When Different is Doable: Fellowships, Firefighting, and Freelancing

NYU Abu Dhabi students are global and passionate, so it is no surprise that NYUAD alumni are charting their own course following and molding different career paths all over the world. Non-traditional post-graduate options remain of strong interest to students and alumni alike as they offer extensive opportunities for growth, leadership, and impact. 

Time and time again, alumni express that their NYUAD educations opened up worlds of opportunities and avenues for change. A growing 7 percent of our alumni find themselves on alternative paths that they wouldn’t label as traditional employment and they wouldn’t call further education. From fellowships like The Salama bint Hamdan Emerging Artists Fellowship, the United Nations Global Pulse Fellowship (Luce Scholar), and the Princeton in Africa Fellowship to creating their own theater companies, volunteer firefighting, asylum seeker placement, or traveling the world, our grads show us that different is both doable and desirable.

Ayah Rashid, Class of 2019 became the Director of Content at Citizen Yoga after pursuing a degree in literature and creative writing. “I get to not only use my creative writing skills to write in a unique and approachable way, I’m able to do research and ask analytical questions to better understand my audience. I also get to use my creative and critical thinking skills to problem solve marketing challenges and think outside the box. NYUAD taught me through the course of many essays, classes, and creative projects, to always push the envelope and rethink things that have been probed before,” she said.

Leslie Gray, Class of 2019 decided to explore the endless opportunities of the freelance design world as a Lighting Designer and Technician in New York. “I took a class called Collaborative Art, which built my foundational understanding of design. I then grew that understanding of design in an independent study in which I designed the lighting for three senior theater productions. This gave me hands-on experience working with directors and other designers on complex projects,” explained Gray.

Pursuing something that seems different or out of the ordinary could be a very enriching experience and provide new avenues for personal development.

Willem Cant, Class of 2019

With the breadth and depth of tools and teachings from NYUAD under your belt, following what is considered a "different" career path shouldn’t be scary. Alumni Willem Cant, Class of 2019, who served as a Princeton in Africa Fellow at the International Rescue Committee (IRC) Somalia Country Program, reminds us that “it is OK to not know what you want to do later in life. Pursuing something that seems different or out of the ordinary could be a very enriching experience and provide new avenues for personal development.”

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