Weill Cornell Medicine – Qatar (WCM-Q) offered 83 students the chance to learn what life is like as a medical student under two of its summer explorer programmes.

The Qatar Medical Explorer Programme (QMEP) and the Pre-College Enrichment Programme (PCEP) provide students with a two-week ‘snapshot’ of what life would be like at WCM-Q by giving them the chance to take a series of classes modeled on the actual curriculum followed by WCM-Q medical students.

The students, aged between 14 and 17, came from a wide variety of schools across Qatar, with international students travelling from Kuwait, Jordan, USA and Canada. Depending on the programme they were on, the students took classes in infectious diseases, neurology, emergency medicine and cancer research, as well as lab safety, the history of medicine, DNA extraction techniques and human anatomy. They also had the chance to take a dissection class in the WCM-Q biology lab, learn about the human heart by working with hi-tech robotic mannequins in the state-of-the-art Clinical Skills and Simulation Centre, and visit Hamad Medical Corporation and Sidra Medicine.


Jude El Shaarawi from Canada, one of the students under the QMEP stream, said she had considered a variety of careers, including teaching and law, but had settled on medicine because of the influence of her aunts and grandfather who had also studied medicine. She is only 14 years old and her father works in Qatar.

I’ve learned many new things as the Canadian curriculum is very different to the one taught here. I’ve learned the names and functions of body parts and new chemistry and biology terms. I’ve never dissected anything in my life, either, and I really enjoyed that. It’s been a really cool experience; everyone is really outgoing and everyone is really nice and they make sure everyone is included in the activities.’

Other highlights of the two-week programme included classes on animal care and use in research, mock interviews, and a chance to get hands-on experience in the premedical labs and to use an ‘anatomage’ table – a technologically advanced electronic anatomy visualisation system. The programme culminated with the students giving presentations about a medicine-related topic and taking part in an academic debate.

By offering sessions on presentation skills, personal development and career guidance, the programmes also provided the students with ample chance to receive feedback to help them develop their soft skills. Maha Al Nuami, who attends Qatar Secondary School, and was under PCEP this summer said she applied to learn more about the university and what the requirements are to apply.

I also wanted new experiences and I‘ve learned a lot: I’ve dissected a frog, which was really interesting; we’ve visited Hamad Hospital and seen the emergency room and the MRI machines and we also visited Sidra, where I would like to work as an obstetrician and gynaecologist.’

The prospective students came from a total of 32 schools and were selected using an online application system very similar to the admissions process for WCM-Q Medical Programme. Selection is based on the candidate’s English skills, demonstrated aptitude for the sciences, their interest in pursuing medicine as a career and their academic achievements. The two programmes – QMEP and PCEP, are part of the summer enrichment series organised annually by the Office of Student Recruitment and Outreach at WCM-Q.

This year, more than 25 faculty, staff, current students and graduates took part in delivering the two programmes. This is also the first year that five selected students will participate in an additional one-week observership programme at Sidra Medicine.

For more information about QMEP and PCEP, visit qatar-weill.cornell.edu.