Attending lectures from her home in Denver, Colorado, Maya Muwanga has taken a particular interest in "Africa in the World", a course by Assistant Professor of History and Arab Crossroads Studies Erin Pettigrew that explores African past in its diversity, political complexity and social creativity across time.
Although the pandemic means Muwanga is studying remotely, there are many reasons why Muwanga choose to study at NYUAD: the diversity of the student body that allows for discourses with wider perspectives, the campus location that allows Muwanga to be closer to family in Uganda and the United Kingdom, as well as the smaller liberal arts college setting that fits what she was looking for. With an intention to major in history, the department’s focus on global connection and connectivity also aligns with Muwanga’s desire to understand the world.
The "Africa in the World" course was particularly dear to her heart as there was a personal element to her interest — her father. “My father is from Uganda and the course makes it more interesting in understanding the various forces that shaped the world he grew up in,” Muwanga said.
Being 10 hours behind Abu Dhabi means that Muwanga gets up as early as 6am to attend classes taking place in the afternoon on campus in the UAE. “Having a purpose in wanting to be doing the thing that I’m waking up early for helped it to be manageable,” she said.
Having a purpose in wanting to be doing the thing that I’m waking up early for helped it to be manageable.
Some of the places Muwanga looks forward to spending her time on campus include the Highline, library, and chatting with friends under the palm trees. As a beach lover, she also looks forward to spending time on Saadiyat beach, a stone’s throw away from the campus.
Muwanga believes the attitude in how we react to challenging circumstances is critical. When moments arise during the semester where it feels difficult to carry on, Muwanga thinks it’s important that fellow Class of 2024 students remind themselves of the effort they devoted to securing a place at NYUAD. So many classmates choose to continue with their education virtually and take on this new challenge. “This determination already demonstrates so much about your resilience,” Muwanga said. “You are here for a reason.”