Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi was brimming with excitement and eager enthusiasm on Wednesday, February 12, when the university hosted the Sorbonne Abu Dhabi Open Day 2014 under the banner of“Get Motivated — The road to success begins here.” Open to all the public, the event hosted a series of talks and workshops as well as student campus tours, in line with the university’s student-centred mission to empower youth on their journey through higher education.
Over 1200 students attended the Open Day from over 25 schools. Students found the event particularly appealing. Abdalla Mohammad Al Zaabi, from Abu Dhabi Secondary School: “I found the Open Day very interesting as I got to know more about different majors at the same time. I’m interested in business administration, and studying French to be able to join Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi is actually helpful for me in the future as well.” Also, Fatma Al Mehairi, from Al Etihad School, said: “I love the campus and the activities they have going on. The facility is amazing and the classes are very high tech.”
The idea to provide an opportunity to introduce students to an array of activities that will enable them to participate in the Sorbonne Abu Dhabi experience, better understand the admissions process, and empower them to make the best decisions for the future was a huge success, with many inquisitive minds from public and private schools taking part in various workshops and activities. Talks by Dr. Rachid Ragala, Head of the Geography and Planning Department at Sorbonne Abu Dhabi focussed on introducing the French Higher Education system and making the best choices for you to create “an outstanding future and awesome life” were very well attended.
Angela Franklin, Head of Student Recruitment at Sorbonne Abu Dhabi, explained the mindset of the Open Day: “Our hopes that today would bring with it lots of new experiences for prospective students across the nation were met with a wonderful number of young minds asking all sorts of questions, having fun, exploring university life, and learning about the French system while also learning how to look inside and find their true passions.”
The French as a Foreign Language workshops, a preview of the French as a Foreign Language intensive programme that runs throughout the year and is geared towards helping undergraduate students improve their grasp of the French language in preparation for their first year of formal studies, was very heavily attended, proving to be the most popular of the workshops and activities after the campus tours. Faculty from the French Intensive Programme gave attendees a crash course on the French language every 90 minutes from 10:00am.
The Open Day consisted of a cyclical programme that gave attendees a thorough view of the university and its value in the UAE. The kick-off was a presentation by the Office of Admissions on “How to Apply” revolving throughout the day (9:30am, 11:00am, 12:30pm, and 2:00pm), the day ending with an information session on postgraduate programmes at 4:00pm. ADEC’s Scholarship Department also had representatives on campus to help students and parents understand the scholarships available to UAE Nationals.
Farah Aboul Khair, a teacher at Al Etihad School: “The campus is amazing and very student friendly. I am in love with the different gardens where student can relax between classes and on breaks. The Masters room has translation, which is a great tool. The various sports and recreational activities offered at Sorbonne Abu Dhabi are amazing. The fact of having one year intensive French helps the students a lot, specially those interested in joining the university but are not French educated.”
The Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi offers ten programmes at the undergraduate level and another ten at the postgraduate level, each comprised of a comprehensive approach to knowledge and cultural growth, as well as being focussed on the skills necessary for the chosen field of study. The French education system is renowned for its level of rigorous and critical thinking, sense of synthesis and debating skills and Sorbonne Abu Dhabi students are guaranteed rigorous intellectual and scientific education associated with the positive and enthusiastic vision in the contemporary world.
The programmes are offered by their respective supporting institutions in Paris, and as such provide Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi graduates with a French degree that is accredited and certified in the United Arab Emirates, recognised worldwide. Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi works in unique collaboration with Paris-Sorbonne (Paris IV), Paris- Descartes (Paris V) and the Université Pierre et Marie Curie (UPMC) to provide joint academic excellence in the region. Undergraduate programmes are all taught in French (except Physics, which is taught in English), while postgraduate programmes are all taught in English.
Prof Eric Fouache, Vice Chancellor of Paris Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi, at the end of the event, described it all very succinctly: “Today’s vibrant combination of students and prospective students, of parents and professionals, showed us yet again that Sorbonne Abu Dhabi is truly a bridge between civilisations, a place of cultural exchange open to everyone, where our community is constantly on the move.”
This year’s focus on giving students and parents a more concrete understanding of the advantages and differences of the French educational system, proved immensely successful, exposing the university to a wider array of students than those already within the francophone communities.