Dana AlHosani

“There were so many things I was trying to learn about my culture, my religion, and who I am as a person.”

Dana AlHosani began studying at NYU Abu Dhabi when she was seventeen, one of the youngest students in her class. “I learned so much about myself, to begin with, and I think that’s the most important thing. When I started accepting myself and learning about myself that’s when I opened up to learn with other people,” she reflects.

Dana is Emirati but spent much of her childhood abroad. The daughter of a diplomat, she lived in Washington DC, Amman, and New Delhi before returning to Abu Dhabi for high school. When she began studying at NYU Abu Dhabi, her friendships with local and international students challenged her relationship with her home country. “I felt like I couldn’t fit in with the expats because I’m not necessarily an expat, but I couldn’t fit in with the locals because I’m neither completely local,” she explains. “I’m host and guest myself at the same time.”

“Later, I realized that I don’t necessarily have to be a representation of the UAE,” she says, “with any transition, you might see changes as a negative thing but slowly I realized that those are unique things that I have that would actually help me integrate with other people instead of separating me from them.”

Dana has remained at NYU Abu Dhabi, where she is now the Student Life Coordinator. The transition from student to staff member was smooth, in part because of her experiences as a student. “The beauty of being a student [at NYU Abu Dhabi] is that you learn how to interact with people,” she says. “The main value I got from NYUAD was acceptance, accepting people around you, even though you do not necessarily have the same mindset or the beliefs or the way they do things. Accepting these and trying to work through them is one of the values that NYU taught me.”

Dana AlHosani

Class of 2018

Major: Social Research and Public Policy

Current Location: Abu Dhabi, UAE

Current Role: Student Life Coordinator, New York University Abu Dhabi

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