Saudi students host first cultural event in GMIT

Monday, August 26, 2013 Press Office
Press Release

GMIT students, staff and visitors to the Galway campus were given a glimpse of life in Saudi Arabia at a special Saudi Arabian Cultural event in the college this week (Thursday 24 January 2013), attended by the Saudi Arabian Ambassador to Ireland, Mr Abdulaziz Aldriss.

Hosted by the GMIT Students Union and International Office in collaboration with the GMIT Saudi students, the event showcased Saudi Arabian food, drink, music, history and traditional dress.

GMIT has some 80 Saudi Arabian students studying a range of programmes in Business, IT & Computing, and Engineering on campuses in Galway city, Castlebar and Letterfrack.

The first cohort of Saudi Arabian students arrived in GMIT in 2009, mostly employees of the Saudi Technical and Vocational Training Corporation (TVTC) who study specialist programmes in English and Computing. In 2011, other Saudi students joined GMIT, funded under the King Abdullah Scholarship scheme. Many of the Saudi nationals live in student accommodation near GMIT’s campuses.

The cultural event proved to be very popular with GMIT students and staff, with all stands kept busy with visitors throughout the day.

Saudi student Qassim Al Ibrahim, who is studying a B.Sc. degree in IT for Business in the Galway campus, says the overall aim was to help GMIT students and staff understand their culture better.

“As visitors here, a group of us felt that an event like this would help us integrate into Irish society. We hope this event gives people an insight into our way of life in Saudi Arabia and a taste of how we live.”

Dr Larry Elwood, Head of International Affairs, GMIT, says it was the first such event to be hosted by the Institute’s Saudi students and it proved very popular. “The International Office is delighted to co-host this culturally important event. International education has many aspects and the exchange and understanding of cultural values is very important.”

Antoinette Canavan, GMIT Students Union and event organiser, says: “The Saudi students created an absolutely fantastic atmosphere on campus, ensuring that all attendees left the event with a genuine appreciation for life and culture of Saudi Arabia.”

GMIT lecturer Barry McMillan, co-ordinator of the undergraduate English for Academic Purposes programme, says: “The event is a marvellous example of the positive contribution of Saudi students to student life in GMIT which is illustrated by the mix of students and staff visiting all the stands here today”