“I thought I had already made my choice.”

NYU Abu Dhabi Class of 2025’s Alessia Piacitelli was sure she was going to college in her home country Russia, until a university fair changed her fate.

Alessia Piacitelli remembers the day when she first learned about NYU Abu Dhabi clearly. A friend had invited her to a university fair and Piacitelli walked past a beautiful stand for a university she did not recognize.

As Piacitelli had already decided which university to attend, she skipped the NYUAD talk. Her companion attended the presentation and shared her findings afterwards. “It sounded interesting but I thought I had already made my choice,” Piacitelli said. 

A few months later, a quiet thought began to grow in Piacitelli’s mind. She started to research NYUAD and studied the website in detail. “I actually spent a lot of time doing this and began to fall in love with the NYUAD atmosphere,” Piacitelli said. 

The Russian-Italian Factor 

Piacitelli grew up in Russia with her Russian mother and Italian father. The two cultures are environments Piacitelli is very familiar with. “I know how to act in them, and I belong to them,” Piacitelli said.

The deep desire to experience something outside of her comfort zone is what propelled Piacitelli further into picking NYUAD as her university. “I want to see totally new places. I want to discover new cultures and new people outside of Europe… I want to make a revolution in my life,” explained Piacitelli.

Piacitelli, an artist who has won national and regional art competitions in Russia, was not just drawn to the art and art history major program at NYUAD, but also by the presence of the Art Gallery and the The Arts Center located on campus. Not only would Piacitelli be able to continue developing her talents academically, she is also able to immerse herself in arts from the region.  

Researching Universities Takes Time

For Piacitelli, research was an extremely important part of her university application process. It takes time to learn about each university and, from time-to-time, being overwhelmed or anxious that the research is leading nowhere creeps in. Looking back, Piacitelli was glad she gave herself plenty of time. Advice she would give to any highschooler is: “If you feel like you're just wasting time - you're not. You're doing extremely important research for the next four years of your life.”

Part of her research into NYUAD included reaching out to current students for advice. Through the NYUAD admissions team and social media groups, Piacitelli was able to speak with current students about their experiences. The admissions team at NYUAD  was also supportive in organizing zoom sessions to help out with the application essays and letters. 

With classes in session soon, Piacitelli is really looking forward to the semester ahead. “I got lucky and was able to choose the classes I really wanted to get into. So I’m extremely excited.” And once the weather cools, Piacitelli has a checklist of places to visit in Abu Dhabi.