HEI Academic Preparation and Extra-Curricular Activities
Before their departure to the U.S., selected candidates participated in activities that enforce their preparation for studies at U.S. universities. The activities included:
A. U.S.-Egypt Higher Education Initiative (HEI) STEM undergraduate scholarship:
- University Preparation Program (UPP): Eight-month UPP at the American University in Cairo (AUC) for scholars who need to strengthen their English language, critical thinking, research and academic skills.
- Six-week Academic Life Skills Program (ALSP): Provided for scholars not enrolled in the UPP and were available to participate in this short program in preparation for their academic studies at U.S. universities.
- Career counseling training: To assist scholars in identifying study fields which directly relate to their interests, career goals and areas of strength, implementing partner Nahdet El Mahrousa (NM) facilitated Career Self-Assessment sessions (Tamheed) for all undergraduate scholars. Tamheed is a psychometric assessment which aims to scientifically evaluate an individual’s abilities, personality traits, and interests. After the assessment test, NM organized one-on-one career counseling/coaching sessions with a certified advisor to review individual results.
- Leadership and intercultural workshops:
- E3raf Baladak (Know Your Country): a three-day trip to Aswan that reinforces pride in participants’ national culture. The scholars learned how to appreciate Egypt’s diverse natural and cultural identities, while learning how human innovation can come from nature. The trip included an introduction to Nubian culture, biomimicry, and understanding the water flow in Egypt, from the Nile water properties and riparian geopolitics to the engineering of the high dam and its impact on the Nubians, their culture and livelihoods. The trip also encompassed activities on team building, site visits, interviews with the local community and reflection discussions.
- Misryati: Facilitated by NM, Misryati is a two-day cultural awareness workshop for HEI undergraduate scholars. The objective of the workshops was to prepare scholars for living and studying in the U.S. The cultural awareness program included training on tolerance for cultural diversity, effective communication, conflict resolution, and identity.
- Intercultural communication workshop: To prepare scholars for lifestyle changes that accompany living and studying in the U.S., including separation from family and self-dependency, as well as adapting to a new environment, climate, and social life.
- Broadening Global Awareness workshop: To help participants gain insight into US culture, characteristics and values.
- Team building and communications workshop: This program is designed to help scholars:
- Appreciate diverse needs and preferences.
- Recognize inappropriate or unproductive communication.
- Develop skills to adapt to diverse styles.
- The value of team work.
- How to develop team norms, ground rules, and team contracts, building trust.
- Your team player style and how it can be used effectively.
- The stages of team development and how to help a team move.
- The critical role communication skills play in building and maintaining a team atmosphere.
- Ways team members can get involved and grow in a team setting.
- Self-Leadership skills workshop: focuses on self-leadership, importance of ethics and morals, making a positive first impression and change management.
B. U.S.-Egypt Higher Education Initiative (HEI) MBA scholarship:
- University Preparation Program (UPP): All HEI MBA candidates participated in a six-month UPP at the AUC to strengthen their English language, critical thinking, academic writing and research skills.
- One-day leadership and career path guidance workshop: Introduces participants to leadership skills for professionals and assists scholars in choosing their MBA degree focus to reach their individual career objectives.
- Leadership and intercultural workshops:
- Misryati: IIE implementing partner NM facilitated two-day cultural awareness workshops for HEI MBA candidates to prepare them for living and studying in the U.S. The cultural awareness workshops include training on tolerance for cultural diversity, effective communication, conflict resolution, and identity.
- Broadening Global Awareness workshop: Helps participants gain insight into US culture, characteristics and values.
- Self-Leadership skills workshop: Focuses on self-leadership, importance of ethics and morals, team building, change management and making a positive first impression.
C. Pre-Departure Orientation (PDO):
In preparation for travel to their respective U.S. universities, all HEI MBA and STEM scholars participate in simultaneously-held orientation. The four-day orientation provides guidance on studying in the US and on various cultural issues they may face. The content of the PDO program was divided into four sections: Leadership Training; Action Planning; Intercultural Orientation; and Administrative (clarification of travel arrangements, accommodation and financial logistics). IIE facilitates the PDO in coordination with partners, NM and AFS.
Orientation upon Arrival to U.S.: Each group of scholars attend a two-day orientation at the IIE Office in Washington DC upon arrival and before departing to their respective universities. In order to provide necessary program information to the scholars, IIE staff conduct scholar orientations using a variety of group work, discussion, and individual reflection methods to cover;Goal setting, leadership and gender, U.S. culture, culture shock and support services, Academics, Health, health insurance and emergencies, Allowances, Housing, J-1 visa and USAID policies.