J-term 2024: Bringing Lessons back Home

As J-term students return from across the globe, they bring back with them lessons that are uniquely an NYUAD experience inspired by the very core of the University’s mission.

As the start of the semester begins, students return from around the world having been immersed in J-term learning experiences that have broadened their perspectives and enriched their university life. 

Despite the structured syllabus, J-term students consistently return with a wealth of knowledge extending beyond the curriculum, gaining valuable insights about themselves and the courses they engaged in.

In its latest iteration, J-term featured 80 courses across 24 countries, spanning various disciplinary fields. The time constraints of the program result in intensive and demanding courses, filled with activities. Despite the focused nature of these courses, the off-campus setting inherently fosters an interdisciplinary approach.


"J-term, now in its 12th year running, has always had a very clear purpose: to immerse our students in environments that tap into more intensive learning experiences. However, students have found, time and time again, that they come back to campus having learned so much more than what the syllabus set out to teach, and understand more about themselves than what can possibly be expressed in a classroom assignment," 

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

Aligned with the University's mission to educate global citizens, J-term integrates travel as an educational tool alongside a diverse group of academic guides, including researchers, faculty, scholars, writers, and leaders. 

Here are five highlights from courses that have seen students travel the globe in pursuit of unique educational experiences: 

Women and Gender - Global Leadership Models ReImagined 

UAE and South Africa

The course “Women and Gender - Global Leadership Models ReImagined” delved into definitions, histories, and emerging theories about women leaders globally. 

The trio teaching the course were all women leading in the fields of IDBEA and education: NYU’s inaugural Senior Vice President for Global Inclusion and Strategic Innovation, Lisa M Coleman; NYUAD’s Executive Director of Inclusion and Equity Fatiah Touray, and Professor of Higher Education Teboho Moja, who serves as NYU Steinhardt’s Department Chair of Administration, Leadership, and Technology.

In the course, students considered the role of women across nations with a specific focus on the UAE and South Africa. By engaging with various speakers and texts from different geographical locations and intellectual traditions, students explored several questions around how has the role of women and women's leadership shifted? 

In doing so, students gained a nuanced understanding of the contrasting and emerging definitions of woman, gender, and leadership in relation to emerging and practical policy and leadership implications and global interconnectedness.

Building Peace and Restoring Societies after Violent Conflict


In this J-term course, where students traveled to Bosnia to explore the impact of collective violence and peacebuilding activities, students were asked a key question: How do societies build peace after violent conflict?

Taught by NYU Steinhardt Associate Professor of Psychology and Social Intervention Rezarta Bilali, “Building Peace and Restoring Societies after Violent Conflict” allowed students to explore the science and art of building peace in the aftermath of collective violence. 

Fieldwork took students to Bosnia where they interacted with practitioners to critically assess how peacebuilding strategies have worked in Bosnia. 

“This was the most intensive, involved, beautiful, and exhausting teaching experience I have had. Different from other teaching that I do now, I also learned a lot myself,” said Bilali “I have been so touched reading their daily reflections!” said Bilali.

When the Moors Ruled in Europe


In this course students learned about the history of coexistence between Muslims, Jews, and Christians in the Iberian peninsula and its diasporic legacies in the broader Mediterranean world.

Students first examined the medieval concept of convivencia, or cultures of coexistence, and explored how it transformed cities such as Toledo, Córdoba and Granada into leading European centers of knowledge. Next, they looked at port cities such as Palermo, Livorno and Tunis that emerged as spaces of religious tolerance after the expulsion of Muslims and Jews from Iberia at the dawn of the modern era. 

“In an era of increasing xenophobia and intolerance, what might we learn from past experiences of multiculturalism?” asked professors Luis Ramos and Kyle Joseph Wanberg, who taught the course. 

Students engaged in this central question through class discussions and site visits in Spain. Similarly, students critically examined Spain’s cultures of medieval convivencia as a means of grappling with questions of migration, cultural transmission and interfaith dialogue in the modern world. 

Curation for Participation in the Age of Artificial Intelligence Generated Content


NYU Shanghai Assistant Arts Professor of Interactive Media+Business Yanyue Yuan challenged students to explore new trends in museum curation and audience participation in a world of Generative AI. 

Yuan asked students two essential questions: What is the essence of curation, both within and beyond the traditional museum setting? How can we curate with a focus on active audience participation in the age of Artificial Intelligence Generated Content (AIGC)? 

This course introduced students to the core principles of participatory curation, enriched by insights derived from both research and practical applications. 

Students worked in groups to redesign the main exhibition at the Shanghai Museum of Glass and document their collaborative efforts in a curatorial portfolio. 

Alongside this course project, students engaged in immersive field trips to local museums and cultural institutions, developing skills in ideation, conceptualization, prototyping, gathering user feedback, and integrating Artificial Intelligence Generated Content (AIGC) in curatorial projects.

Global Business Strategy

UAE and Kenya

The course aimed to enrich students’ understanding of variations in the institutional, and resource contexts of nations and the impact of these variations on national economic growth.

Led by NYU Stern’s Clinical Professor of Marketing Sunder Narayanan, students went on a visit to Nairobi, Kenya, during which they were able to observe directly how the institutions and resources there impact how business is done there compared to in other countries.  

While in Kenya, students had the opportunity to explore the host country and participate in presentations and discussions with local experts.  They also conducted market research to help them formulate a market entry strategy for their project report.