Seven Student Stories From the Seven Emirates

An old fort in Al Ain, a city in the emirate of Abu Dhabi.

Yes, it snows in the UAE

NYU Abu Dhabi students have many opportunities during their four years to travel the UAE and experience the uniqueness of each emirate; from Dubai with its extraordinary skyscrapers, to Fujairah's manicured beaches, and the rugged mountains of Ras Al-Khaimah, where you'll sometimes find snow in the winter.

Abu Dhabi

“I usually visit my family's houses in Al Ain, one in Foah and the other in Hili. It's always a cozy and homey experience because that's where I was born and where my extended family stays. Usually, we visit our farm and occasionally the dunes in the many deserts there but after growing up ourselves, and the growth of the economy, my cousins and I occasionally visit malls like Bawadi, Al Foah, and Hili. There are many parks to visit, as well as the zoo and Hili fun city that my cousins and I usually go to.”

Sarah Alkaabi, Class of 2020


“For some reason, I’ve never considered taking an extended trip to Ajman. The one I did have the pleasure of experiencing was a relatively short one as I was passing through to another city. Most of my time was spent Al Zorah Nature Reserve; a place that boosts rich birdlife, mangroves, turquoise lagoons, and beautiful beaches just north of the city. Taking a kayak ride through the calm water channels was as serene and relaxing an experience as you can get!”

Hafsa Ahmed, Class of 2020


“During the long weekend between J-Term and spring semester, I took a day trip to Dubai with a fellow first-year named Sooji. We started  our excursion with lunch at a North Korean restaurant then crossed the Creek and headed toward the Souq, where Sooji and I were greeted with 10 “Nihao”s, 4 “Konnichiwa”s, and sadly no “Annyeonghaseyo”s. My highlight of the trip was the Citywalk, where we saw the Burj Khalifa from afar, took artsy photos in front of numerous graffitied walls, and took a break at a charming cafe. In the evening, we went to Global Village. This place is touristy and commercial, but I succeeded in purchasing a ton of Korean instant ramens at the Korean pavilion, so it all worked out in the end.”

Brian Kim, Class of 2020

More than just desert, the UAE has many places to swim and kayak.

“As you drive out of Dubai, the tall and lavish buildings recede to the background and the quaint Emirate of Sharjah emerges unimposingly but beautifully nonetheless. My favorite part of Sharjah is seeing all the green spaces clustered around the city and discovering a small lake near the bus station that glitters under the luster of the moon. My travel partners and I spent a long time just watching over the lake, enjoying the cool breeze and listening to the bustling sounds of Sharjah. After a break at the lake, we ventured into the Sharjah Art Foundation gallery which was hosting a variety of exhibitions from Japan to Kenya to the United Arab Emirates. This trip, while short, gave me not only a piece of Sharjah but a piece of the world, a common experience when you live in a multicultural country like the UAE.”

Vongai Mlambo, Class of 2020

Umm Al-Quwain

“Umm Al-Quwain is perhaps the most rural and underrated Emirate. However, this place has the nicest taxi drivers in the UAE in my opinion, warm-hearted and very helpful. I enjoyed our beach camping at Umm Al-Quwain beach and woke up seeing the sun rise from the horizon. Beautiful places I must say!”

Hanh Van Nguyen, Class of 2020

"A few days before the start of the fall semester, a couple friends and I decided to go on a road trip for my birthday. At 7am we took a shuttle from World Trade Center to Sharjah, then two taxis to Umm Al-Quwain. We stayed at a beach resort. It was amazing. The beach, serenity, weather, company, everything. It was windy and chilly at night. We had a BBQ, or at least tried to. We actually ended up eating Lays and Doritos!"

Saad Sultan, Class of 2019

Desert meets mountain in Fujairah.

“Having lived in the UAE for most of my life, I've had the opportunity to visit most of the Emirates. Fujairah is the holiday Emirate for my family. I've visited it during the National Day weekend and the Eid break and I love the calming vibe that this place offers. The beach and good weather make it a much-needed break from the busy and fast Dubai life.”

Hetvi Shah, Class of 2020

Ras Al-Khaimah

"I've been a few times over the winter. It is a way for me to connect with home because there are mountains. I went rock climbing and hiked up Jebel Jais to experience snow! Touching the snow was like tapping a box of happy memories."

Madhav Juneja, Class of 2020

"I went to RAK over the National Day break. My friends and I knew that the city would be too crazy, so we decided the break would be better spent camping out in the mountains. We took a bus to Dubai then to Sharjah then to RAK. From the bus stop, we took a cab into the mountains, got out randomly at a lookout point, and hiked up. We set up camp on a little ledge and sat out and looked at the stars and the cars drag racing through the valley. You could hear people celebrating and music almost all night, even though we were so high up. It was absolutely gorgeous sitting around a campfire with my friends, one of my favorite memories of NYUAD so far."

Claire Neel-Class of 2020