RIYADH: The announcement of the first cultural scholarship program came as a New Year’s gift to a multitude of Saudi students aspiring to study abroad and achieve new skills to put their country on the top of the global tourism map.
Many took to social media to express their happiness. Without wasting time, Marwan Al-Sabt, a high school graduate, tweeted: “I’m very optimistic about the scholarship (program) and I have decided to apply for a bachelor’s degree in culinary arts to develop my passion and habit in cooking into making it my future career path.”
A large number of young Saudis share Al-Sabt enthusiasm and aspirations, which also shows that gone are days when Saudis wanted to try their lucks in certain careers. Their choices are changing and they are keen on working in different professions.
Raghad Al-Babtain, an interior design engineer working in the semi-government sector and a freelancer, told Arab News: “I am very keen to apply (for a scholarship). I wish to obtain a master’s degree in architecture and design.”
“Being presented with such an opportunity is incredible for me and I intend to seize it wholeheartedly,” she said.
“I will strive as hard as I can to best represent myself and reward those who have granted me a chance to prove myself. I’m very positive that I can make the best out of this chance to develop and give back more to country,” Al-Babtain said.
The cultural ecosystem of the Kingdom is undergoing a drastic change and the Saudi authorities are leaving no stone unturned to boost the sector and to encourage local talent to join this sector and contribute to the national economy.
The announcement of the first cultural scholarship program by Culture Minister Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan is part of the Kingdom’s efforts to build this sector on modern lines.
Areeb Al-Saud, a graphic design and digital media student, said: “I am happy, and of course, I am planning to join. I will apply next year for a master’s program in graphic designing.”
The scholarship program offers specific educational opportunities for Saudi students to obtain bachelor’s, masters and doctorate degrees in the most prominent international universities in different majors like archaeology, architecture, designing, music, theater, filmmaking, literature, visual arts, and culinary arts. Al-Johara Al-Sudairi, a student at Prince Sultan University, Riyadh, said: “I am excited about the program and I would like to earn a master's degree in archeology as a master's degree that I’ve hoped for so long.”
“The Ministry of Culture scholarship is a unique opportunity,” said Sara Al-Saif, a student currently studying International Hospitality Business at Glion Institute for Higher Education.
“I did a six-month internship as chef de partie at Nozomi restaurant, which led me to follow my passion, and I am also an upcoming trainee in Burj Al Arab Jumeirah,” she added.
The Ministry of Culture will allocate a comprehensive electronic platform to receive applications from those who want to join the scholarship program on Jan. 19, 2020, according to three main tracks.
The first includes Saudi male and female students currently studying at their own expense abroad in cultural and technical specializations, where they will be included in the program following its rules and mechanisms. The second track for those who have previously applied for scholarships to study culture and arts with an acceptance letter from accredited universities. For the third track, it includes students who wish to submit new applications to join the cultural scholarship program by the year 2021.