Student Spotlight: Rana Abdelsattar

Name: Rana Abdelsattar

Home Campus: RIT Dubai

Year: 4th

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Favorite place to hang out at the RIT main campus: The gazebo by the Gene Polisseni Center and the Nature Trail

Favorite spot to study: The Wallace Library (especially the little cubicles)

Favorite place to eat on campus: Café & Market at Crossroads

Why did you decide to join the RIT Global Scholar program?

Well, I love travelling and meeting new people and I saw the Global Scholar program as the perfect opportunity to do so. I have had the chance to meet so many people coming from different cultures at RIT Dubai, so I thought that coming to RIT main campus would be a good chance to see a little bit more of that world.

What are the biggest differences between the main campus and RIT Dubai?

The biggest difference between the two is definitely the size. The RIT main campus is huge, whereas the one in Dubai is a small one even compared to other universities there! Back in RIT Dubai there’s always a familiar feeling there; whomever you meet, you have already met before. Here, on the other hand, you see and meet new people every day. Just by checking a book out from the library, I can meet someone new. Another big difference is the different colleges on campus and the different buildings each college is housed in. What I also find really interesting is the location of the campus: we are completely surrounded by nature. I can’t find such green spaces in Dubai – the campus is located in the middle of the city!

Have you experienced a cultural shock already?

I wouldn’t say so, because I haven’t seen anything that I wasn’t already expecting. However, there definitely are some things I found surprising, but nothing major… for example how heavy the food is here! As far as the food goes, I usually cook it on my own, just finding the ingredients is a task on its own bcause there are so many choices available in grocery stores.

I’m from Egypt, but having studied at RIT Dubai for the past three years has really helped me to get a sense of what’s it like to interact with so many people from so many different cultures.

What’s the benefit of being a Global Scholar?

I would say that one of the greatest benefits is having the chance to meet new people. You come here with your previous experiences and your interpretation of everything you see is different, so you bring in a fresh point of view. At the same time, however, you experience other people’s points of view as well. Another important benefit is that your get to live in a new place, which more or less prepares you for the future, especially if you’re planning on becoming a global citizen. I, myself, plan to live somewhere else in the future, so this opportunity is like a training period for me. I like how big the selection of classes is. I’m taking history classes, ASL, and basically every class that I wouldn’t be able to take in my home campus.

What are your plans for the future?

Oh my, this is a loaded question, isn’t it? Honestly, I’m still trying to figure out my plans. Because I have so many interests, I am not so sure what I will be focusing on in terms of my career. Additionally, I don’t even know where I will be working – here, Dubai, or somewhere else! I feel like there will be so many options for me in the future, so let’s hope I find a good one!

Do you have any advice for future Global Scholars?

Coming here as a fourth-year student has made it difficult to make friends because I don’t have much free time available and there are certain classes I need to take and finish to graduate on time. I would advise future Global Scholars to come here earlier (second year would be optimal!) because you have many elective courses that you can take and there’s definitely much more free time. Try and join as many extracurricular activities as possible. Because of the large number of clubs on campus, you feel tempted to join all of them… make sure you don’t overdo it! Personally, I am part of the Club Hockey team – my teammates are nice and it is super fun to practice and play in such a competitive environment. I am also a member of the Space Exploration club, which is a project-based research group aimed at launching high-altitude balloons, and a member of the Multidisciplinary Robotics club, as well!

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