Life in Residence is a World of Difference

Khairunnisa Semesta, Class of 2018, enters her dorm.

One of the most beautiful sights at NYU Abu Dhabi is a dorm room decorated by people from two or three different countries. It's common to see walls and windows covered with multiple flags and religious symbols, and the cupboards stocked with an assortment of mysterious ethnic foods. Residence is a place where cultures are intertwined and the unexpected happens.

NYUAD's Class of 2019 has students from more than 100 countries who speak 85 different languages. This kind of diversity opens doors and new ways of thinking. You start to see things from a range of perspectives.

One of the most exciting aspects of becoming a freshman in college is the process of choosing your roommates. Many NYUAD students choose people they spent Candidate Weekend bonding with, while others decide to room with those who come from their own countries, choosing comfort and familiarity over the risk of the culturally unknown. These choices help foster the diversity we have on campus. It's perfectly normal to find people who live halfway across the world from each other sharing a room.

For my first year, I chose diversity yet at the same time to have a reminder of home and my own culture and traditions. My roommates are from India, Australia and my hometown: Amman, Jordan.

At first it was exciting to live with people with completely different backgrounds, religions and lifestyles than my own. I wanted to learn more about the world and thought my living situation could provide that experience for me. We decorated the room together, went shopping together and had many loud conversations that ended in even louder laughter. Yet, at the same time, each one of us was forming their own friend group outside the dorm. I can’t say we were the best of friends from the very beginning, but the room felt comfortable, cozy and inviting.

However, by fall break, things started to change. We drifted apart and didn't spend much time together in our room. We all started to wonder if our roommate choices were the right ones. But later we learned that this kind of second-guessing is completely normal among college roommates.

Diversification in the dorms is not just about different cultures but different personalities too.

Sophomore Hadeel Marzouq

For some reason, everyone expects that roommates should be soulmates. But it takes time to get to know people well enough to live comfortably with them. It may work out for some and not others and there is no flaw in that. It is simply a matter of choosing those you can be yourself around and live your life with, no matter how many tries it takes. Diversification in the dorms is not just about different cultures but different personalities too. It is a matter of adapting to those around you and finding the most compatible lifestyle while being considerate of those within your dorm.

The key is communication. Talk to each other to explain your lifestyle and cultural beliefs, what peeves you, how you prefer to study or sleep, or even clean. Living with another person means discussion and compromise. Never be afraid to tell other people what you’re comfortable or uncomfortable with. Most people are more respectful and understanding than they may seem.