During your four years with NYU Abu Dhabi as an undergraduate, you will have many opportunities to attend cultural programs and activities. By the time you graduate, you will have had lots of exposure to different cultures. Our hope is that you will also gain a greater sense of curiosity, flexibility, empathy and authenticity in your intercultural encounters.
Being in Abu Dhabi is also a great chance to grow your knowledge about the country and the Middle East region. Besides traveling and being exposed to different cultures, engaging in reflective activities and exploring different perspectives can increase cultural competence.
NYUAD has the distinction of an incredibly diverse community of students, faculty, and staff from all over the world. Within this context there are opportunities for our undergraduate students to grow and develop crucial interpersonal skills.
Learn about different cultures through your schoolmates.
For each event, we invite students from a certain country or culture to share more about where they are from.
Intercultural Learning Program (ICLP)
An opportunity to explore cultural competence frameworks and develop greater cultural fluency.
An opportunity to explore different perspectives and deepen community conversation about relevant topics.
There are many ways of greeting a person in the UAE. Some men and women choose not to shake hands upon meeting, which should not be considered an insult or offensive. It is generally more polite to begin with a verbal greeting, and to then allow the person you are greeting to indicate whether hand shaking is welcome.
Emirati women can often be seen wearing their abaya, typically a long garment, with a shayla or hijab to cover their head. You may occasionally see them wearing a veil called the burqa, that covers areas of their eyebrows, nose, and mouth. Emirati men may wear a kandura (an ankle-length long white garment) with a ghutra on their head.
What to Pack
Out of respect for the local culture and customs, both men and women typically refrain from wearing revealing clothing. Dressing modestly in a sign of respect for the culture and is especially important during Ramadan (the Islamic Holy Month). There is no requirement for women to cover their heads unless visiting a mosque.
On occasion, students may be invited to join an event that requires semi-formal clothing. In these occasions, students may want to have a nice pair of dress pants/dress/skirt/button-up shirt/national dress/shoes to wear.
NYUAD is a short distance from a public beach, and while items like shorts, sleeveless shirts and two-piece women swimsuits are acceptable at the beach itself, we would recommend bringing an outfit with more coverage if you will be leaving the beach or using public transport to get to and from the beach.
While on campus, students are generally expected to uphold the same guidelines for attire that they follow off campus. In the residential colleges, dress tends to be informal and students will likely want to have comfortable clothing for lounging and studying.
Students participating in university-sponsored programs that visit different areas of the UAE or surrounding countries, including less populated and/or more rural areas, may be required to dress more conservatively out of respect for the people and areas they will be visiting. Event organizers will let students know ahead of time if there is a specific dress requirement for the event/activity. Generally speaking, students following the abovementioned guidelines will be compliant with any dress requirements.
Students interested in using the campus fitness center will want to pack workout gear/clothing. This includes appropriate footwear (running shoes, sneakers). Sandals, boots and open shoes are not appropriate footwear. Jeans and denim are not allowed as workout gear. Workout gear should not be too revealing.
Be aware of local laws when taking photographs in public. Taking photos of restricted areas (such as military areas, palaces, or government buildings) may result in a fine or jail time. You must also have permission before taking photos of others.