Scholarship Preparation Program: The Accelerated Learning and Professional Growth

Subject: Education
Pages: 20
Words: 5761
Reading time:
23 min
Study level: PhD

Background

The demand for government scholarships in Saudi Arabia among those seeking to study abroad for their post-graduate degrees has been on the rise over the past two decades. Although the government has invested heavily in improving the local institutions of higher learning, the need for some graduate students to study abroad is justified, especially when it comes to sciences and mathematics. The government has a scholarship program for such students to enable them to go to some of the world’s best institutions of higher learning in western countries so that they can gain the expertise needed to promote the local economy. According to Falconer (2014), sometimes those who consider going to study abroad prefer to remain in developed nations instead of coming back to their home countries to spur economic growth. Such a decision is a major blow to the government. It not only causes a brain drain but also a situation where the investment that the government made in them through scholarships is lost. Hanzlick (2015) argues that such individuals fail to understand why the government sent them abroad in the first place.

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The government launched a compulsory scholarship preparation program in the academic year 2017-2018 that all candidates must complete before they are granted full scholarships to study abroad. This preparation program, which takes 12 weeks, is meant to empower learners in various ways. First, it is supposed to ensure that they understand the local knowledge gap in their respective fields and what they need to pay attention to in their further studies when they visit foreign countries. The program also focuses on preparing these learners for a new life outside their home country. According to Holbeche (2017), adapting to a new environment in a foreign country may be challenging for some students, especially if they are not fully prepared. Climatic conditions in most of these western countries are significantly different from those of the Middle East. Learners must be ready to adjust to these changes to ensure that they can be successful in their studies. Finally, the program helps students to understand the primary goal of getting sponsorship from the government. They are reminded that their horned skills and expertise will be needed locally. They are informed of their responsibility to help in promoting the local economy and improving living standards in their country using new skills gained abroad. This research focuses on assessing the effectiveness of the scholarship preparation program at the University of Jeddah through an online survey.

Research Goals and Objectives

The compulsory scholarship preparation program was created to equip students seeking to study abroad with skills that would enhance their success in foreign countries. The primary goal is to assess the effectiveness of this new program in ensuring that students are fully prepared when they leave the country. The following are the specific objectives that the researcher seeks to achieve:

  • To determine the effectiveness of the scholarship preparation program at the University of Jeddah;
  • To get students’ view about how well they feel the program is equipping them for student life outside their country;
  • To determine if the course of the program is aligned with the goals and objectives of students planning to study abroad.

Significance of the Research

The new scholarship program carried out at the University of Jeddah is one of a kind. According to Guirdham and Guirdham (2017), although the majority of the Saudi students who go to the United States and Europe for further studies manage to complete their education on time, some of them face numerous challenges that make it difficult to achieve their desired goals. A number of these students take longer than expected to complete their education. Another group drops out of school for different reasons they did not expect to exist in these foreign countries. Among those who manage to complete their studies abroad, many consider settling in western countries after securing jobs there.

According to Artis (2010), the decision by the government of Saudi Arabia to invest in the higher education of these students is to boost the local economy by having a large number of highly skilled individuals in various sectors. The country has been relying on expatriates from Europe, North America, China, and Japan to get help in highly specialized fields of the economy. However, it is more appropriate to have the local workforce with such skills to eliminate or reduce the country’s reliance on foreign experts. Spending money on these students only for them to fail to complete their studies, take longer than expected, or settle in foreign countries has never been the goal of the government when issuing scholarships. This research is important because it seeks to determine if the new program is capable of addressing these problems.

Literature Review and Theoretical Framework

Definitions of International Scholarship Programs, Goals, and Significance

The scholarship preparation program is not something that is unique to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. According to Edward (2013), many countries around the world have different programs meant to educate learners in various areas before they can be granted a scholarship for further studies. Grafton (2009) defines a scholarship as “a sum of money or other aid granted to a student, because of merit, need, etc., to pursue his or her studies” (p. 67). An international scholarship program refers to the financial support that a student receives to study abroad. Fisher (2010) argues that the goal of such programs is to equip learners with unique skills that may not be available in local learning institutions. Their significance is in promoting specific skills among the local workforce. When the sponsored candidate is a member of the teaching staff in a given college, the aim is always to promote knowledge in a given faculty.

