Exterior of a building on the NYU Abu Dhabi campus


The first time Lin Ye arrived on NYU Abu Dhabi’s campus, she knew it was the right fit. “After my candidate weekend, I had a gut feeling I would end up there,” she says. And she was right. Today, Lin is now an NYU Abu Dhabi alumna and a Schwarzman Scholar. She graduated in 2022 with a double major in Psychology and Philosophy and a minor in Mathematics.

“Abu Dhabi—the Middle East in general—is a place of booming opportunities,” says Lin, who is from Shanghai, China. “I wanted to be there. I wanted to see what it was like and take this leap of faith. In the end, I’m super happy with my decision.”

Lin Ye in her graduation attire
Utilizing Campus Resources

Without a doubt, Lin made the most of her time at NYU Abu Dhabi. She enjoyed the campus’ small class sizes, which helped her build relationships with professors. “You get to know your professors really well and learn a lot from them,” she says. “They give you a lot of feedback on your coursework and are available outside of class for discussions.” Additionally, Lin took advantage of NYU Abu Dhabi’s plethora of resources, building a strong community there. She also worked closely with the Career Development Center and received funding for two summer internships—one with PricewaterhouseCoopers in Stockholm, Sweden, and the other with Bain & Company in Shanghai. Moreover, she directed NYU Abu Dhabi’s first Annual Undergraduate Philosophy Conference and was president of the Chinese Culture Club.

Ultimately, the culmination of these experiences led Lin to apply for the Schwarzman Scholars, one of the world’s most prestigious graduate fellowships. In the Fall of 2022, Lin became one of 140 Schwarzman Scholars at Tsinghua University in Beijing where she focused her studies on global affairs and leadership.

“I applied for the Schwarzman Scholars because I wanted to fill my knowledge gaps in a few places,” Lin says. “First, I wanted to understand China in a systematic way. Second, I wanted to get a basic framework of policy and economics and learn how to use these tools to understand the world as a whole. Studying philosophy and psychology at NYU Abu Dhabi provided me with the perspective and tools to understand human beings in one way. But as a Schwarzman Scholar, the perspective I’m gaining to understand society as a whole really helps.”

The organizing students from NYUAD's Chinese cultural club
Lin Ye, third from the right in the front row, poses with her colleagues at the inaugural China-Gulf Forum in November 2019. Photo courtesy of Lin Ye.
Taking the Initiative

During her sophomore year at NYU Abu Dhabi, Lin cofounded and developed the China-Gulf Forum, the first such student-led forum in the region. “There are a lot of discussions, symposiums, and conferences about China-US relations. But I think China-Middle East and China-Gulf relations will be very important in the coming years,” Lin says. She and her classmates wanted to create something to address both the opportunities and challenges existing between China and the Middle East. “My first year, President Xi Jinping visited the UAE. We were seeing a lot of signs that the relationship between China and the UAE was becoming closer and closer. We quickly realized, ‘We need to explore this.’”

Lin says her team received full support from the University from the very start, including funding from NYU Abu Dhabi Student Life, the NYU Abu Dhabi Institute, and the NYU Abu Dhabi Social Science department. The first China-Gulf Forum took place in 2019, bringing together renowned scholars, business leaders, and cultural specialists from diverse backgrounds. And following graduation, Lin has remained involved with the forum in an advisory role. Moreover, the lessons she learned with the China-Gulf Forum continue to be relevant as a Schwarzman Scholar.

“How do you create something new and take initiative?” she says. “I had the privilege of having the chance to do just that at NYU Abu Dhabi. And I had a lot of support in doing so. That mindset has been really helpful for me now.”

​​Following her time as a Schwarzman Scholar, Lin will begin work as a consultant with McKinsey where she hopes to focus on sustainability related projects. She wants to use her experience to be an amplifier of social justice values. And with the knowledge, skills, and experience she gained at NYU Abu Dhabi and as a Schwarzman Scholar, she’s ready to devote herself to “furthering regional development and empowering others.”

Kelly McHugh-Stewart is a Senior Writer and Strategist for NYU’s University Relations and Public Affairs Office of Marketing Communications, where she seeks out and enjoys telling stories that help people understand the world through a new lens. Kelly holds an MFA in Creative Writing from The New School and a BA in Journalism and Mass Communications from Kansas State University. Her reporting and personal essays have appeared in the New York Times, The Washington Post, Reader’s Digest, CNN Opinion, and Sports Illustrated, among others.