Portrait of Kevin Nader in Washington Square Park


College is a time to delve deeper into pursuits you value, try out new things to see if they feel like the right fit, and learn about who you are—and who you want to become. And the NYU Shanghai student experience is conducive to exploring your academic and personal interests throughout your college journey. Kevin Nader, a Social Science major on the international relations track, has found community, opportunity, connection, and more during his time at NYU Shanghai.

A student working in a Chinese writing workbook
Why Kevin Chose NYU Shanghai

I have always had a profound interest in both Chinese culture and language,” says Kevin. “I studied Chinese throughout my high school career. Moreover, I participated in an exchange program between my high school and Shishi High School in Chengdu. With that being said, when I saw an opportunity to receive an NYU education in the heart of Shanghai, I knew that was what I wanted to do.”

A group of students attending a class in NYU Shanghai
A Small School Feel in a Big City

Though he was eager for the unexpected, Shanghai’s student-to-faculty ratio of 6-to-1 was important to Kevin. He was looking for a close-knit classroom experience, and he found it. “The best part of my academic experience is definitely the connections I’ve formed with my professors. The classes are small, which allows plenty of one-on-one time with the professor,” he shares. “Furthermore, the professors here are so well connected. They are always available to help their students with regards to internships, schoolwork, or just life in general.”

Skyline of the city of Shanghai
Adjusting to the City and the University

The most challenging part of Kevin’s NYU Shanghai student experience was acclimating to the city of Shanghai itself. “I come from a small town in New Jersey with only 8,000 people. It was a massive change moving to one of the largest cities in the world,” he explains. “Luckily, I made great friends who supported me through this transition.” The most challenging part of Kevin’s academic journey has been time management. “I’m going to be completely honest: if you come to NYU Shanghai, get ready for a demanding workload,” says Kevin. “This, compounded with the desire to explore a city as vibrant as Shanghai, can create some tough times. Luckily, the school does a great job supporting its students with things such as the Academic Resource Center, among other resources.”

Students hanging out in front of the NYU Shanghai campus
An Academic Experience Only Found at NYU Shanghai

Joining an international student body is one of the best parts of the NYU Shanghai student experience, according to Kevin. “The diversity of views adds a lot to the overall experience both in and out of the classroom,” he says. “It’s tons of fun getting to learn about such a wide range of cultures.”

And the environment of NYU Shanghai also helped Kevin select a major. He opted for Social Science with an international relations track. “I chose my major based on the unique position in which NYU Shanghai is situated,” he explains. “With the ever-increasing complexity of U.S.-China relations, as well as its importance on the global stage, NYU Shanghai is one of the best places to study this topic. Studying U.S.-China relations in a room full of not only American and Chinese people but also people of so many other nationalities really goes far in encompassing all of the viewpoints of today’s pressing issues.”

Connecting to Interests Beyond the Classroom

The small yet extremely involved community at NYU Shanghai provides countless opportunities to explore your interests. “I had never done Model UN before,” says Kevin. “But at NYU Shanghai, I had the opportunity to travel to the Middle East to participate in a conference. Not only that, I also took a key leadership position in planning NYU Shanghai’s very own conference.” To Kevin, this feels like something that can only happen at NYU Shanghai. Kevin also keeps his longstanding love of theatre alive as a set designer for the Thespians Society. What’s more, he’s found friends on the soccer team. “The team has an extremely strong sense of community. It’s a great experience getting to participate in the Shanghai college soccer league. Furthermore, our athletic staff are amazing and really care about their work.”

Cat has been telling NYU stories for nearly 10 years with NYU’s University Relations and Public Affairs Office of Marketing Communications and is constantly inspired by what the people of this community make real. She’s also a proud alum of the NYU MFA program in creative writing, and runs a literary magazine in her free time. When she needs to get away from words, she does work in her neighborhood gardens and parks.