradually enhanced my linguistic skills from 0+ level. A student’s life implies a rainbow of experiences and, in this respect, I have had the opportunity to exchange knowledge with students representing a fountain of cultural values from around the world. Lastly, the course was definitely worth signing up for as not only does it open the window into the Eastern world but it has introduced me to a wide range of diversly open-minded and mutually respectful people.