Community-based Global Learning

Community-based Global Learning in Abu Dhabi, Abroad, and at Home

Through Community-based Learning Programs in the UAE and abroad, January Term, language studies, and the Engineers for Social Impact Program, NYU Abu Dhabi guides students in reading and engaging with the dynamic text of the real world. This is a different kind of literacy that requires disciplined observation, recognition of a variety of experts within and beyond academia, deep listening, spirited inquiry, collaboration with the local community with humility and respect, and bringing critical reflection to direct experience.  

Below are examples of Community-based Learning engagements for NYUAD courses the Office of Global Education support for faculty and students and connections made with individuals, organizations, issues, and events in the UAE and globally.

Community-based Learning in the UAE for NYUAD Courses

  • A theater class watches a traditional Pehlwani wrestling match in Dubai as part of its studies of rituals and performance.
  • A heritage course teams NYUAD students with local Zayed University students to do archaeological field work on Delma Island.
  • A chemistry class partners with the Abu Dhabi Environmental Agency to conduct water sampling and analysis at Marawah Island.
  • A music class collaborates with the national park at Sir Bani Yas Island to record animal sounds at night and prepare a multimedia presentation for the Park.
  • The Minister of Food Security in the UAE gives a guest lecture to a class on Life Science and Sustainability at NYUAD.
  • One of the most immersive experiences at NYUAD — a three-week course in the Emirati Arabic Dialect in the city of Al Ain. Students live for three weeks with Emirati families to develop fluency in the local dialect of Arabic.

Over 170 courses at NYUAD have more than 250 community-based learning components that bring theory to practice in the UAE.

Community-based Learning (CBL) Abroad for NYUAD Classes

  • In Ethiopia, students engaged in fieldwork with students from Mekelle University, documenting the Chekelot Church site through photography, aerial photography and video, and photogrammetry.
  • In Italy, students met with the Director of Excavation for the Deir al-Medina exhibition Cedric Gobeil, discussed papyrus and preservation with curator Susanne Töpfer, and examined the ethics of exhibiting human remains with curator Paolo Del Vesco.

Over 40 courses at NYUAD have community-based learning components that bring theory to practice through regional academic seminars across the globe.

  • With the support of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Philippines, students traveled to the island of Palawan to explore DSWD’s community-led efforts in the barangays (communities) of Decalachao and San José.
  • In Ukraine, students interacted with former President Viktor Yushchenko, Minister of the Economy, Tymofii Mylovanov, and Yegor Chernev, Member of Parliament for Servant of the People Party.
  • In Eritrea, students learned about medicine in the Nakfa Trenches from Dr. Tekeste Fekadu, and interviewed Yemane Gebreab, President’s Advisor - Ministry of Political Affairs.
  • Students had a unique opportunity to explore the landscape of diplomacy in contemporary Jordan, where they met with Edward Oakden, British Ambassador and visited the headquarters of the United Nations meeting with country representatives of UNHCR, UNRWA, UNICEF and UNDP.

Engineers for Social Impact

Engineers for Social Impact (EfSI) supports and complements the mission of the Engineering Division and the broad goals of NYU Abu Dhabi through courses that emphasize experiential learning and projects that develop globally-relevant, locally-sustainable designs to meet challenges and deliver on opportunities that enable individuals across global communities to more effectively realize their aspirations and ambitions.

By engaging with the study of ethics in the classroom and ethnographic fieldwork off-campus, all first-year engineering students expand their comfort zones to work from vantage points of broader mindfulness of social, cultural, and economic aspects that are inextricably connected to technology-driven solutions in today’s hyper-connected world. Students may optionally enroll in a second, project-driven course focusing on the process of co-designing meaningful innovations, projects, and products with members of a selected community.

Throughout all fieldwork, the goal is to connect with the people, sights, sounds, experiences, and stories that are only accessible outside the classroom and bring new understanding to bear on the ways to address a wide range of issues and challenges in the courses and beyond.

A Curricular Program

All first-year engineering students participate in Engineers for Social Impact, studying ethics in the classroom and ethnographic fieldwork off-campus.

Video: Engineers for Social Impact