After a brutally early departure (5:30 am Doha time for the early bird group) the Northwestern contingent from Evanston began their homeward journey from Northwestern University in Qatar. The weather in Doha had turned cloudy and muggy, the start of a brief spring season when it is often humid with occasional rains. The weather coupled with the Mcmansion-style houses being thrown up along the roadways of Doha made the city look and feel more like the west coast of Florida on the Gulf of Mexico than a desert city on the Arabian Gulf.
As is often the case at a university, the stars of the entire trip were the students, both those from NU-Q and NU-E (as it’s probably never been called before). The excitement and eagerness of the students in Doha at being “Wildcats” was truly heartening. And the talents displayed by the students from Evanston were, as always, remarkable. There clearly are many, many academic and logistical issues that remain to be worked out, particularly in regard to the Northwestern building on the Education City campus slated to begin construction in spring 2010. But if the University can continue to attract students as determined as the pioneers in Doha and as accomplished as those in Evanston and Chicago, the odds of success for the University’s venture are good.
Come back for lots of photos in the next day or so and some multimedia shows early next week. Jet lag is setting in after 20 hours of travel time, with another 6 hours to go, but we’ll be back with more!