It's easy to get dizzy as you consider the educational trajectory of Daria Karaulova, one of 140 students in NYU Abu Dhabi's first graduating class in May 2014.
Now a student at the renowned Institut d'études politiques de Paris ("Sciences Po"), Karaulova was a true NYU "world citizen" studying not only at NYU Abu Dhabi, but also at NYU Paris and NYU Buenos Aires, plus shorter terms at NYU London and in New York.
Today, just turned 22 and on the career track she wants, she says she's grateful not only to the University but also to NYUAD's Career Development Center, which helped her find two internships she has converted into the blossoming of what promises to be a useful and rewarding work life.
Born in Moscow and raised near the Russian metropolis, Karaulova spent one high-school year on exchange in New Castle, PA., northwest of Pittsburgh. "I had a host brother who was choosing a university, so I learned about the American higher-education system," she says. "I wanted to study that way but my visa situation meant I would have had to wait two years to go to university in the US," she says. " So I looked for an American-system university outside the US I applied to places like the American University of Bulgaria — and to NYUAD."
After a hair-raising last-minute pursuit of a UAE visa, Karaulova was able to attend a candidate weekend at NYUAD in February of 2010, and became part of the school's first class later that year.
Others in her cohort may well remember her: Karaulova seems to have been involved in everything. "I used to swim a lot, and I was one of the captains of the dragon-boat team my first year, and I helped start the equestrian club. Later on I was a residential assistant, and I was recruited for The Gazelle, the student paper, and later became a deputy managing editor, and I had photography and a translation of a poem published in Electra Street."
"I had my first internship in the athletic department at NYUAD, and later interned in community outreach. Later still I was an intern at the Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Scholars Program, for Emirati nationals. In the summer of 2011, I took a French course in Strasbourg, France, and then worked part-time at the American Councils in Moscow."
Tired yet? Karaulova is just getting started. "After my second year I had a summer internship in Paris with Sparknews, a social entrepreneurship and media startup. I kept working there part time the next semester while I was at NYU-Paris. In January 2012 I took a course at NYU-London, then the second semester of my sophomore year I spent at NYU-Buenos Aires, and worked as a volunteer in a local school, because I really wanted to learn Spanish." (She also speaks Russian, French, English, and Arabic.)
Karaulova's original double major, in political science and literature, had by this time evolved; she graduated in political science with concentrations in literature and Arabic language, and a minor in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies. By then the Career Development Center's Internship and Career Fair had put her in touch with the international consulting firm Accenture, where she interned in the summer of 2013. (She also squeezed in a one-month thesis-research trip to Nepal).
Then, early in 2014, as she finished at NYUAD, the Career Development Center helped her find Control Risks, also a global consultancy but specializing in helping clients manage international risks linked to security, integrity, and politics.
"I liked Accenture," she says, "but general management consulting is not for me. When I did my part-time internship with Control Risks it opened up a whole new idea for me, that I could apply my political science training in a practical way. I was a part-time intern during my last semester and I was involved with a big project" — which she will not identify except to say that it gave her a chance "to use my Arabic and Russian in a professional setting."
Rather than pursuing the recruitment process towards a full-time position with Control Risks immediately, Karaulova chose to work towards a masters in international security at the Paris School of International Affairs of "Sciences Po". Her regional specialization in the Middle East, and her thematic specialization in international energy, obviously dovetail neatly. The program's second year involves a full-time internship of up to six months, and for that she expects to be back at Control Risks for that.
It's all working out right for Daria Karaulova, it seems, and "I have NYUAD to thank for this. All this became an option because of the experience I gained at NYUAD. Everyone there encouraged us to show initiative, to be curious, to seek action and continue growing. I never had this before. They taught me not to be afraid to try things. And the amount of resources available to us was very helpful."
She notes that the Internship and Career Fair, like the school itself, "became bigger and bigger each semester." In fact, she sums up, "every time I came back to Abu Dhabi, from a vacation or a semester abroad, it seemed like more buildings were going up in the city. And I really feel like I was growing with the city."
Photo credit: Nataly Darashkevich