Dear Incoming Freshmen,
What’s it like to be an incoming freshman at NYUAD this year? You’re working out what to pack, stalking your peers on Facebook, feeling ill-prepared, impatient, getting excited to start university.
You’re looking up roommates, names of countries and places you’ve never heard of, rapidly reading about the political history of the Persian Gulf.
You’re also regularly checking on the status of the US embassy closures and travel updates, scanning the front pages of Al Jazeera, The New York Times, The National for any update on terror activity in the Arabian peninsula; you’re reassuring relatives, skeptical friends and coworkers of the total safety of the UAE — “But the travel warning’s only for August!”
Already your university story is unconventional, associated with overlapping, globalized geopolitical histories. Maybe you’ll spend four years travelling to the far corners of the globe, contemplating on the broader themes that tie humanity together. Maybe you’re going to stay entirely in Abu Dhabi, engaging deeply in the capital of the UAE and fostering the NYUAD community as it transitions to its new home on Saadiyat Island in 2014.
Like the rest of my class, I started out at NYUAD when it consisted of a mere 150 freshmen. Back then, Sama felt more like a sleepaway camp than a new university. For our Marhaba week, which fell at the end of Ramadan, we had a grand Iftar banquet inside an air-conditioned tent in what is now the DTC parking lot. A few things have changed since then, and we’ve all grown up with our little community.
For us at The Gazelle, these narratives are always changing; the stories are in constant flux. We strive to be a part of sharing that story, from NYUAD to across the GNU to home, wherever that is for you.
Whether you are visiting for just a semester or entering the last of your four years at NYUAD, The Gazelle strives to provide for your voices, string together stories and ask the important questions that matter to you. We hope to facilitate independent student voices in the complicated cosmopolitan and intellectual environment of our school. How will your story develop?
Alistair Blacklock, 2nd managing team