As New York University students take first steps into future, some tell KT what drew them to the varsity.
Nothing says nervous and excited at the same time more than beginning a new academic journey. After a week-long orientation on campus, class of 2019 took the first step into their future at New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) recently.
Hailed as one of UAE's best universities and one of the most difficult to get into, students from around the world come here to study. More and more Emiratis, too, are getting accepted here.
For some, the attraction is the education value NYUAD is appreciated for internationally, while for others it is the connectivity and the travel involved as the university runs classes not just in Abu Dhabi, but in Europe, US and even Africa.
Khaleej Times met three students from the class of 2019 to find out about their academic choices and dreams for the future.
I chose NYUAD over NYU - New York: Khaled Al Hosani
"During my senior year in high school, I really wanted to study abroad. I got acceptance letters from two universities abroad - NYU - New York, and Boston University, but then I got an acceptance letter from NYUAD.
I changed my mind during the candidate weekend when I met a lot of cool people. It was the way they talked and the philosophy behind the place that convinced me.
I didn't want a university where I would just study and get a bunch of degrees. I liked the campus environment here. In New York, there is a cluster of buildings, so if you want to go from one class to another, you have to cross the street and go into a different building. Here, everything is on one campus, the classrooms are smaller, everything is tied together, so I liked it better here.
I would have been in the class of 2018, I even attended the orientation week last year, but then I had to leave for the national service.
I'm thinking of majoring in computer science and I'm also hoping for 'concentration' in economics. Here, concentrations are like minors and anyone who majors in computer science has to take a concentration in either natural sciences, mathematics or economics.
I don't know if I'll end up doing Masters or PhD in computer science or if I'll develop software or create video games, I just know this is a field I like.
Being from the UAE, everyone was asking me a lot of questions about where to find things, so it was cool.
When I told my parents about joining NYUAD, they were happy. My mom was specially happy because I stayed in the country."
I wanted to come back home: Fatma Al Muhairbi, 17, from Abu Dhabi
"Living most of my life abroad, I wanted to come back home and NYUAD was the best option I had. I also got accepted at Sorbonne and Zayed University, but I preferred NYUAD. During the candidate week, I got to meet a lot of people and they were really nice.
Sorbonne was also very nice, but all classes are in French and although I learnt French for three years, I feel more comfortable with the English language.
My dad works as 0an ambassador. First we lived in the US for a few years. We went to Pakistan when I was in the third grade, then finally we went to Tashkent in Uzbekistan, where I lived for 10 years.
My parents are still in Tashkent, so I live with my older sister and brother here. Since our home is not too far, I'm not living on campus.
My parents wanted me to come back home and were happy with my choice. They said this is a prestigious university and if I go here I would have a lot of opportunities.
For my major, I chose economics, but I'm not really sure, I think I'll play around because economics has a lot of math. I don't have any favourite subjects at the moment, but in school I liked geography, so I'll keep my options open. There is still time to choose and NYU gives us the chance to take time and try different things.
The orientation week was overwhelming. It was very busy, but it gave us the opportunity to get to know the staff and make new friends. I think it was worth it."
It was a risk, but I'm here!: Alvaro Yanez
"I heard about the university first from an NYUAD upper class student, who was in my school in Peru. Then, another close friend of mine came here and that's when I began researching about this university.
When the time came to research for a university, the NYUAD looked like a clear fit for me.
I only applied here because I knew this was what I really wanted. It was a risk, but I'm here!
If you exclude the candidate week, this is the first time I am visiting the UAE. I have never travelled outside the American continent, so this is the very first time I flew over the Atlantic.
My parents were really surprised. They told me they always knew I was going to study abroad because they saw it in me and that my home country was going to be too small for me, but they definitely didn't expect Abu Dhabi.
Before I arrived, I knew Abu Dhabi was this very cool place that was really international. The first time I heard about it was at the MUN (Model United Nations), where we simulate what the United Nations do at school or university level. When I went to an MUN simulation in Harvard, the country that I got was the UAE. This was two years before applying to the university and it was the first time I researched about the UAE.
For me, one of the biggest changes coming here was having a roommate. Living on campus and sharing a room is new to me and I'm slowly getting used to it. My roommate and I have this great dynamic and we divide our jobs really well.
I wouldn't call my accommodation a room, but a small department. It has a common living room with a small kitchen and on either side of the common area are two double bedrooms.
My roommate is from Montenegro. I didn't know about his country and that was our first conversation. In the other bedroom are two Polish guys. We all met during the candidate week, so we were really happy to see each other again.
The university has put a lot of effort to balance the mental and physical well-being of students.
For now, I'm undecided about my major. I want to go into medicine later. I know I'm going around a bit, but I think it's definitely worth it because I'm gaining so much along the way, learning about human interaction and diversity that I wouldn't get if I went directly to medical school.
I'm open to anything in the medical field, but right now what I want is to be a neurosurgeon. I know it's 15 years of study, but I don't know what will happen along the way, and that fascinates me."
Khalid Alhousani, Computer Science, from Abu Dhabi - During Interview With Students at New York University Abu Dhabiab out their academic Choices at NYUAB Saadiyat island.- for Silvia Story - Abu Dhabi- K. Photo By Nezar Balout