Global Experience at the First Virtual International Graduate Study Fair
The 3rd of October, 2020 marked the American University’s annual International Graduate Study Fair event and with the AUC’s promise of putting the safety of its students first, the event was transitioned to a new online format. Trying to replicate the actual atmosphere of the fair was no easy feat but the platform features managed to do the next best thing, facilitating virtual interaction between the university representatives and the students through live webinars and one on one chats.
The new digital platform “Eventtus” was characterized with some interactive features. One of them is the “Exhibitor Booth” which allowed university representatives to set up a virtual booth that could display their brochures and their online information while also being a spot for participants to get more details from professionals. Another feature was “Live Webinars” and as its name implies, some representatives held information sessions for groups of people to understand more about their programs offered and ask questions along the way. Lastly, the “Circles” feature had organizations holding a discussion with 15 participants at a time, letting them bounce ideas off of each other and benefit from a fruitful conversation.
With a diverse group of 48 different universities, the fair offered a variety of different graduate programs that managed to go strong despite the restrictions imposed by the current pandemic. Dr. Ejaz Ahmed, International Relations Manager at the School of Computing and Engineering at the University of Huddersfield, emphasized that their campus was optimized for a safe and secure educational environment, explaining that their institution provides a hybrid of online and face-to-face classes of limited numbers to ensure the wellbeing of the students. Lubna Ali, Interim Director of Marketing and Development at the MENA regional branch of the Swiss Education Group, said that even though some parents have undeniably been reluctant to send their kids abroad, some have taken the current times as an opportunity to strengthen their resolve of getting a good education despite the inconveniences of today, she added onto this highlighting that they are taking serious measures to keep students safe.
The event managed to reel more than 700 participants from AUC and guests from different educational backgrounds. Our AUC students and alumni were represented from different majors and class standings, interested in planning for the next step of their educational journey. Iyed Hamadi, an alumnus student who majored in Business Administration, said “the fact that I am abroad and I can still attend a Career Center event was amazing and the fact that we were provided with a list of the universities allowed me to do enough research and to be ready.” Donia Ghazy, a senior student majoring in Computer Engineering, especially liked how organized the event was and how everyone got a chance to talk which was sometimes harder to achieve when the event was on campus. This sentiment was shared by Irene el Khorazaty, Head of the Liaison Office in Cairo of the Philipps-Universitat of Marburg, Germany, who said “truly, with so many people attending, it was a positive challenge to encounter graduates and colleagues at the same time. The Q&A round after the presentation was a good chance to meet the participants for the time being.” With more than 39 webinars happening, both participants and representatives were able to get their points across and set any doubts aside about the future of graduate programs.
The International Graduate Study Fair achieved its intended purpose of ensuring interested students that their postgraduate plans wouldn’t be negatively affected and that universities are trying their best to keep students safe as they move onto the next chapter of their lives.