I was in tenth grade when the NYU Abu Dhabi Summer Academy ambassadors came to my school to present on His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s Scholarship program. At the time, I knew nothing about the Summer Academy program, and I had not yet made up my mind about what degree and career I wanted to pursue after graduation.
Following the presentation I was intrigued, and after struggling to submit my application over a weak Internet connection on a Habitat trip in Borneo, I received my letter of acceptance.
As I walked through the glass doors of the NYUAD Downtown Campus on the first day of the program, I remember thinking to myself that it was going to be a long eighteen months. I wasn't expecting that this would turn out to be the experience of a lifetime.
To explain in a few paragraphs what the Summer Academy means to me is difficult, because there are so many elements at play that make it such a unique and rewarding experience. NYUAD’s Summer Academy allowed me to surround myself with young men and women of a similar mindset - we all shared the desire to pursue a higher education. Over the 18 months of excursions and classroom study, I had a chance to get to know this bright batch of students, and ended up finding some of the best friends I've been privileged to meet.
But the Summer Academy did more than just enable me to form lasting friendships, the program supported me to become a much stronger student, both educationally and socially. Educationally, I grew as a scholar. This was largely as a result of the rewarding hours spent learning SAT vocabulary with Mr. Jake, the sometimes antagonizing hours spent on mathematics with Mr. Alex and Ms. Kim, and the productive hours spent learning critical reading and thinking with Mr. Kit. Socially, I conquered public speaking with Ms. Diane, and gained the courage to speak in front of my peers while at a presentation in New York.
NYUAD’s Summer Academy molded me into a well-rounded global student. I visited study away campuses in Florence and New York and was given the opportunity to experience different cultures, explore my interests, and to discover which educational environment is the best fit for my academic interests, as well as my personal pursuits.
The Summer Academy Program served as the first major step towards building my future. The program enabled me to realize my desires and work to achieve them. Thanks to the Summer Academy, and the help from my peers and academic fellow, the daunting process of applying to university was made easy.
As a proud graduate of the program, and now applicant to NYUAD, I would like to thank Her Highness Sheikha Mariam Al Nayhan for having faith in us, and for blessing us with this opportunity to represent our nation. I only hope that one day I can return what was gifted to me by contributing to a stronger, more productive society.