By Jude Al Gergawi
Tareq Abbasi graduated in May of 2021 with a double major in legal studies and social research and public policy. Under the Fulbright Scholarship program, Tareq is now pursuing his masters at the University of Pittsburgh in the US, specifically at the Graduate school of Public and International Affairs.
When he applied for the Fulbright Scholarship, he had no idea his application would lead him to where he is currently. “I told myself to just go for it since I have nothing to lose. I just did my best, I wrote a personal statement that was extremely meaningful to me. I spoke from the heart. I just put in the work incrementally, and thankfully everything worked.”
Tareq describes his degree in policy research and analysis as an expansion to what he’s learnt in NYU Abu Dhabi as a social research and public policy student. He is excited to learn ways he can apply what he’s learned in from an Western-focused to the Middle Eastern context.
Don’t compare yourself to others. What works for you won’t necessarily work for someone else. Don’t try to weigh your achievements in comparison to someone else’s because then you’re belittling your own self-progress and growth.
During his time at NYUAD, Tareq mentions one of his most significant accomplishments was being a part of the cultural advisors team for the Residential Education department. As part of the program, the advisors would introduce international students to the history and culture of the UAE through information sessions, trips to cultural hubs, and interactive activities like Karak Chats.
“It’s funny actually because the roles are reversed. I was once the teacher, giving insight into Emirati culture and now I’m the student learning about American culture through the eyes of American students.”
There was a significant cultural shift moving from the UAE to the US, where Tareq is now the only Emirati, and Khaleeji, in his graduate program. Going from an environment that was highly populated by Arabs, specifically Emiratis, to one that is not as populated has been an adjustment, but one that Tareq is willing to navigate and learn from.
Through the lessons and experiences he gathered from his time at NYUAD, Tareq shared his recipe for success for his peers, reminding them everyone’s journey is different and unique to them. “Don’t compare yourself to others. What works for you won’t necessarily work for someone else. Don’t try to weigh your achievements in comparison to someone else’s because then you’re belittling your own self-progress and growth.”