Getting in sync with 113 nationalities at NYU Abu Dhabi
Saud Al Sanousi, author of The Bamboo Stalk, made a surprise visit at the NYU Abu Dhabi campus, where he talked about his novel and signed copies for students, faculty and staff. - Supplied photo
Abu Dhabi - "It was one of the strangest weeks I've ever had in my life," said Jack."
Published: Thu 1 Sep 2016, 12:00 AM
Last updated: Thu 1 Sep 2016, 2:00 AM
Jack Adeney from Salisbury, England, was among the over 300 students accepted at New York University - Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) from around 10,000 who applied this academic year.
Prior to starting classes this week, Jack attended the "Marhaba" week at the university's campus on Saadiyat island, a week when got familiar with the NYUAD's campus and met his roommates for the first time - one from Nepal and the other from Australia.
With a student body of 113 nationalities, NYUAD may be fairly intimidating, particularly for a teenager coming from a quiet English city. "It was one of the strangest weeks I've ever had in my life," said Jack.
"There were so many things going on at such a different pace; it was absolutely amazing to try to get over the culture shock."
During Marhaba, NYUAD's welcome week, which took place from August 20-29, the students got introduced to the campus, to their teachers, to each other, their classes and the university's art centre.
Just as in previous years, once they arrived on campus, which this year was from August 17-19, the new students were given a book to read, which not only wet their appetite for the coming academic year, but also introduced them into the culture of Middle East.
The chosen novel this summer was The Bamboo Stalk by Kuwaiti author and winner of the 2013 International Prize for Arabic Fiction Saud Al Sanousi.
On August 25, the students were even surprised with a visit of the author to the NYUAD campus, where he talked about his novel and sign copies for students, faculty, and staff.
The Bamboo Stalk is a story of identity, race, home, family and the perceptions of society. It follows the life of a teenage boy, José, who is born of a Filipino mother who worked as a maid for his rich Kuwaiti father. The book is set in both the Philippines and Kuwait, and subsequently deals with the repercussions of appearing different, being of mixed race and finding identity, a family and a place to belong.
During the Marhaba week, students were given the opportunity - for the first time - to discuss the novel with the author and they also had to participate in a writing seminar about the book.