Emirati students visit the pavilion of Zayed University for theur Education progeamme during the Najah Education Exhibition at ADNEC in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday. Photo: Abdul Rahman/Gulf News (story: Sami) Image Credit:

Abu Dhabi: The 12th annual edition of the Najah Education Fair started in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday, with hundreds of school students attending the exhibition in hopes of finding the best university option for their future.

Held under the patronage of Shaikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance, the education fair features over 150 leading universities from around the world including countries such as the UAE, US, UK, Japan, Egypt and Lebanon among many others. The exhibition will take place until Friday, allowing prospective university students the opportunity to get all of the relevant information they need about their university of choice.

Harvey Olaivar, a 15-year-old student from the Philippines, said he was looking for universities offering a degree in graphic design. “I’m still in Grade 10, but I am already thinking about what I want to study after graduating from high school and starting university in a couple of years. I want to be a graphic designer, so I’m visiting the education fair to check with universities that are offering a suitable degree in this subject that can benefit me and my future.

He added: “I am a little nervous that I might pick the wrong course; there are a lot of universities that are available and so it’s not as simple as just going and picking one. I have to explore my options and then sit down with my parents to see which one suits me best. This is one of the most important decisions I will end up making, because If I choose the right university with the right type of course it will allow me to excel.”

Petra Shamaa, 16, from Lebanon, said she was still undecided on what subject to choose from at university. “I have attended the education fair in previous years; it’s always been helpful because I get to clear certain doubts I have. Even a few days before the exhibition, I went online and checked applications for universities I was interested in, so I could get my questions ready once I arrived here.

“My plan is to go and study in Lebanon, but at the moment I’m not sure what major I want to do. I’m going to choose the subject that’s best for me,” she added.

Ahmad Ramadan from Jordan, 17, said his plan was to go and study in either Canada or the US.

“I am sending applications for universities in Canada and the US, and if it doesn’t work out, then my other option is to stay and study here. I know what I want to study at university — biomedical engineering or mechanical, or even sound and music system engineering. I am very excited to finish school and start university; it’s going to be a new chapter in my life with a lot of new responsibilities,” Ramadan said.

Julien St. James, 18, from the US, said he was visiting the exhibition to assess his options at American universities. “I am a US citizen, so I’m looking for an American university to join. The exhibition has been helpful because I’ve not only found US-based universities but also American universities in Europe. There are a lot of good options to choose from,” St. James said.

“I want to study computer hardware engineering. It took me some time to decide on this subject because I was undecided between this and computer science. I eventually chose computer hardware engineering because the market is a lot smaller and so the competition for hiring is not as high compared to computer science,” he added. “It’s an exciting and nervous time for me, I’m looking forward to experiencing the freedom and all the luxuries that come with living by myself, but I’m also worried that it might be overwhelming,” he said.

Hafsa Fawaad, 17, from Pakistan, said she was also looking for an American university to pursue a degree in business and finance. “This is my first time here and I am going to start my university applications soon; so I’ve come here to to get all the information I need to start applying,” Fawaad said.

“I’m hoping to study in California, and I want to pursue an undergraduate degree in business and finance. I’ve known since high school that this is what I want to do when I start university,” she added.

“It’s all about picking the right university now and seeing what my options are. I am excited about starting my university life because I can just focus on my major, rather than a bunch of other subjects,” she said.

Mohammad Zauraiz, 17, another Pakistani student visiting the education fair, said he wanted to become a doctor, and that the exhibition made him more aware about what he needs to do to join a university. “I was relaxed in my attitude and didn’t really give much thought about university, but coming here has helped me learn a lot about the things I need to do to apply,” Zauraiz said.

“My goal is to study medicine and become a doctor. I get happy when I think about having a future as a doctor and helping treat patients, but I know I have a lot of work to do. I am quite nervous when I think of the hard work I need to put in if I want to get accepted into some of these universities,” he added.

Next gen of aviation experts

Among the more than 150 institutions taking part at the education fair is Emirates Aviation University, which offers specialised undergraduate and postgraduate courses for students related to the field of aviation.

“Aviation is an interesting sector for many students and we get many applications from both male and female students who want to study with us,” said Maha Hmeid, business development manager at Emirates Aviation University.

“There is a shortage worldwide of pilots, aeronautical engineers, air traffic controllers and basically anything related to aviation; so we encourage students to join because the aviation field has more opportunities for getting hired,” she added.