From Island Life to Desert Sands

Tarah Driver, NYU New York Class of 2020.

Hawaiian student from NYU takes a semester abroad at NYU Abu Dhabi

Born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, college has been a time of big changes for Tarah Driver.

“It’s a really big year of trying out new places,” Driver said. The Class of 2020 student had just finished an internship in San Francisco, and the next thing you know, she’s on a plane and arrived in Abu Dhabi for her semester abroad.

Her major in civil engineering meant that studying for a  semester at NYU Abu Dhabi would provide a seamless transition in her course work, and she saw no reason not to explore this part of the world.

Impressions of NYU Abu Dhabi

For Driver, the most noticeable difference between NYUAD and the campus in New York is the unique, close-knit atmosphere. “It’s so small and intimate,” people can co-exist in a wonderful free flowing fashion.

Students from NYU Abu Dhabi represent  over 120 nationalities, so they understand what it’s like to be disoriented and experience  different degrees of culture shock. Driver said making friends with local NYUAD students early on taught her to “navigate the cultural atmosphere, so we are respectful but not compromising part of our identity.”

There are students who call this place home. Getting to know how they learn to feel comfortable here will help you with your transition.

Tarah Driver, NYU Class of 2020

Abu Dhabi is a quaint city, Driver says, with fast-paced development. In just a few months, she  noticed how quickly building developments close to campus are taking shape.

NYU Abu Dhabi students walk around the Al Markaziyah neighborhood in Abu Dhabi.

I’m excited to come back and see how it’s changed in the years to come.

Tarah Driver, NYU Class of 2020

Tip: Use the Resources at NYU Abu Dhabi

Driver loved dancing, and through a dance student interest group (SIG) at NYUAD, she took it up once again. Dancing provided Driver with an outlet to cope with the stress of school work here, and allows her to make more local student friends. 

NYU Abu Dhabi students practice archery as part of the "Oh Shoot" archery Student Interest Group.
NYU Abu Dhabi student talks on the student-led campus radio station.

Driver advises students coming over to the NYUAD campus for a semester to take full advantage of the resources available such as the student interest groups (SIGS), mental, and physical health resources. “Whatever your ‘dance’ is, find it on this campus because there are going to be resources for it,” Driver said.