J-Term Takes Students Around UAE and Beyond

When it comes to hands-on education, there's nothing quite like January Term

Press Release

NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) students are exploring communities and cultures through January Term (J-Term), an immersive three-week learning experience taking place from Abu Dhabi to Florence to New York to Shanghai and beyond. 

J-Term is a unique study program that aims to expand students’ intellectual capacity and reach beyond the classroom. The program incorporates experiential learning, connecting students to contemporary concepts across the UAE, the Middle East and a range of global destinations. With courses taught by renowned scholars, writers, artists, journalists and policy analysts as well as distinguished faculty from across the NYU community, students learn first-hand about how the world is changing every single day while experiencing the rich diversity of NYU’s global network.

With over 80 courses offered to NYUAD students across 23 countries, the 2018 J-Term program places a strong focus on the Arab world and beyond, including courses such as: Reporting Disasters Before They Happen To Save LivesColloquial Arabic: Emirati DialectChildren, Youth and Sustainable Development of the World's CitiesLanguage of Business and Aristocrats, among others. Every course is designed to expand the horizons of students beyond their classroom studies to incorporate first-hand learning experiences that are often site-specific, connecting students to the place they are studying. 

“The January Term is a curricular and pedagogical laboratory led by exceptionally talented faculty. The highly curated courses have students bring theory to practice through extensive research, field work, and artistic production in the real world. They learn to “read” the natural and human landscapes of the UAE, region, and the world as a critical text for their classes,” said NYU Abu Dhabi Associate Vice Chancellor, Global Education and Outreach and Vice Provost Carol Brandt.


January Term is a curricular and pedagogical laboratory led by exceptionally talented faculty. The highly curated courses have students bring theory to practice through extensive research, fieldwork, and artistic production in the real world."

Carol Brandt, Vice Provost and Associate Vice Chancellor of Global Education and Outreach

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Featured Courses

Reporting Disasters Before They Happen To Save Lives, taught by Kunda Dixit, Editor and Publisher of Nepali Times, will focus on how media can reorient itself from covering disasters after they happen to serving as an early warning about calamities that are sure to take place. These can be slowly unfolding emergencies like climate change, or sudden events like earthquakes. The course will be structured around a field visit to Nepal where students can observe both the effects of climate change and the aftermath of the 2015 earthquake, analyze how both are being covered in the international media, talk to climate scientists and seismologists and produce journalistic pieces that will be good examples of pre-disaster reporting.

Colloquial Arabic: Emirati Dialect, taught by NYUAD Senior Arabic Language Instructor Nasser Isleem, builds on students' prior knowledge of Modern Standard Arabic, while introducing them to the unique aspects that make the Emirati dialect distinctive. The students commit to speaking solely in Arabic for the duration of the three week-long course, giving them the opportunity to develop an Emirati dialect through their knowledge of Modern Standard Arabic during their stay with local host families in the oasis city of Al Ain. The course serves as a gateway to accessing intimate aspects of life, culture, and heritage of the Gulf region.

Children, Youth and Sustainable Development of the World's Cities, taught by Hirokazu Yoshikawa, the Courtney Sale Ross Professor of Globalization and Education at NYU Steinhardt and a University Professor at NYU, as well as Co-Director of the Global TIES for Children center at NYU, focuses on the goal of making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. This course will consider innovations from around the world in making cities sustainable for children and the youth, who represent the future of sustainable societies. Urban innovations for sustainability will also be reviewed. Fieldwork in India will provide opportunities for the observation of programs as well as meetings with NGO staff and other urban leaders, and will supplement student discussions.

Language of Business, taught by Dr. Frank Luntz, an American political consultant and pollster, will teach students how to identify and apply effective business language and communication techniques in real-world settings. It will examine and explain the words, visuals and video that change the way people think, the way they interact, even how they behave. The course will feature visits by prominent diplomatic envoys including His Excellency Yousef Al Otaiba, Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to the United States of America. With an emphasis on student and faculty interaction, it will explore the verbal and visual cues that shape corporate communication and public opinion. The focus will be on the practical, fundamentals of real-life public communications in the real world – with recent and current case studies. The class will be highly interactive, not just informative, and include presentations by global experts in their fields.

Aristocrats, taught by Kanchan Chandra, Professor of Politics at NYU, draws on history, political science, anthropology, and literature to raise the following questions: How did the aristocracy’s fate vary when democracy was established? And how do these varying fortunes affect democratic politics? The course’s first half, in Abu Dhabi, will focus on conceptual and theoretical questions, comparing the UK, Zambia, Japan, the US, South Asia, and the Middle East. The course’s second half will include a seminar to India, where the aristocracy suffered a significant political decline, but was not wiped out, and has recently been reinventing itself.

“The intensive nature of J-Term allows for students to deeply engage in the subject matter and materials they will encounter during these courses. This depth not only allows for a comprehensive exploration of the students' chosen subjects, but also helps them develop how they approach learning when a deeper dive is called for. The intensive schedule also opens a unique opportunity for students to connect with faculty with whom they can forge a strong relationship in and out of the classroom,” said Richard Hendler, Clinical Associate Professor of Law in Business at NYU Stern. Hendler will be conducting a J-Term course designed to prepare students for the interconnectedness of global startup organizations and relevant legal environments, titled Law in Entrepreneurship.

About NYU Abu Dhabi

NYU Abu Dhabi is the first comprehensive liberal arts and research campus in the Middle East to be operated abroad by a major American research university. NYU Abu Dhabi has integrated a highly selective undergraduate curriculum across the disciplines with a world center for advanced research and scholarship. The university enables its students in the sciences, engineering, social sciences, humanities, and arts to succeed in an increasingly interdependent world and advance cooperation and progress on humanity’s shared challenges. NYU Abu Dhabi’s high-achieving students have come from over 115 countries and speak over 115 languages. Together, NYU's campuses in New York, Abu Dhabi, and Shanghai form the backbone of a unique global university, giving faculty and students opportunities to experience varied learning environments and immersion in other cultures at one or more of the numerous study-abroad sites NYU maintains on six continents.