Abu Dhabi, February 06, 2017: The Petroleum Institute today celebrated the return of two of its students, Sara Al Mahri and Hadeel Al Nahdi, who participated in an exchange program last semester with the Colorado School of Mines, located outside Denver, Colorado.
The Petroleum Institute initiated its exchange program in March of 2016, and since then there has been a growing interest on campus in living and studying abroad as a way of personal and academic development. To date the PI has sent three students to the University of Tokyo for a winter program in December 2016 and hosted students from the Colorado School of Mines also in December following a conference held in Dubai. Some of the PI’s academic partners include University of Maryland, Lehigh University, and the University of Waterloo (Ontario, Canada) with future collaborations with Purdue University and Texas A&M.
Students have the liberty to choose from a range of major-specific subjects to electives, regardless of the engineering stream they are enlisted in. The exchange program adds to their academic knowledge and helps them gain real life experience in terms of exposing them to different people and cultures.
Personal growth is an essential part of the learning experience as it helped the students be more independent and goal-oriented.
“The Petroleum Institute is enthusiastic about the exchange program becoming part of our students’ identities as it helps them step out of their comfort zones, push their limits and engage with others to transfer knowledge,” said Dr. Ebrahim Al Hajri, Director of Collaborations and External Relations. “We are proud to partner with the Colorado School of Mines in this incredibly important initiative, and look forward to encouraging more students to participate in this life-changing experience.”
Ms. Al Mahri, a third-year mechanical engineering student, commented “The exchange program helped me grow as an individual and pushed me out of my comfort zone. It taught me to become more proactive and resilient, and has shaped my personality today.”
Ms. Al Nahdi, a third-year mechanical engineering student, said “The exchange program gave me a holistic experience on what it’s like to live and study abroad. The teaching methods were similar to ours in the UAE, but the student approach was very different. I would stay in the library till 12 am just to get work done! And that made me more dedicated to school.”
Academic exchange programs add to students’ university experience and to their personal growth. Travelling, whether for tourism or education, promotes mental and physical health as it broadens perspectives and helps individuals deal with situations they might not otherwise find themselves in. It also forces individuals to step out of their comfort zones, which is usually where all the learning begins. Individuals who travel more often are more creative; getting out of their daily routines and adapting to new surroundings helps them see the world from a different perspective.