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“Corvinus provides a 360-degree experience” – The PhD story of Ahmed Al Ghdani

2024-03-21 16:52:00

How to research artificial intelligence expectations and conduct PhD studies abroad with four children? The unique story of Ahmed Al Ghdani, a second-year student of the Corvinus Doctoral School of Sociology and Communication, presents true commitment to academia and the opportunities the university provides.

Budapesti Corvinus Egyetem

“I feel like it’s the right choice for me and my family to come and study here”, said Ahmed, who came to Hungary from Oman with his wife (who is doing a PhD as well) and four children. Despite the culture shock his children have, and the language barrier they experienced when they arrived, after one and a half years, they are enjoying living in Budapest. “Hungary is a welcoming country. My kids were able to find friends and the people here are mostly helpful and supportive.”  

Ahmed is an academic. He has been teaching at a public university in Oman for over 12 years, and the time has come to earn a PhD. He won the Stipendium Hungaricum scholarship and is on study leave now so he can completely focus on his studies. He has a background in education and applied linguistics; however, he has always been interested in sociology. “When I applied for the Sociology Doctoral Program, I found a contemporary topic that combines sociology with science and technology, particularly Artificial Intelligence (AI). The main drive for me is my deep interest in the topic.”  

In his research, he aims to investigate which narratives the government and the media spread about artificial intelligence in his home country. “These narratives shape policymaking and people’s expectations towards AI-based technology and robotics”, Ahmed explained. He also pointed out that the main governmental narrative is that AI-based technologies create a more sustainable economy and better future. Still, he is also interested in how university students and experts would interpret the storyline of AI.  

While he is preparing for the comprehensive exam, that is the first milestone in the doctoral program at the end of the second year, he learns a lot from peers. The research topics of sociology doctoral students are diverse and mostly interdisciplinary. “We have a Research Forum at the end of each semester where we listen to other PhD students from our doctoral school present their research. These occasions are helping me a lot to shape my plans and have a broader understanding of my field.” 

Since the start of his studies, he has not just developed his research skills but also his time management. As he constantly balances family time and studies, he had to improve in this area. “I’m trying to make use of these challenges and create opportunities out of them.” Ahmed is also involved in courses. He supports the work of professors at the Department of Sociology. “You will come here with a certain kind of knowledge, but once you interact with your professors, fellow PhD students, and even undergraduate students, it will make you think. I developed my critical thinking skills and deep interest of the contemporary issues within sociology. Moreover, you are treated as a colleague rather than a student by your professors and a family member by your fellow PhD students”.  

Ahmed also appreciates the facilities of the university. “Having all the buildings close to each other and seeing a brand-new campus opening for the community are great experiences for me.” He was also involved in the lively international student life when he started his studies. He took part in a student club for English speakers and is planning to use the university’s sports facilities. “Meeting Hungarians and other people from different countries who speak English is a good opportunity to expand your network. Corvinus provides a 360-degree experience with these extracurricular opportunities.” 

Written by Tünde Taxner 

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GEN.:2024.07.16. - 16:23:25