Saudi female students excel in Holland after rejection by home universities

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Four Saudi female students, previously denied admission to their favorite programs in the kingdom, have graduated at a Dutch university in record time, completing their course requirement faster than other students.

The University of Maastricht in the Netherlands has recently honored Areej Mahjoob, Rahmat al-Dawla, Tasneem Banjar and Afnan Kamel on completing their doctorate degrees as part of King Abdullah Foreign Scholarship Program.

The students were among the first cohort of Saudi students to join the University of Maastricht since the launch of the King Fahad scholarship in 2007.

An estimated 450 Saudi students are studying in the Netherlands as part of the king Abdullah scholarship.

Six years earlier, the four female students could not obtain admission to their favorite academic programs at Saudi universities despite having completed high school with excellent grades.

“I was disappointed although I obtained 97.50 percent [in high school]”, Areej told al-Watan newspaper.

“I wanted to study law, but because it is a narrow field in Saudi Arabia, I opted for medicine. I didn’t have luck going to America, but luck smiled to me in Holland,” she added.

Banjar and Kamel finished their high schools with a grade of 95 percent. They went to King Abdul Aziz University to study nursing, but their aspiration was bigger and sought to study abroad. They were awarded King Abdullah scholarship to go study in the Netherlands.

Dawla’s story was not much different, except that she had a one-year old baby to take to Europe. When she was not admitted to her medical school in Saudi Arabia, she opted for mathematics. The day she found the opportunity to travel abroad, she grabbed it, and in Holland she succeeded.

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