Trip to Abu Dhabi- At the NYUAD Campus: Day 1

After over 24 hours of transit, I was finally home, or what was beginning to feel like home to me. The whole point behind the Candidate Weekend is for the admissions committee to see the real person behind the application they read. They know that these students are far more than just test scores, and they want to get a feel for them before accepting any students. It's also very crucial to any high school student's college selection process; whether the school feels like home or not. Being that it is in another part of the world, and not just any part, but the Middle East, the admission deans know that many students would have difficulties adjusting to this new life and culture. By visiting the country before being accepted, students become fully aware of everything that the university embodies; cultural immersion, appreciation, and education. Maybe this was supposed to scare me from wanting to go to NYUAD, but being on campus only made me want to be there even more.
Anyways, since I had missed my flight, I missed breakfast that morning and a talk with the Vice Chancellor, Alfred Bloom. I did, however, make it right on time for my sample class: Design and Innovation. When we were invited to attend CW, we were asked to choose a sample class to take on campus. This would help us get a feel for the professors at NYUAD and the level of education. I quite honestly felt awakened after my sample class. Technically a class for Engineer majors, this class explores why we innovate, and how we can draw from our needs and resources to come up with seemingly revolutionary ideas. I am not ashamed to say that I was probably one of the less bright students there, but I just sat in awe of how new all of this knowledge was to me. And, in my defense, I was still adjusting to the 9-hour time difference and lack of breakfast.
After this enlightening class, we had lunch. Each table had the name of the different majors offered at NYUAD, along with a prof representing it. I sat at the Arab Crossroads table and spoke to a Canadian-born Swede who spoke the Moroccan dialect of Arabic, much to my delight. I also roamed around to the different tables and made some friends. The food was splendid, by the way. Lots of options were offered, mostly Middle Eastern, and there was dessert! When lunch was over, we went back to the main forum and interacted with a student-teacher panel. They spoke to us about a bunch of aspects of the school, from the core curriculum to travel opportunities. We then had the chance to tour the campus with student leaders, which they call Peer Ambassadors. The art building was absolutely stunning; fully equipped with a theater, and recital hall, and a black box, recording studios, and state of the art facilities.
This tour was followed by a trip to a nearby desert. We climbed huge sand dunes, played Heads Up at the top, and slid back down. A delicious dinner was served--kebabs of all varieties, rice, hummus, vegetables, and the works. There was also a henna tattoo artist, a camel for riding, and traditional music. Instead of fancy western tables, they had floor carpet seating with pillows and ground-level tables; very traditional. Amidst our Arabian dinner, we heard some familiar pop tunes blasting, and we all ran to the dance floor and partied hardcore. Honestly a great end to our desert evening.
Our night, however had just begun. After the desert, we went to the Sheikh Zeyed Mosque, one of the most beautiful mosques I had ever seen. We had to put on abayas for respect to the culture and act decently. Sounds pretty easy, but for some people, that's quite the feat.
To top off the night, we headed back to campus, where most of us changed out of our sandy, sweaty clothes, and put on our pjs. We were told that the lounge in our building had snacks, drinks, and games for us to hang out and enjoy ourselves in. Prior to going to AD, we all agreed to bring candy from our homeland to share, so we shared it in the Hospitality Lounge. We stayed up until about 3am playing Cards Against Humanity, card games native to our cultures, and shared stories from home. Truly the perfect end to a long day.
Day 2 of my trip to Abu Dhabi will be up sometime soon, so be sure to check back!
xoxo, Nada
tiny replica of the campus
cool chairs in the art building
Abu Dhabi skyline view
IDEA Lab
Campus Center part 1
things you see on the campus tour
dorms/classrooms part 2
fabulous gymnasium
nomad tent replica
lovely palm trees at the front of the campus
from inside the art nuilding
Campus Center part 2
peaceful campus
one of three theaters (red block)
campus view from outside
the famous torch at the Campus Center
she's a beaut
old-fashion well at the desert
desert view
campsite from atop the dune
me holding a falcon!!
blurry picture but still a happy one!
first hint of the Sheikh Zeyed Mosque
less subtle hint
in her natural glory
not sure why they had blue lights, but it works
the famous white and gold interior
intricate mosaic tile-work
huge praying space
just gorgeous
now imagine seeing this in person
gold and white seem to be a big thing here
parts of the Quran inscribed in the walls and ceiling
stunning chandelier 
even more stunning light fixture + gold and white details
some of Allah's many names
traditional Arab carpets
view from right under the chandelier
more gold and white
possibly some shell inlay
cute shell and wood combo
pattern #2 for variety
gotta respect the culture
one more before leaving

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