NYU Abu Dhabi Friendships

Forever friendships are made here

Attending university away from home means navigating a new place and meeting new people.

NYU Abu Dhabi students come to the UAE from more than 115 countries, each with unique cultural backgrounds and experiences. In Abu Dhabi, students create bonds through their studies, recreation, campus groups, and residential education. At NYUAD, you may have a roommate from a country you've never heard of!

We found out what brings best friends together and what will keep them together.

Rastaraj (Nepal) and Hannah (Australia/New Zealand)

Rastraraj Bhandari, left, with Hannah Melville-Rea, right, both from the Class of 2019.

How Did You Meet?

We met during our freshman year, when we were both out cycling around the campus one night.

Why is Your Friendship Amazing?

“I see Rastra almost every single day because we are always working on sustainability initiatives on and beyond campus. Yet, I never get tired of him and we have truly become a dream team,” Melville-Rea said.

“I think we are driven by the same goal and same interests professionally and personally,” Bhandari added.

(Hannah and Rastra say they've never had an argument in the four years that they have been friends!)

How Do You Plan to Keep in Touch?

“It’s one of those friendships that you won’t lose even if we do not keep in touch constantly after graduation,” Bhandari said confidently.    

“I feel like we'll always be working on the same things, meet up at a conference somewhere in the world,” Melville-Rea said.

The pair of friends posing with their bicycles — reenacting how they first met.

Bhandari plans to go to graduate school in Beijing, China while Melville-Rea is still deciding between heading home to Australia or working in Dubai.

Ayah and Lama (both from United States)

Ayah Rashid, left, and Lama Ahmad, right, both from the Class of 2019.

Why Do You Love About Your Friendship?

"Lama challenges me the most. I feel I’ve grown more as a person because of her... we balance each other out really well. I can rely on her — she is dependable and caring," Rashid said. 

Ahmad adds, "Ayah and I have been able to share our experiences as Muslim-American women studying abroad — and our love of food! We rely on each other for the good and the bad, through job and internship applications, creating memories during our semester together in New York, and our first spring break trip to Turkey."

How Do You Plan to Keep in Touch? 

Social media, as well as Skype and phone calls. 

"I know Ayah and I will be a lifelong friends, no matter where in the world we end up going."

Ahmad, NYUAD's first Luce Scholar will be working with the Luce Foundation in Jakarta, Indonesia. She will provide equitable opportunities for underrepresented people in technology, bridging the gap between policymakers and technologists to create and more ethical and representative technology landscape.

Rashid is headed to Detroit, US, to work at a startup.