Simran Motiani

Started with a gap year and ended at Oxford University

By Lulu Zakia Qonita

Simran Motiani, Class of 2020, graduated with a BA, majoring in psychology with minors in child development and social intervention and literature. She is currently pursuing a master's in education and child development at the University of Oxford.

Motiani recognized her interest in education and the impact of human psychology on learning and development at an early age. She was also fully aware of her lack of exposure to the field of psychology. Therefore, Motiani decided to take a gap year between high school and university to explore the field of psychology through internships. She then continued her path of honing in her knowledge and interest in developmental psychology through the courses she took, and the internships she pursued while at NYU Abu Dhabi.

During her undergraduate studies at NYUAD, Motiani took advantage of the study away experiences the University offers and lived in Madrid and New York where she was exposed to several courses and was exposed to various domains of psychology. She experienced first hand how a model of education can be incredibly liberating, and how it allowed her to delve into different disciplines. At the same time, the diverse community at NYUAD gave Motiani the opportunity to learn about her own context through conversations in and outside of the classroom. “At NYUAD, you can learn about who you are and cultivate this sense of self efficacy and autonomy,” said Motiani. Everyone at NYUAD is given the beautiful opportunity to learn about themselves and everyone around them, according to Motiani.

At NYUAD, you can learn about who you are, cultivate this sense of self-efficacy and autonomy.

Simran Motiani, Class of 2020

That is how Motiani learned that “context matters.” She is a believer in the power of context, and how people’s environment and surroundings impact how they absorb knowledge. According to her, knowledge on its own is not enough. Her hope is to develop an education system that takes into consideration the context of its learners. Whether it is through educational consultancy or working in the public sector back home in Jamaica, Motiani’s goal is to develop an educational model that can advocate for equality and promote the idea that every student is worthy.

Motiani believes that the education she received at NYUAD nurtured her curiosity, and the professors and mentors she worked with encouraged her to go out of her comfort zone. “At NYUAD, I learned to feel worthy, because professors and my other mentors allowed me to feel that way.”