NU-Q Students Study on Home Campus

March 29, 2020

NU-Q’s annual student exchange program with its home campus in the United States was cut short this year for some of the students due to the COVID-19 virus. But before that happened, the students attended classes and participated in student life on the Evanston campus. They are now continuing their studies remotely.

“The opportunity to spend one semester at the home campus is a unique experience, and every student selected to participate finds it uniquely rewarding. Exchange students return feeling energized by the experience and it is wonderful to see how much intellectual and personal growth each achieves in a relatively short period,” said Gregory Ferrell Lowe, professor and director of the Communication Program at NU-Q.

While most of the students have returned to Qatar or their respective home countries, they will continue the program remotely through the end of the academic year.


One student in the program, Marielle Cortel, discovered that she faced a unique challenge. With so many courses to select from, she had difficulty deciding which classes to take. She ended up enrolling in film photography, sound production, and web convergence, with plans to also study Korean literature, health communications, and production.  

"The program allows you to explore and learn more about yourself," Cortel said. Her first extended time away from family, Cortel became more self-sufficient, managing her finances and discovering – contrary to her expectations – that she is capable of socializing in a new environment rather easily.

Like Cortel, Muna Hussain focused on film production, but she is also venturing beyond her major. She is taking a swing dancing class and also discovered rollerblading at the Norris University Center, the hub of social activity at Northwestern.

The Communications Exchange program helped Hussain overcome her trepidations about traveling to the US.

“I used to be afraid of the US,” but Hussain found in Evanston that “people are very friendly. American culture is very open and accepting.”

Rui Oh agreed.

“I was worried that I’d be isolated or find a lack of community, but that has not been the case here.” Rui Oh said the experience helped her grow closer to NU-Q and NU-E students, something she called a “double win.”

She was also “stoked” to pursue her interest in gamification. This spring she learned about photogrammetry (3D modeling) and other Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality techniques.

Rui Oh first visited Evanston in 2019 as an NU-Q student ambassador. It was that trip that convinced her to apply for the Exchange program.

“Don’t overthink it, just come,” she advised NU-Q students who are thinking about applying for next year.