Through Community-based Learning Programs in the UAE, January Terms, 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.
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 multi-media 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. These are all examples of the connections community-based learning makes for faculty and their classes with individuals, organizations, issues, and events in the UAE.
Over 150 courses at NYUAD have community-based learning components that bring theory to practice in the UAE. For example, we collaborate with the Engineering division through Engineers for Social Impact to provide experiential learning and projects to help students develop solutions across global communities.