Education is the key to success in all the countries in the world, but the most successful countries spend more time and money preparing and enhancing their nation’s education system in every possible way. However, in the end it all depends on the will to learn, without that it doesn’t make any difference how good an education system is. No matter how good the education provided is, if there is no will, then there is no way.
I was talking to my brother about his time spent studying abroad, and he told me about some Saudi students who are studying there with him in a language institute.
This made me think about some of the problems with the government scholarship program requirements and the reason why some Saudi students return home without a bachelors, masters or PhD degree, and why they return after finishing the language course or only half of it.
Some people see the government scholarship program as a long-term free vacation; they do not have the intention of continuing their education yet they apply for the scholarship anyway and they get accepted based on their GPA or maybe because they are well connected.
Whatever the reason, it is clear that they are in the program for having a good time and are simply wasting the money invested in them.
Other Saudi students have never left their hometown and have moved to a foreign country that is very different from what they are used to, which makes them victims of culture shock and homesickness. Adapting to a new life like their other colleagues is not easy for them, and this will certainly affect their education in a negative way. And last but not least, there are the dreamers.
These students dream of getting into the best college and they might have good connections in their hometown and, therefore, they expect everything to be easy breezy. They are met with disappointment and frustration and decide to jump from one college to another in an attempt to realize their dreams.
It is important that students speak the language of the country that they apply to study in. Yet many people have the misconception that once they arrive overseas, the language institute will be responsible for spoon feeding them the language that they need.
However, learning a language does not depend on books, but rather on practice and experience, and practice means having a outgoing, social personality.
The scholarship program should overcome these problems by setting up interviews with applicants to determine which of them are serious about continuing their education and which are not. Approval or rejection could be based upon the interview. I think that this way everyone would have a fair chance and would realize that the GPA is not the only factor that should be taken into consideration when you apply for a scholarship.
We want better educated youth who will help make our great nation progress and prosper, but we should be very careful about how we choose these individuals to better safeguard our future interests and those of our youth. — Esraa Al-Ghamdi is a Saudi poet. She can be reached at