Conceptual Framework

When sponsoring a student for studies in international universities, it is important to take into consideration different factors. The management must ensure that such a candidate can complete their studies within the required time. It is also necessary to ensure that the intended goals will be achieved when they graduate (Grafton, 2009). The conceptual framework below identifies factors that should be considered before granting a full scholarship to any candidate.

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Factors to consider when granting a full scholarship
Fig. 1. Factors to consider when granting a full scholarship

Samples of These Programs around the World

According to Utley (2011), the concept of offering financial aid to bright but financially challenged students has existed for decades. Education is seen as a powerful tool that helps in eradicating poverty and improving equality in society. In both developed and developing countries, it is common to find government budgets and support needy students to progress in their education. As Fawcett (2016) notes, some of these intelligent students may be forced to drop out of school because they cannot afford it if they are not supported. Some of them can become doctors, pharmacists, nurses, engineers, economists, lawyers, or any other professionals needed to promote economic growth in the country. The need to offer scholarship programs has been on the rise in developing countries. There, the number of those who can fully fund their higher education is limited. However, these countries need a higher number of experts who can help to spur economic growth. Various countries around the world have scholarship programs for their students who wish to study abroad.

In the United Arab Emirates, there is the Presidential Scholarship Program that is given to both undergraduate and graduate students who wish to study outside the country (Bowker, 2010). In Qatar, there is the Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani Scholarship Program that targets a wide range of students (Talhami, 2013). In the United States, there are numerous scholarship programs for bright but needy students. They include the Obama Foundation Scholars Program, Civil Society Leadership Awards, and ICSP Scholarships at the University of Oregon USA (Graham, 2012). Other countries around the world have different scholarship programs. These are meant to ensure that needy students get an opportunity to pursue further studies despite their financial challenges.

Advantages of the Preparation Programs

Scholarship preparation programs are crucial in ensuring that candidates are ready to face academic life in foreign countries. Graham (2012) argues that when students are not fully prepared to manage new academic and socio-economic challenges in foreign countries, they may find completing their studies difficult. The following are the main benefits of a preparation program.

Enabling students to understand cultural diversity in foreign countries. When students leave their home countries to study in foreign universities, one of the factors that they must be ready to deal with is culture shock. Fowler (2013) says that in many cases the culture shock may be overwhelming to a student who was not fully prepared for it. Saudi Arabia is largely considered the cradle land of Islam. It has the holiest cities of Mecca and Medina that Muslims around the world hold dear. The socio-cultural practices in the country are strictly defined by the teachings of the Quran. The mode of dressing, the approach to interaction with peers, and other social practices are based on Islamic principles. When a student who was born and brought up in Saudi Arabia considers going for studies abroad, he or she should be ready to deal with culture shock. One of the main issues that may take time for these students to adapt to is a dress code. Women in western countries prefer casual wear that exposes most of their bodies, a practice that is unacceptable among Muslims. In social settings, male and female students can hug and shake hands freely without feeling awkward. These are social practices that are not widespread back home, and one may not easily adjust to them.

The freedom that men and women have in the social sphere in these countries is uncommon in Saudi Arabia. According to Nestor and Schutt (2014), one of the biggest challenges that international students from the Middle East may face in foreign countries is victimization. Some people in foreign countries associate Islam with extremism, which is a misconception. Students should be ready to cope with such stereotypes. They should also learn how to avoid victimization, especially women who wear a hijab. Cohen (2014) recommends finding friends with similar religious beliefs to avoid solitude because of such discriminative actions of fellow students. As one tries to adjust to the new cultural environment, it is important to appreciate diversity. No one will force Muslim students to abandon their faith. Victimization may be humiliating, but one can make a conscious decision to stick to their culture. However, it is crucial to be considerate at all times. These students should understand that others may be of different faiths and must be embraced.

Reducing the college dropout rate. This preparation program is meant to reduce cases of college dropouts. It is one of the common problems in institutions of higher learning not only in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia but also in other parts of the world. According to Drout (2007), many factors can be attributed to cases of college dropouts. One of the factors is the poor alignment of skills and capabilities with the course selected. When a student chooses to undertake engineering or a medical course, they must have the capacity to pursue such a degree. When an average or a below-average student takes a technical course, demands may be overwhelming, forcing him or her to drop out of college. The interest of a student is another factor. Picardi and Masick (2013) argue that the student should be interested in the course. The management should understand that forcing a student to pursue a program that he or she lacks interest in may make him a potential drop out after a short period. A student should be allowed to choose the most desired course based on their capabilities. When selecting the preferred course, the career guidance and counseling officer may advise them on the most appropriate choice to avoid cases of mismatch, as discussed in the theoretical framework section below.

According to a report by Borgman (2007), one of the most leading reasons why foreign students drop out of college is a culture shock. Sometimes the cultural gap between what one is used to and what he or she has to embrace may be too large to bear. When a student who has been brought up in a strict Islamic family and society is forced to embrace the freestyle culture of the west in London or New York, it may not be easy to adopt. The problem is sometimes compounded by victimization. Racial and religious intolerance is common in the United States and most European countries. The fact that some countries in the Middle East are politically unstable or a few criminal elements in the region such as Al Qaeda and ISIS are involved in major terror activities around the world does not make every Muslim from the region an extremist. These environmental forces might lead one to drop out of college if he or she was not adequately prepared for them. Rovai, Baker, and Ponton (2013) recommend taking time to understand the magnitude of these possible challenges and determining whether one can withstand them before leaving their country to study abroad.

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Improving thinking and research skills. Scholarship programs are often designed to help bright but needy students to achieve their academic dreams. They are sponsored because of the belief that they have the potential to transform the country and its economy through their unique skills. The program is designed to improve their research and thinking skills that can enable them to achieve success in their studies. According to Taylor (2009), when the government is sponsoring studies of an individual in foreign universities, one of the most important review factors is their academic performance. In every academic year, their performance is often evaluated to ensure that they are progressing as per expectations. It means that these students are often under pressure. Failure to excel in their academics is not always an option because it may jeopardize an opportunity to continue getting support from the government. McKinney (2007) argues that these learners should be reminded before they leave the country that their performance is critical to getting continued government support. They will have a reason to remain focused in these foreign universities.

Theoretical Framework

When reviewing the literature, it is important to look at the theoretical framework relevant to the topic of the study, as Bernard (2013) advises. The researcher finds the Mismatch Theory to be the most appropriate framework that can help to enhance knowledge in this field of study. According to Taylor and Albasri (2017), this theory was developed by Justice Antonin Scalia of the United States Supreme Court. It was developed in response to the growing popularity of affirmative action, which seeks to ensure that the best universities admit students of all races, religions, gender, and social backgrounds to enhance equity. However, the Mismatch Theory warns that such an approach can be dangerous. In this theory, Clinard (2015) contends that “any person of any race can be adversely affected if she attends a school where her level of academic preparation is substantially lower than that of her typical classmate” (p. 38). Some of the finest universities around the world have focused on training highly talented individuals in society.

A scenario where average and below-average students sit in the same class with top talented learners creates a mismatch. In this theory, the most likely victim in such an environment will be the average student. When the average student is in a class of the top talented student, learning becomes difficult. Teachers will assume that such a learner is as talented as others and little attention will be paid to providing a lot of details in class because students are expected to do their research. On the other hand, teachers in colleges handling average students know that they have to spend more time with their students to help them to understand relevant concepts before they can be allowed to do their research. Yanow and Schwartz-Shea (2014) observe that an average student attending an ordinary university is more likely to benefit than an average student who finds his way to a college for talented students. In many cases, the poor performance of the average or below average student in these top universities may reflect poorly on them.

The fact that they cannot keep up with other students can be discouraging. It will result in frustration, and it can be worse if they are ridiculed or segregated by their colleagues who consider them academic dwarfs. Such students may consider dropping out of college at different stages of learning when they realize that they can no longer withstand the pressure. In this case, a mandatory scholarship preparation program will not only equip learners with the necessary skills to succeed in foreign colleges but will also ensure that they have the intellectual capacity to attend colleges they desire. Of interest will be to avoid a mismatch by sending students to colleges where they will feel frustrated and hence will consider dropping out. The government will be assured of the academic capabilities of every student before deciding whether or not they deserve to be sponsored to study in some of the world’s top universities. Through this program, the government can also advise students to reconsider their choice of college and courses to be pursued.

Data Analysis and Discussion

Analysis

In this section, the focus will be on analyzing the data that was collected from the sampled participants (Tracy, 2013). When the mandatory scholarship preparation program was introduced, every post-graduate student seeking a government scholarship to study abroad had to be enrolled. It is important to start by paying attention to faculties that had the highest representation among youths who want to study abroad (Yin, 2009). Respondents were requested to indicate their faculty. It was necessary to determine if course objectives (principles of research skills in the English language) were clear. The majority of the respondents (22 participants) strongly agreed with the fact that course objectives were clear. 19 participants agreed with this fact, while 6 participants were neutral. None of the respondents had a contrary opinion. A minority (9 respondents) were exempted. Figure 2 below is a summary of the above facts.

Course objectives were clear
Fig. 2. Course objectives were clear

Candidates were lecturers and graduate teaching assistants employed by the University of Jeddah who were planning to pursue their graduate studies in foreign universities. The researcher was interested in determining the number of students who believe that knowledge and communication skills were presented in a clear and straightforward manner. This was an area of interest because it was necessary to establish if the respondents were effectively equipped with communication skills that they would need when they go for further studies in overseas universities. The views of the respondents varied significantly. 9 participants stated that they strongly agree that the knowledge communication skills offered in these courses were clear and critical to their future studies. 8 participants stated that they agree with this fact, while 15 were neutral. 11 students disagreed with this fact while 9 strongly disagreed. There were 4 exceptions. Based on the above statistics, it is clear that the majority of the respondents were not satisfied with the knowledge communication skills. They feel that the scholarship preparation program does not effectively equip them with knowledge communication skills. It means that this issue should be addressed to make the program relevant. Figure 3 below is a summary of the findings made by the respondents on this issue.

Knowledge communication skills
Fig. 3. Knowledge communication skills

The next phase of the analysis focused on mandatory teaching programs for these candidates, and how appropriate they believe they are enhancing their skills and competencies before moving to foreign institutions of higher learning. One of the most important issues that had to be determined was the clarity of course objectives. Students can only pay attention to the scholarship preparation program if they feel objectives are clear and relevant. They need to know the relevance of the course and what is intended for them to achieve. When respondents were asked whether the objectives of the course were clear, 22 of them strongly agreed, while 19 of them agreed with the statement. 6 respondents were neutral, while there were 9 exceptions. None of the students disagreed or strongly disagreed with this statement. It meant that the respondents understood the goals and objectives of the program. They knew what was expected of them and how to realize those expectations. Figure 4 below shows the responses that were obtained from them.

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Course objectives were clear
Fig. 4. Course objectives were clear

After understanding the relevance of the study, the respondents should understand the content of the course. They should comprehend what is taught within the 12-week period that the course lasts. The set objectives can only be realized if the candidates understand them. Participants were asked if they believed that course procedures enhance their understanding of Islamic education. It is necessary for candidates to feel that procedures and assignments given to them during the training period are in line with their religious principles. When asked the question, 20 participants strongly felt that procedures and assignments given during the course supported Islamic education. 15 students agreed, while 17 were neutral. 2 students disagreed, and there were no exceptions. It means that a significant majority felt that the training enhance Islamic education. Figure 5 below is a summary of that fact.

Course procedures and assignments enhance Islamic education
Fig. 5. Course procedures and assignments enhance Islamic education

The researcher was also interested in determining whether respondents felt that the amount of writing and other classwork promoted their computer skills. As previously stated, these educators were requested to stop working and concentrate on the program once they were selected. It was important to ensure that candidates felt that the nature of the program was engaging enough to justify leaving their teaching job. One of the main issues that these students had to focus on was gaining computer skills that would make it easy for them to study abroad. 16 of the respondents strongly agreed with the statement while another 15 agreed. 9 participants were neutral, 4 disagreed, and 3 strongly disagreed. There were 9 exceptions. Most of the candidates felt that the work they were doing was enough to equip them with the necessary computer skills. Only a few had a contrary opinion. Figure 6 below is a summary of responses received from participants.

The amount of work enhanced computer skills
Fig. 6. The amount of work enhanced computer skills

The next area of focus was the determination of the psychological knowledge that the candidates felt they gained from the preparation program. As the name suggests, this program was meant to empower candidates to enhance their ability to adapt and succeed in their new environment. It aimed at imparting skills that would enable them to overcome the expected challenges and take full advantage of opportunities that come their way. The researcher wanted to know if candidates felt that the goal had been realized. 17 of the respondents strongly agreed with the statement that they gained psychological knowledge from the course. 13 participants also agreed with the statement. 13 were neutral, 8 disagreed while 5 strongly disagreed. There were no exceptions. Therefore, it is apparent that the majority felt that they gained psychological knowledge that can be instrumental when they go to study in foreign countries. Figure 7 below is a summary of findings made on this question.

I gained knowledge of psychology from this course
Fig. 7. I gained knowledge of psychology from this course

It was necessary to determine if the participants had gained statistical knowledge from the course. Irrespective of their areas of specialization, it was necessary for these candidates to have proper statistical knowledge before moving to foreign institutions of higher learning. The learners were to state whether the statistical knowledge gained through this program was sufficient. When asked this question, 9 stated that they strongly agree, while 14 stated that they agree with the statement that the knowledge provided was sufficient. 12 of them stated that they are neutral to the issue. It means that a slight majority felt that the course was appropriate for them as it equipped them with the statistical knowledge they would need in their further studies. 10 students noted that they disagree with this statement while 4 of them strongly disagreed. There were 7 exceptions. Figure 8 below is the summary of the finding.

I gained statistical knowledge from this course
Fig. 8. I gained statistical knowledge from this course

Finally, it was necessary to get the views of the respondents on whether they felt that the training was properly equipped for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) that is mandatory in most English-speaking foreign universities. As a new program that is taking shape, policymakers need to know if the program is effective in such areas to determine whether it is worth spending time and resources on. Many students fail to gain entry to their preferred institutions because of their inability to pass this exam. Some are forced to take additional courses to enable them to gain the English language and literature skills that can earn them entry into these foreign institutions. When asked whether they felt the course properly prepared them for TOEFL, 12 strongly agreed that it enhanced their capacity to pass such exams. Another 7 agreed with the statement. The statistical analysis shows that a slight majority of the participants feel that the program should be implemented when other students will be interested in getting a scholarship to study in foreign countries in the future because it enhances their capacity to pass TOEFL. 18 of them were neutral. 1 strongly felt it does not help in this area, while another 3 stated that they do not agree with its effectiveness. There were 15 exceptions. Based on the statistical significance, one can conclude that this preparation program should be implemented because of its benefits. Figure 9 below is a summary of the findings of the study.

The course equipped me for TOEFL
Fig. 9. The course equipped me for TOEFL

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is just as important as TOEFL. When asked if they feel the course improved their ability to pass IELTS, 29 respondents strongly agreed while 13 agreed with the statement. 10 were neutral, 2 disagreed, and none strongly disagreed. There were 2 exceptions. Figure 10 below is a summary of the findings.

The course equipped me for IELTS
Fig. 10. The course equipped me for IELTS

It was also necessary to determine if the course equipped them with The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT). When asked if they feel the course improved their ability to pass the GMAT, 7 respondents strongly agreed while 6 agreed with the statement. 18 were neutral, 1 disagreed, and 1 strongly disagreed. There were 23 exceptions. Figure 11 below is a summary of the findings.

The course equipped me for GMAT
Fig. 11. The course equipped me for GMAT

Graduate Record Examinations were another area of focus in this training. When asked if they feel the course improved their ability to pass GRE, 20 respondents strongly agreed 11 agreed with the statement. 13 were neutral, 1 disagreed, and none strongly disagreed. There were 11 exceptions. Figure 12 below is a summary of the findings.

The course equipped me for GRE
Fig. 12. The course equipped me for GRE

Discussion

The compulsory scholarship preparation program that was introduced at the University of Jeddah for postgraduate students seeking to pursue their studies outside the country is one of its kind in the country. This new approach is meant to ensure that learners are taken through rigorous 12-week training meant to offer them practical skills needed in foreign countries. As Boddewyn (2008) observes, it is true that the government has invested a lot of resources into improving local institutions of higher learning. Various new universities have been commissioned and the previously existing ones improved to meet the global standards of education.

The major improvements witnessed in these institutions have reduced the demand for local students to travel abroad to further their studies. However, Gregory and Ell (2007) note that despite this improvement, some learners find it necessary to travel abroad for their postgraduate studies. Most of them have justified reasons why it is necessary for them to travel out of the country to further their studies. Taylor and Albasri (2017) observe that many local universities lack the capacity to train learners in some specialized fields of medicine, technology, and other pure sciences. For instance, acupuncture is an area in the field of medicine that integrates modern methods of treatment and traditional Chinese medicine. This concept is becoming popular in various parts of the world, and evidence-based studies suggest that it is effective in managing some complex diseases. Local medical students who may want to pursue this line of medicine may be forced to travel out of the country to gain knowledge.

According to Wolf and Silverberg (2009), some students who go to foreign universities fund their postgraduate studies. However, others have to rely on the direct support of the government of Saudi Arabia through various relevant agencies. When graduate students expect to be supported by the government, Alhalabi, Bawazir, Mohammad, and Sarirete (2017) argue that it is appropriate to ensure that they achieve desired goals. Sometimes these studies are funded by local universities, especially if it is one of their teaching staff members. Before one can receive the scholarship, it is only fair for the institution to ensure that it will benefit from such an undertaking. The program tries to identify unique areas of knowledge that learners should improve on before moving to foreign countries. Statistical and computer skills will be needed by these learners to improve their capacity to excel in foreign countries.

It is in their interest to ensure that such learners come back with new skills that can help improve their department. When these candidates consider settling in foreign countries after their studies, it will be a major loss to the concerned institution. The time and resources used in training the candidate will be lost. The institution will have also lost an employee who was expected to return with better skills. In case the candidate fails to complete the program in the foreign university, it will also be another loss to the institution because the desired goals will not have been realized. These are reasons why some institutions are creating mechanisms that would ensure that these candidates complete their studies in foreign countries successfully and return to their country as planned. At the University of Jeddah, the compulsory preparation program has been initiated as a means of enhancing the success of these learners.

The relevance of the program. The compulsory scholarship preparation that was initiated at the University of Jeddah in the last academic year (2017-2018) is meant to impart practical skills that would enable learners to cope with new forces in foreign countries. The analysis of primary data and the review of the literature suggest that the program is critical for the local students going to further their studies in western countries. Saudi Arabia has a strict Islamic culture that defines the socio-economic practices of people. Religion defines modes of dressing, the interaction between people of different gender, the language that one should use in different social settings, etc. Culture shock is one of the significant factors that may affect an ability of a learner to complete studies in foreign countries. A student born and brought up in Saudi Arabia may have a problem adapting to new cultural systems and norms. Another major problem is victimization. Racial and religious intolerance is still a major problem in some of these countries. The new program gives them proper preparation for the expected challenges and how they can overcome them. For instance, based on the fact that it equips learners with the knowledge that can make them pass their TOEFL exams, it is clear that this course will make students gain quick entry into their preferred institutions of higher learning in foreign countries.

According to Mehra et al. (2014), cases, where one is verbally or physically attacked because of religious affiliation, are common in the United States. The problem of racism is more pronounced in some universities than in others. Before a student can choose the most appropriate university to pursue further studies in, there are the realities that should be understood. The program is meant to give these learners a clear picture of what to expect once they go to foreign countries. The tests given in the program are meant to assess the level of preparedness of these learners before they can travel. Assessors understand destination countries and would determine the ability of candidates to cope based on answers they provide to specific questions. When it is established that they are not yet ready to travel abroad, relevant advice or further training can be given to enhance the practical skills of the candidates.

Conclusion and Recommendations

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the leading economy in the Middle East. The government has invested heavily in the field of education to ensure that the local labor force has the right skills to push the economy to levels of success greater than what is currently the case. The government, through various local public institutions, has been offering scholarships to postgraduate students who wish to study abroad. However, some of these students fail to complete their studies there because of numerous challenges they face. Others consider settling in western countries after completing their studies, a scenario that causes a brain drain in the local economy. At the University of Jeddah, a new compulsory scholarship preparation program has been introduced to equip the selected candidates with practical skills that can enhance their ability to survive in foreign countries. This program also encourages learners to come back to the country after graduation by outlining reasons why their return is critical. The review of literature and analysis of primary data have confirmed that this program is critical to enhancing the success of students wishing to pursue their postgraduate studies abroad. The following recommendation should be considered as the management of the University of Jeddah implements the new program:

  • A regular review of the course content is necessary to ensure that emerging issues in foreign countries are captured in the training program.
  • Changing socio-political factors should always be given priority;
  • The course should assess the intellectual capacity of candidates to undertake their selected courses. A scholarship should only be given if it is confirmed that candidates have the capacity to complete selected programs;
  • The course should promote multi-stakeholder engagement. Locals who have lived in these foreign countries in the recent past should be invited to talk to candidates about the expected challenges.

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