At Global Education & Training and the Intensive English Institute (IEI), we are proud to host the KAUST Gifted Student Program (KGSP) Foundation Year, in coordination with King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the Institute of International Education (IIE).
Through the Foundation Year at Illinois, high school graduates participating in KGSP experience university life at Illinois, attend rigorous foundation courses in a challenging academic environment, and acquire the skills necessary to prepare competitive college applications and pursue a successful undergraduate education experience at a top U.S. university.
King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) was founded in Saudi Arabia in 2008. A graduate research university of science and technology, KAUST is a catalyst for innovation, economic development, and social prosperity - in Saudi Arabia and the world. The university has a special focus on four areas of global significance: food, water, energy, and the environment.
The KAUST Gifted Student Program (KGSP) was established in 2008, creating a pool of highly-qualified Saudi students within the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math. As a fully-funded scholarship, the KGSP supports the Kingdom’s most talented youth as they earn STEM-based bachelor’s degrees at premier U.S. universities, and in preparation for future graduate studies at KAUST. Throughout their undergraduate programs, recipients receive unmatched academic, developmental, and pre-professional support.
THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS & KGSP
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is a global leader in research, discovery, and innovation and is recognized for academic strengths across all disciplines, especially as a leader in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education. Illinois has over 12,000 international students, and is the #1 global destination for international students.
Our campus has built a robust institutional infrastructure, Illinois International, centered on the Office of the Vice Provost for International Affairs and Global Strategies to support our programs and services for international students and promote comprehensive internationalization across our entire campus. At the University of Illinois, KGSP students are part of an exceptional educational environment, where international perspectives are integral to our institutional culture.
GET has hosted three individual cohorts of students from the KGSP program, for each academic year. There are six program sites in the United States, with 80 Foundation Year students in total during academic year 2019-2020.
Since 2017, GET has hosted 42 students from Saudi Arabia, and 10 KGSP students are currently enrolled at the University of Illinois as full-time undergraduate students. There has been a 100 percent success rate in placing Foundation Year students from the University of Illinois in undergraduate studies at highly competitive U.S. higher education institutions. Currently, 380 undergraduate KGSP students are enrolled at 52 U.S. colleges and universities.
Our twenty-five years of experience as an office hosting training programs for international professionals and students shows a demonstrated ability to provide a transformative experience for any person seeking to improve themselves through education at a world-class higher education institution.
Working in tandem with educators and administrators at KAUST and IIE, there is also a full-time program manager on site at the University of Illinois. GET and IEI staff member, Anna Kasten, oversees and advises the KGSP students on academic success, cultural adjustment, and personal/health issues. She also serves as the primary liaison between students, faculty, and staff at Illinois, KGSP program adminstrators, and the IIE logistical support team.
At the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, KGSP students are provided with immediate access to a solid infrastructure to support international students on campus. Illinois' international mission is led by the Office of the Vice Provost for International Affairs and Global Strategies, which is the governing unit for Illinois International. Illinois International comprises much of the large institutional infrastructure that supports and promotes comprehensive campus internationalization at Illinois, recipient of the Senator Paul Simon Award for Campus Internationalization in 2008.
The Foundation Year at Illinois program is designed and managed by GET, in collaboration with IEI. The two units combine their institutional capacities and complementary strengths to liaise with KAUST and IEI, manage program logistics, foster connections with campus partners, oversee the academic curriculum and instruction, and coordinate a variety of services to support the participating Saudi students. IEI also plays a crucial role in enabling the program, by issuing I-20s for the student visas, and delivering significant portions of the curriculum in the fall and spring terms to help the KGSP students meet the goals of improving their English proficiency and enhancing their college readiness.
Collaboration and support from additional campus units, as well as community partners, are key to the success of the KGSP program at Illinois. Faculty and instructors in Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Mathematics, and Physics; essay coaches from the Writers Workshop; instructors and tutors from Tutor Doctor; and professionals from the Counseling Center and McKinley Health Center, among many others - all contribute significantly to the academic growth and personal wellness of the students during their year at Illinois.
“In the classroom, KGSP students stand out for their strong academic skills, determination, and wide-ranging interests. They are STEM students who are not simply focused on STEM – They are inquisitive, engaging individuals with a passion for learning and drive to succeed that is contagious to others.”
“Their intellectual curiosity stimulates positive classroom interactions and fosters an atmosphere conducive to academic growth and development. KGSP students are in a class of their own in the way they are open to new ideas. As instructors, it is a privilege to work with such motivated, talented young people who will certainly go on to achieve great things.” - Anna Kasten, KGSP Program Manager
The KGSP Foundation Year at the University of Illinois has been very carefully designed to meet the needs of each gifted student and ensure each individual receives instruction and advice directly addressing his or her needs. We are confident the program will prove successful for the students’ academic careers, and cannot express enough how privileged we are to have been given this opportunity to work with such a gifted group of students.