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Illustration by Alya Al Zaabi

Our Learning Community Initiative: a Platform of Community Engagement via Mini Classes

The NYU Abu Dhabi community hosted bite-sized courses on everything from parkour to knitting.

Mar 6, 2023

On Feb. 28, NYU Abu Dhabi students, faculty, and community members gathered in John Sexton Square and engaged in learning and teaching outside of the constraints of the classroom. The Office of the Vice Chancellor, alongside other partnering offices, organized this year’s Our Learning Community event as an initiative to give a platform for NYUAD community members to share their knowledge, skills, hobbies, and expand their horizons by attending classes taught by community members.
Students, staff, faculty, and contracted colleagues were offered the opportunity to teach their own 25-minute abridged course on any topic they choose. There was a wide and diverse range of classes offered, from a speedrun of the history of jewelry, to an intro to parkour, to pitching 101.
Erica Wu, Class of 2023 and double majoring in Interactive Media and Social Research and Public Policy, taught a class called “How to be a Regenerative Human” inspired by Paul Hawken’s book Regeneration: Ending the Climate Crisis in One Generation.
“I signed up to teach because I felt like I had gained something less well known that more people can benefit from,” Wu said. She also stated that it was apparent from the attendees’ feedback that the class did impact their understanding of the topic.
She said that she definitely recommended teaching a class, but stressed that it is imperative to find meaning and be convinced of the content itself before venturing into this initiative as a teacher next time around.
Aaron, an attendee from the class of 2025, said, “I believe it captured the core values of NYUAD: creating a space for everyone to share experiences and knowledge.”
This initiative brought the community together to learn from each other and deconstruct boundaries to learning and teaching alike. The event aimed to enrich the community, spark dialogue, and encourage creativity and growth in sustained learning, essentially bringing to life the core of NYUAD’s vision.
Arwa Alabbasi is a Deputy News Editor and Columnist. Email them at
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