Photo by Alistair Blacklock/The Gazelle


Photo by Alistair Blacklock/The Gazelle Aside from the beautiful cherry blossoms and Ghibli Museum, junior Sora Yang chose to study abroad at Temple ...

Photo by Alistair Blacklock/The Gazelle
Aside from the beautiful cherry blossoms and Ghibli Museum, junior Sora Yang chose to study abroad at Temple University in Tokyo in order to further her Japanese skills. Although the “ridiculously clean subways, heated toilet seats, mini-earthquakes … [and] tiny dogs in tiny prams being pushed by their doting owners” first felt strange to Yang, now she can appreciate Tokyo’s uniqueness in and outside of the classroom.
For the majority of students, living in Abu Dhabi is already considered studying abroad from their home country. Even so, students look forward to spending up to two semesters away from NYUAD’s campus. While given the option to choose between NYU’s 14 study abroad sites, including New York, some students, like Yang, decide to look outside of the GNU in order to find a completely different experience.
“I love NYUAD, [but] I have to admit, it’s nice to be outside of the bubble,” Yang said. “At the same time, I’m looking forward to going back to Abu Dhabi and seeing everyone again.”
Escaping the rhythm of Abu Dhabi, embracing a new culture, a new language and a new city are just some of the excitements of studying abroad.
For students like juniors Irene Paneda and Alejandra Pinto, NYU’s home campus allowed them to explore the colorful NYC art scene.
“I really loved it,” Paneda said. “I am very interested in theatre, you could go watch shows all the time.”
Although the streets of New York allowed both to explore their passions, they had difficulty meeting other students.
“I thought it was going to be easier for me to find circles amongst artists or clubs,” Pinto said.
Finding a niche abroad can be hard, but students have found both joining clubs and finding internships can help garner connections with people of similar passions. Pinto’s schedule is busy but has allowed for her to interact with many different people in Manhattan; in addition to her five classes, she has an internship and is tutoring kids at a local church.
Paneda explained how, even though in Abu Dhabi we think of ourselves as a mini community where we know each other, NYU has “a very different understanding of a community, and yet somehow, it is still a community.”
A major concern for students choosing their study abroad locations is the rigor of academics outside of NYUAD. Junior Musbah Dilsebo explained how in his two study abroad sites, Buenos Aires and Madrid, the academics were easier but allowed for more time to explore the city and culture. In New York, the options for classes were broader and students have more major electives available. However, both Pinto and Paneda described the classes as less rigorous than in Abu Dhabi.
NYUNY student Dylan Maurer explained his view of the difference between the campuses:
“[Abu Dhabi] is more challenging in that your classes are smaller and you are expected to do the work … but I think it’s easier in that the classes are smaller and that you know the professor and so you feel more comfortable reaching out to them.”
With regards to studying and being a resident assistant in Abu Dhabi, he is finding the experience extremely rewarding.
“I loved to go to the beach and be in the sun,” Maurer said. “One thing that really fits me here is that it is warm all the time.”
After two semesters of studying abroad, Pinto offered her advice to the Class of 2016 to focus less on how the site offers classes.
“Your primary decision shouldn’t be based how the site works with your major … it’s an opportunity where you can really discover something new and explore a different track.”
Nicole Lopez Del Carril is a contributing writer. Email her at
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