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MENAFN - Arab Times - 23/02/2012

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(MENAFN - Arab Times) The International Student Network (ISN) hosted an educational fair at the Regency Hotel in Kuwait Tuesday, wherein recruiters from twenty different American universities and colleges were present to talk to prospective students and their parents and answer their questions.

The event was one of many other events hosted by ISN, who holds semi-annual education fairs in the spring and fall of every academic year. This fair was hosted in association with the American Embassy in Kuwait and Amideast.

The fair was launched with a ribbon-cutting ceremony by the US Ambassador to Kuwait, Matthew H. Tueller. The ambassador expressed pride in the world-class standard of American education, and as such the importance of providing students in Kuwait the opportunity to study in such institutions, noting that the institutions present had a rich variety of programs on offer.

There was a large turnout of young students and their parents, both from governmental schools and private schools such as UAS and Carmel School, as well as graduates looking to continue with their education.

The institutions ranged from very small colleges with as little as 1,600 students to larger universities with up to 35,000 students. Some of these were the University of Maryland, St Joseph's University, University of Scranton and Concord University. However, unlike bigger universities, the institutions at the fair were far more specialized, providing high quality programs, and in many cases a more hands-on approach to teaching.

The fair was also attended by Tracey Roberts; the American Embassy's Counselor for Public Affair, and Scott C. Bolz; the American Embassy's Cultural Attach, who maintained the importance of such events in strengthening the close ties between Kuwait and the USA.

Also present was Shafiqah Al-Awadhi, PhD, the Cultural Attach of the Kuwaiti Embassy in Washington DC, in the Cultural Division, which is in charge of following up on Kuwaiti scholarship students, as well as organizing and collaborating with universities for student welfare. There are 730 American
universities and colleges that are accredited by the Ministry of Higher Education. Some receive special status, such as the University of Maryland, which is considered a Merit School, and as such entitles Kuwaiti students to a very prestigious scholarship with numerous extra benefits.

However, other institutes, such as the community colleges present hold a great deal of appeal in their own right for students from Kuwait, as they provide students with a far more affordable solution. In many cases, they afford them with the opportunity to transfer to universities such as Stanford and Julliard after completing two or three years there.

Babish Soni, the marketing director of ISN presided over the fair, stating that ISN is an international organization which functions across 48 different states, and which has held events in Kuwait for the past 12 years, supported by the US Chamber of Commerce as well as the US Embassy. This particular fair was previously held in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and will continue on to Bahrain and Doha in following days. Soni also commented, saying that "Education is a 17 billion dollar industry", making Kuwait a prime hub for investment.

In addition to the programs most popular amongst Kuwaiti students, led by far by Engineering, and followed by Computer Science and Business, the schools offer far more specialized programs such as Aeronautical Engineering and Aviation. One school, Living Arts College, specializes purely in digital animation studies, and holds claim to having the most successful list of alumni in the field. The school director noted that while this was his first time in Kuwait, there is a growing interest in the field within the Gulf area, and he had already recruited several students from Dubai.

Representatives from Amideast were also present, maintaining the role the non-profit organization has played in affording students with comprehensive information on applying to universities in the USA, as well as providing testing services for SATs, TOEFL, GMAT, GRE, etc. Amideast has been committed to maintaining US cultural relations in the Middle East, holding events such as these, as well as free advice sessions.

A US Embassy Consular Officer was also available to answer any questions regarding visa application procedures.


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