Treasured Friendships and Memories

Impromptu chats at a makeshift barber shop and learning to keep in touch with friends virtually for the past two years.

Name: Ewan Lewis
Major: Political Science
Division: Social Science
Home Country: United Kingdom

Growing up in the UK and the US, the schools Ewan Lewis attended were not very diverse. Lewis’s first glimpse of what life would be like at NYU Abu Dhabi was during his Candidate Weekend trip. “I was talking to students from countries I’ve never even heard of before,” Lewis said. Combining that broad diversity with impressive facilities on campus, flexible course plans, and plentiful sunshine all year-round, Lewis was easily convinced that NYUAD was the university for him. 

Although half of Lewis’s university life was in the midst of the pandemic, it showed him just how much he values the friendships he has formed at NYUAD. As students were completing their semester at home, on campus, or at NYU sites across the world, Lewis had to be very intentional with keeping in touch with his friends. Despite the virtual setting of their catch ups, “we were still able to provide support for each other no matter how far apart we are in the world really was kind of eye-opening to me,” Lewis added. 

Talking in a Makeshift Barber Shop

While there are plenty of favorite memories for Lewis to look back on, one that really stood out was a unique social environment that was all too familiar for him. One of Lewis’s peers had a penchant for cutting hair and offered to cut students' hair, which became especially pertinent during the pandemic. The student’s skills brought people together to have lively conversation while having a fresh cut. It reminded Lewis of Black-owned barber shops in the US that serve as a community resource where people convene to discuss a range of topics in what they considered to be a safe space. The idea was to bring this concept to campus to facilitate a vibrant environment to discuss anything under the sun. It wasn’t uncommon for Lewis to go for a chat even when he wasn’t due for a haircut. 

“The discussions would be so varied and interesting… it’s one of my favorite memories from sophomore year,” Lewis said. 

Ewan Lewis, NYUAD Class of 2022.

The self-proclaimed mama’s boy was very excited that his Commencement would be held in person. He looked forward to showing his mother around Abu Dhabi, his usual spots, and giving her a glimpse of his life in the UAE. Some to-do list items included a trip to Dubai, a visit to the desert, and of course, going to popular student restaurant Abd El Wahab for some grilled meat and delicious Arabic cuisine. “Everything will be extra special for sure,” Lewis said. 

Lewis will be joining American Express in New York City after graduation, to work in the governance, risk, and compliance department. Lewis completed an internship there where he worked on global financial crimes.

I came to Abu Dhabi bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, and eager to learn. And I am leaving fulfilled by the intellectual and cultural understanding that I have gained.

Ewan Lewis, NYU Abu Dhabi Class of 2022