Hedaya Al Hammadi

Master in City & Regional Planning (University of California, Berkeley)

Hedaya Al HammadiAttending University of California at Berkeley, and Iowa State University were a life-changing experience and one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. It helped me develop experiences that classroom setting would never provide, such as getting to know people from other cultures, having chance to introduce my culture to others and being involved in different events that are only provided in prestigious education institutions. I was able to present my research on Emirati Neighborhoods and Housing Affordability in Abu Dhabi in events to experts in my field, an opportunity that I could never ask for anywhere else. Being immersed in an entirely new cultural and academic setting might be frightening at first, but it is also exciting. It is an opportunity to discover new strengths and abilities and conquer new challenges. I learned to adapt to situations that are unfamiliar to me and respond in effective ways, learned time management and punctuality and respect other people’s time.  Studying in the U.S broadened my range of thinking; I have new ideas and perspectives about myself and culture. The experience strengthened those values. Now, I value my culture more than I ever did and see it in new eyes.

The knowledge and skills sets I gained will lead to successfully practice planning in a variety of urban, metropolitan, and regional settings. I believe I can bring my planning education and knowledge from abroad, coupled with my understanding of the culture and country to be part of successful city planning in the Emirate. As a future Emirati planner, I look forward to become part of the local talent that is planning Abu Dhabi for the next generations.

College is absolutely a period of new discovery and adventure. I believe that college is a time for learning – but not only about academics.  It is a time for learning about our own. Self personal growth and development are key components of the college years and I am convinced that I grew tremendously throughout this period.