Navigating the First Year

The Class of 2026 will experience a full and in-person Marhaba orientation before the start of the fall semester. The Marhaba Student Committee are set up welcome the incoming class with events and initiatives including being assigned to a First-Year Dialogue group lead by a First-Year Peer Facilitator.

First Year Dialogue

First Year Dialogue (FYD) is a safe place for first-years to discuss challenges being a new student, culture shock, and other sensitive issues. FYD focuses on what first-year students need on a daily basis to be successful at NYU Abu Dhabi. It is a compulsory seminar for all first-year NYUAD students to help incoming students better understand and navigate their first year at university.

Topics of conversation during the seminars include:

  • the idea of home
  • personal values
  • homesickness
  • stress
  • time management

Students will also explore how to be in relationship with one another and with their host country through programmings that happens both on and off campus.

First Year Dialogue Program Format

Students meet with their staff, faculty, or student co-facilitators both during Marhaba orientation and then again on a weekly basis over the course of the fall semester.

Through intentional conversation and debate, FYD greatly improves students’ ability to recognize one another’s common humanity and the universality of feelings and shared human experiences present on campus and throughout the world.

Watch Asma's NYUAD Story

Asma Alabbar joined the Class of 2021 from Dubai, UAE.

Intercultural Education

During your four years with NYUAD 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.


We came to the UAE from around the world with different belief systems but we share values of tolerance, respect, and empathy.

Farah Shamout, Class of 2016

Intercultural Education Program Format

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.

Programs Details
Sustained Dialogue

An initiative designed to create a “brave space” to lean into our differences and similarities to witness the wholeness of one another and of our community.

Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) Initiative 

First-year students take the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) assessment, a theory-based intercultural assessment that assesses their awareness of and sensitivity to cultural differences.

Circle Process 

We sit in a circle to create an atmosphere of mutual respect and empathy, allowing each person to express themselves candidly, as well as emphasize the connectedness among us.

Intercultural Competence Core Training

An opportunity to explore cultural competence frameworks and develop greater cultural fluency.

Memories of NYU Abu Dhabi

Favorite class? Best hangout spot? Craziest experience? Seniors from the Class of 2018 reflect on their four years here.