University in Qatar students get to know city through Engage Chicago


Every summer, a handful of students from Northwestern
University in Qatar further their education by spending the summer getting to know Chicago. They experience the lights, attend lectures,
and learn about the myriad communities that make up the city. We’re going to head out to the lake. We’re going to get a wonderful view of the
skyline at night. The NUQ students also serve as a bridge, uniting
Northwestern at home and abroad in the shared pursuit of knowledge. So, my name is Maram. I’m from Yemen. I study at Northwestern University in Qatar,
and now I’m here for eight weeks for Engage Chicago program. So, I do have the pleasure of teaching the
course called Engage Chicago each summer. It’s a course that invites undergraduate students,
including a group each summer from Qatar, to do exactly what the title of the course
tells them to do, which is engage with the city of Chicago. We don’t mean simply the public institutions
of Chicago or the big, visible parts of the city of Chicago; we mean all of the 77 neighborhoods
of Chicago and lots and lots of people of the city of Chicago. We mean to sort of engage students with a
three-dimensional reality of the city of Chicago. What happens with students in Engage Chicago
is it’s a full-time, 24-hour a day commitment to the program. Each student is placed at an internship. We came to Head Start at Northwestern Settlement
House, and we walked through that door behind me, and we just saw all the kids, and we started
playing with them and writing with them and reading with them. I basically just fell in love. The kids are three, four, and five years-old,
and, yeah, some of them I’m just too attached to them because they just come, they run,
they hug me. I do actually see some development in them,
and what I noticed is that the way they write, so, some of them didn’t know how to write
their names because they were so little when they came and now they write their first name,
their last name, some of the numbers, some of the letters. They know names of animals. So, you actually can tell that they’re improving. The teachers are so great. That’s them screaming. Yeah. But as a dream job I would actually want to
do this. I know that I want it because I don’t wait
for break time, I don’t wait to go back home, and on Monday mornings I’m not just like ugh. I go out; I’m actually excited and happy,
and sometimes I don’t want to leave. In the program, we’re more than fifty students
from different places other than Chicago and different universities, but most of us are
from Northwestern. It’s very clear that each set of students,
the international students and the American students, provide the other with a set of
experiences that is stretching, that is challenging, that is different enough to be, you know,
deeply, deeply educational. After the volunteering ends, I just leave
everything behind, and I take the train and I come to the Lakefill. Me and my three friends from Qatar have been
talking to everyone here about our campus in Qatar. Basically, I can’t imagine not seeing anyone
here again.

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