Students from Saudi Arabia Study at UMKC’s School of Computing and Engineering

Students from Jazan University in Saudi Arabia are studying at UMKC's School of Computing and Engineering. Photo credit: Janet Rogers, Division of Strategic Marketing and Communications.

Students learn about mobile applications, cloud computing and big data

Abdullah Hakami gestures to the screen behind him, where a series of graphs and charts give in-depth analysis of a hypothetical company’s profits and customers. Hakami’s English is solid, but, like the rest of his classmates, it’s not his first language. So he chooses his words slowly, and with care.

“On this side, we see the number of visitors,” Hakami says, pointing to a small line graph in the screen’s corner.

University of Missouri-Kansas City Assistant Professor Praveen Rao nods, then asks follow-up questions to test Hakami’s understanding of the commercial software. They’re the types of questions Hakami’s professors might ask him in his home school, Jazan University in Saudi Arabia.

When Abdullah finishes his presentation, he rejoins the 13 other students, all computer science and information technology students at Jazan. Some are recent graduates, but most are undergraduates. They, along with two visiting members of the faculty, arrived in mid-June to study at UMKC’s School of Computing and Engineering.

“Our faculty and our school are well known not just regionally, but internationally, so UMKC’s School of Computing and Engineering is a sought-after destination for students all over the world,” Christina Davis, SCE director of continuing education, said.

Their five week stay is designed to be both intellectually and culturally enriching. The students will learn about software methods and tools from Professor Yongjie Zheng, mobile apps and cloud computing from Professor Yugi Lee, big data from Professor Praveen Rao, and will create their own app for Jazan University with the help of the Kansas City-based RareWire app creation studio.

But it’s not all tech stuff. For two hours every day, the students receive English instruction from the Applied Language Institute. They’re also venturing beyond campus to enjoy the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, the Kansas City Royals, and other local attractions.

It’s that mix of high quality instruction and big city attractions that brought the students to UMKC.

“Of all the universities they could have chosen, Jazan chose UMKC. Our reputation, our technical offerings, and of course, our fantastic location in the heart of Kansas City, helped make this connection possible,” Kevin Truman, dean of SCE, said.

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