NYUAD alumni Jan 20 London

In January, before social distancing became the new normal, I had the chance to catch up in person with alumni of NYU Abu Dhabi based both in London and Paris.

The one question I asked all of them was: “What is the one thing you wish you’d known before joining NYU Abu Dhabi?” Their spontaneous responses made me smile, made me pause, made me reflect. Here is a snapshot of their answers, in bite-size format.

The NYUAD space is amazing

NYUAD swimming pool
NYUAD Olympic-size swimming pool

“Make use of the extracurricular activities, especially for sports. You’re never going to see such facilities again in your life. I played football, used the pool, went to the gym…”
– Gloria, Class of 2018

“The dining hall is actually a nice study space!”
– Meitha, Class of 2018

Academics can surprise you

NYUAD library
The gorgeous NYUAD library

“Take classes that sound fun. Don’t just take the requirements, take classes that are interesting.”
– Cristobal, Class of 2019

“I wish I’d known that my professors could be more than just teachers but also friends and advisors, even post-university.”
– Sarah, Class of 2019

Take care of yourself

Feet in Abu Dhabi sand
Enjoying the soft Abu Dhabi sand!

“Decorate your dorm-room, at least before senior year! Don’t be lazy, make it a good place to be. We had a balloon toy, a plant, a rug, and…. a giant Muhammad Ali poster! You know, your essentials.”
– Andrew, Class of 2018

“Enjoy things and live a little! Don’t worry, don’t work too hard.”
– Merima, 2018

Keep going!

Footsteps on Abu Dhabi beach
On Saadiyat Beach

“There is a degree of uncertainty and risk that comes with everything new. You’ll be okay making changes and will become more confident to make choices.”
– Harrison, Class of 2014 

“Persevering does pay off. Even if it’s challenging in the beginning, know that all this hard work does pay off.”
– Daniel, Class of 2014

Go out and explore

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque at dusk

“College is about studying but also what you do outside the classroom. Find a balance. Go study in a café in the city, go take a walk, leave campus. To make the most of the NYUAD experience, you need to take in the people, the city, explore the country. Also, be open, listen, and learn from others.”
– Marie-Claude, Class of 2018

“Get off campus and into the city. Go get shawarma, there’s a nice place right by Sama Tower.”
– Illma, Class of 2018

And finally… BONUS ANSWERS!

NYUAD palm trees
Famous NYUAD plaza palm trees
What is the one thing you wish you'd known before starting at NYU Abu Dhabi?

“Nothing! Having no expectations was the best part of the experience!”
– Fatih, Class of 2019

“That it would be unpredictable. I appreciated not knowing, it was an adventure.”
– Oscar, Class of 2015

Lisa is a Senior Assistant Director of Admissions for NYU Abu Dhabi and the Global Admissions Team, based in the London office.
Born and raised in France, Lisa also lived in Denmark and spent a couple of years in leafy upstate New York.  She is a dedicated gardener, a keen traveler to India and Japan, and loves watching the tennis at Wimbledon. She now spends her free time playing with her little rescue terrier dog, Cooper.