First Two Weeks at NYUAD

Hello dear friends!

I'm excited to share that my first two weeks as a freshman here at NYUAD are behind me!! It all happened so fast! Sunday, August 28th marked my first day as a college freshman, and luckily I only had one class. This class, not so luckily, happens to be my most challenging, a class analyzing the relationship between government and religion in the US Constitution, or more specifically, the Establishment Clause. It's taught by NYU's former president, John Sexton, which makes it more bearable than the class would've been otherwise, with its difficult reading material and extensive writing assignments. My other classes aren't as difficult, but they still require more time and effort than I put into my high school classes. These classes include Crime, Yes Logo, and Arabic. These aren't your traditional intro level college classes, which is something I commend NYUAD for establishing. My class on Crime, for example, has more upperclassmen than freshmen, which pushes me to work harder to attain a comparable level. Yes Logo is a classes that analyzes the history and purpose of branding, image, identity, and, of course, logos. For this class, one of our jobs is to redesign the logo for the UAE branch of the WWF. Pretty big deal!! Regardless of the homework load, I think that the reward and accomplishments vastly outweigh the negatives, making the struggle worthwhile. 

As riveting as it may be to talk about government and religion and crime, we can't simply overlook everything there is to do in Abu Dhabi besides sleeping in the school library (not the most recommended tourist destination, but definitely up there for students!). When I don't have much homework to do for the next day, I like to go off campus and discover the city a bit. I've mostly gone to a few malls in the area, but, since the malls are huge, they've been enough to keep me busy. The corniche is also a popular destination at night, with its restaurants and scenic boardwalk. A few of my friends from the area took me on tours around the city and showed me their favorite, hole-in-the-wall restaurants. As shady as they may have seemed at first, the food was delicious and authentic. 

During our Eid break (currently happening), my friends and I decided to take a trip to nearby Dubai. We left bright and early Saturday morning to catch the bus from Abu Dhabi to Dubai; an hour and a half bus ride for only $7! Once we got there, we spent an hour fooling around at an athletic department store, then went to a place called Jumeirah Beach Residence. This was a super cute beach-side promenade area with lots of restaurants and shops. We stopped for lunch then spent an hour or so at the beach. The weather was surprisingly not humid, still warm though, so we took advantage and walked around for a while. We then took the metro ($2 a person) to Dubai Mall, opting for the longer route to see more. From the metro, we got an amazing view of the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. My friends and I then walked about in Dubai Mall, ignoring the fact that we could hardly afford anything there. Although the clothing was too expensive, I did treat myself to frozen yogurt from Pinkberry, something I haven't had in years. We then headed out to see the Dancing Fountain on the Burj Khalifa Lake; quite the experience. The show was short, but very impressive. After this show of jumping water, we headed back home, taking a two hour bus ride back to Abu Dhabi. Our sixteen-hour adventure ended with popcorn, noodles, and guitar in the student lounge; the perfect end to an amazing day.

Yesterday, the day before Eid, a few of my friends and I went to the St. Regis hotel about 5 minutes away from campus. We wanted to see the sunset, so the hotel's private beach was the perfect place for that. After the sun set, we hung around for a little while longer, enjoying the soothing waves of the gulf and the peace of the beach at night. We explored the hotel a little, enjoyed some of their complimentary dates and Arabic coffee, then headed back to campus. This little trip made me realize that a little change of scenery or a short getaway can really boost your spirits. We were gone for maybe an hour, but in that hour, we took so many pictures, we laughed a ton, and we realized that, not only are we fortunate enough to attend one of the best universities in the world, we get to live in a country with incredible cities, people, and so much to do.

I'm currently planning a trip that I'll be taking during fall break. I'm not sure where I'll be going, but the idea of traveling to a new country has me on my toes in anticipation of the upcoming break. In the meantime, here are some pictures of the past two weeks for your entertainment!! :)

somehow scored a ton of leg room and an empty seat beside me AND an aisle seat
embarking on the journey of a lifetime
they make you forget you're only in economy class
home sweet home
indeed it is
view from the front of the uni
Campus Center
another shot of this stunning campus
Marhaba Week signs
there's that Campus Center again
sneak peek of the inside of the Campus Center
view from our floor lounge (perfect place to do homework)
another great spot to do homework if you enjoy sizzling a little (atrium)
Mom look I made a friend!
exterior of Yas Mall
Allah's hundred names
fancy hand embroidery (closer view of the last photo)
tea before the journey to Dubai
the one and only
ceiling in Dubai Mall
ceiling in Ibn Battuta Mall
JBR promenade
view of the Burj Khalifa from the metro
start of the light and fountain show at the burj
caught it in mid action
sunset at the St. Regis
super clear water at the private beach
the St. Regis Saadiyat Island

Based on these photos, I can see how it may seem as though I'm not doing very much homework, but, somehow, I just have a lot of extra time on my hands. Since the semester hasn't gotten extremely busy yet, I want to take advantage of all of the time I have to explore my new home.

Check back in soon to read about my next adventure!

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