Smooth Transitions

Many aspects of practicing parkour are deeply embedded in Zack Tan’s way of life

A hop-on hop-off bus, a bicycle or even a guided tour are some of the ways to explore a new city. But for Zack Tan, he prefers scaling walls and jumping urban chasms with acrobatic fluidity.

Parkour is not just a method of travel for Tan, the sport “shaped a lot of how I view risk management, and is a really a good outlet for creativity.”

Success in parkour, Tan explains, is all about taking calculated risks and raising the difficulty bar progressively. It is knowing how to assess a situation, whether it’s a gap between concrete blocks or a financial risk, and being confident and capable of managing a slip-up.

The parkour philosophy of “be strong to be useful” is also something Tan carried through to his daily life, his work, and his time at NYU Abu Dhabi.

During his degree, Tan was a member of Raising Empowered Advocates for Community Health (REACH), a student group that raises mental health awareness and offers peer counseling. The service helps individuals with support that occupies the space between staff counselor and a friend.. REACH also organizes events to destress during peak examination periods such as special days where NYUAD community members bring their dogs to campus to interact with students

Tan regularly volunteered during his time at NYUAD, and his involvement included some memorable ones such as helping the United Nations with English to Mandarin translation work to help fund raise.

These experiences made him realize that social impact work was his future. Tan hopes to work with the UN, NGOs, and government bodies one day. He is working on a plan to make that happen.