Education City in Doha, Qatar has blossomed incredibly in the past 5 years. Half a dozen new buildings, first graduating classes, major speakers, it is nearly a miracle. And I enjoyed spending my Spring semester there.
But like all growing things, there are parts of EC which need help unfurling to their full capacity. Below are my three wishes:
- An on-campus commissary. While a large number of Education City students commute from where they live off-campus with their families, a significant group also lives on-campus full-time in the dormitories. Even students with cars–which many of us did not have–do not relish the 20-45 minutes of driving (depending on traffic) which a grocery run requires. One of my least favorite expenses in Doha was my bi-weekly cab-fare to and from the grocery store. A small market with bread, fruit, canned soup and soda might cut into the McDonalds and KFC deliveries, but would help students at EC eat healthier and more on their own terms.
- Social networks for each dorm.
Implementing Ning or something like it would give students a way to communicate with their neighbors informally and regularly. Hectic class schedules made it hard for me to get to know the women in my hall, and when I needed to ask a community question–e.g., why has there been rock-music playing in the Ceremonial Courtyard every night for 4 hours for the past week–which was not in my CDA (=RA)’s job description, I would have liked a forum to put my question in. This would also give CDAs a good way to advertise their events and gather input, and House Fellows a way to informally interact with their communities. A location-specific social networks with limited goals (provide a forum for community questions and events) would benefit the residential-life experience of Education City students immensely.
- More cross-registration. Taking classes at Georgetown was one of my best decisions in Qatar. It gave me a chance to see what EC was like outside of my school’s bubble. It made me feel more connected, and gave me more social choices. I was sad to be the only CMU person in the room when a Georgetown senior presented her Honors Thesis on Internet Warfare. With the perfect cross-campus topic, not one CMU professor or student attended (I do not know if they were invited, which points towards the same problem). More cross-registration would be one way to deal with this kind of issue.
That’s it! My 3 mini-policy proposals, all tied up neatly. Anyone else in EC got an opinion?
“Education does not mean teaching people to know what they do not know; it means teaching them to behave as they do not behave.”–John Ruskin (1819-1900) English critic
1. You do know your first wish is about to come true as soon as the new rec center opens? And thanks to its food court, fast food chains will continue to make profit out of EC.
2. I completely agree with this one. Did you ever solve the mystery of the rock music??? 🙂
3. With you on that one too. I think the lack of cross university events was what sparked the idea of ECQC.
1) I didn’t, but that’s awesome!
2) Nope. I figured it was some event, but boy, was it irritating.
3) Yeah, I think it will come only slowly with great effort.
My other wish, which wasn’t so much for EC as for Qatar, is a better range of internships for EC students. Particularly, I think government ministries have a great opportunity to educate students through internships.
Students at CMU minoring in history or english could run tour programs, develop websites, do original research at Jebel Jessessya, all through internship programs with the government. Varun said he thought it would take students submitting applications to non-existant programs, but I wonder if CMU’s student offices might be able to encourage these kind of internships on a test-basis. Anyhoo, I hope you’re keeping cool!