Blog 🍎 School 14th November 2023

Building the Bridge 2023: Reflections on our First Exclusive Networking Event in the Middle East

Profile image of Zahra Onsori
Zahra Onsori University Content Writer

Last week, we concluded our Building the Bridge event in Dubai. 

It was two days of creating space for student opportunity, industry development and building real connections. 

But not only that; our events are a testament to the foundations of BridgeU, because they give us an opportunity to bring our global network together and showcase how fruitful it can be to work as a collective to solve higher ed inequalities. 

We’re so proud of the global network we’ve built up, and seeing our K12 students, school counsellors and university partners come together calls for moments of reflection of how far we’ve come.

So to celebrate, we’ve collated a summary of our conference in Dubai.

We were so excited to host this event, and even more so to share a bit more detail about what we got up to over the 2 days with you! 

And if you’re interested in getting involved in our future events, either as an international school or a university partner, stick around to the end to find out how to do so.

What was on the agenda?

Our two day conference featured representatives from the international education sector, such as Chris Kirk (UCAS) and Dr Amjad Fayoumi (Lancaster University), as well as workshops and panel discussions for students and counsellors to network and learn from our university partners.

Day 1 was focused on helping our counsellors and university representatives network and share knowledge. There was an opportunity for counsellors to hear directly from CommonApp and UCAS. 

We also opened up a panel discussion where counsellors could get 1 on 1 time with our university partners, which was really valued by our counsellor community.

From this, counsellors and universities were able to have an honest and open discussion about a variety of topics.

Some discussion points were about scholarship offerings specific to the UAE and Middle East, women in STEM, and how universities are supporting international students and students with special needs on campus, to name a few.

“Thank you once again for putting this together and the pleasure is mine to meet you in person in such an amazing country”

Miami University

There was also a great discussion on what happens at North American institutions when seniors get their final grades, since North American institutions aren’t offer based like the UK.

The day was well received, but in particular counsellors highlighted that they found value in Dr Amjad’s presentation on AI in education.

School counsellors are quite busy individuals and can be quite difficult to reach. So having them all in one place was a great networking opportunity for the university reps present! 

And all our university partners were able to exclusively network with the counsellors that attended. 

Chris Kirk, Director of UCAS, delivered a presentation to counsellors about the updated changes in the UCAS process to better guide their international students through the UK application process.

Chris was also on hand all day, and our attendees found value in this opportunity to speak with him face to face. 

It was very helpful and I learned a lot from each university and some of them have what I am interested in! Thank you for this opportunity!

International student 
Get insights on the Middle East

We’ve analysed the university preferences of 2024 international applicants across the Middle East. Get in touch with our Universities Partnerships team to access the latest insights.

On day 2, we welcomed K12 students in Dubai to the event. Partner universities got a chance to engage in a panel discussion with students, as well as students having the opportunity to learn more about the US and UK application process.

Students took advantage of the university panel and asked a variety of questions, from sponsorship to career prospects and starter salaries.

Some students also shared concerns about their safety in prospective study countries, and towards the end of the session stated they were more at ease about their higher ed decision.

This was a really exciting and interesting trip to take, and I loved all the different and diverse universities. Thank you so much for the opportunity!

International student

The students that attended found it useful to speak directly to our uni partners, with some students leaving with a newfound interest in some of our university partner institutions. 

Get involved in future BridgeU events

If you’d like to participate in future events from BridgeU, then keep your eyes peeled, because we’ll be running more in person events in 2024! 

We run both in-person and digital events all year round for our counsellor community, international students and university partners.

Counsellor networking events

These events support our global network of school counsellors deliver the most efficient and up to date guidance to international students, no matter where they are in the world. BridgeU university partners also have the opportunity meet and network with hard to reach international schools across the world.

Enrolment events

From aiding with university research to applications, we support BridgeU students make the transition to university much smoother with our tailored workshops and student panels.

Themed recruitment events

Whether it’s recorded lectures, admissions bootcamps or application workshops, these support students as well as giving universities the opportunity to reach and actively guide students earlier on in their higher-ed journey.

Want to get involved?

If you’re a school counsellor, see how you can get the BridgeU platform for free to support and organise your guidance curriculum, as well as having exclusive access to events worldwide.

If you’re a university rep, and are interested in gaining access to our single largest community of international schools and counsellors, find out more by contacting our University Partnerships team today.

Speak to us for the latest application trends

To access the latest exclusive insights on current international application trends, book a meeting with our Universities Partnerships Team