The new 2013-14 academic year is bringing the world to Abu Dhabi, ushering the next wave of students with nationalities ranging from Australia to Algeria, from Brazil to Jordan and from Egypt to the Comoros Islands. The influx of students solidifies the emirate’s ever-increasing popularity as an academic destination, buoyed by its recreational, natural and commercial attractions.
At Abu Dhabi University, students have found a “home away from home” by embracing student cultural clubs representing the UAE, