Recently, I received an invitation letter from the Saudi Embassy Cultural Bureau in London. On behalf of the King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, the Ambassador HRH Prince Mohamed bin Nawaf bin Al-Saud invited me along with a group of other postgraduate students across a range of disciplines, who are studying in the UK. We have been selected because we have been deemed to have achieved excellence during our studies and we are held as an example of distinguished post graduate students. The Ambassador HRH Mohammed bin Nawaf bin Al-Saud celebrated with us, together with the celebrations of Saudi National Day on 24th September in London. We are celebrating our 82nd Saudi National Day this year, which is a very important event that is in memory of the final reunification of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by King Abdulaziz in 1932. King Abdulaziz’ mission was to bring peace to region and to restore Islam.
At the time I found out, I was so happy that the first thing I did was call my husband and children to inform them. I then attached the invitation letter and forwarded it to my supervisors, friends and colleagues to share my happiness. I was so excited each time when I thought about the celebration day. I prepared my bag and the first thing I put in was my camera! I wanted to take some photos to never forget this valuable event.
Celebration started with a reading from the Quran and welcoming speeches. Then Dr. Faisal Al-Abukhail (director of the Saudi Cultural Bureau) spoke about the progress of achievement in Saudi Arabia. He said that the Kingdom’s has allocated more than 25 % of the State’s total expenditures and more than 100,000 students study overseas in 2012.
Following this, the Ambassador addressed and congratulated all of us. He described how he was delighted and proud of our achievements. After that he also expressed his hopes that all Saudi students with overseas scholarships would be able to utilize their distinct experiences and transform the Kingdom into a knowledge based society on their return. After his speech we were presented with certificates. In terms of my selection as the distinguished student, it was due to a number of achievements. I graduated in 1997 with a first class honors degree in Nursing from the King Abdulaziz University, and then achieved a first class Master’s degree in Nursing from the King Saud University in 2005. Recently, I presented my at an international Conference in Egypt in 2007, and last academic year (2011) I was the winner of my research poster during the SONMS Annual Postgraduate Symposium. Since then, my poster has been accepted to be presented at the 38th Annual Meeting of the International Society for Paediatric and adolescents Diabetes (ISPAD), to be held Istanbul, Turkey from 10-13 October, 2012.
I think it is difficult to express my feelings and I will never ever forget this spectacular ceremony and celebration. Really it was like a dream and the opportunity of a lifetime. I am currently collecting and analysing my project data. I hope my achievements will continue with my project and I will have good results, be able to achieve my research project aims, and will be able to introduce new strategies for diabetes education in Saudi Arabia.
I’d like to express my special thanks to Dr. Katie, my supervisors and my colleagues for their advice, support, guidance and encouragement, which is always timely throughout my PhD study. Last, but not least, I wish to thank my husband and my children for their everlasting patience and their encouragement. Without their support maybe I will never be one of the outstanding students and achieve excellence during my studies.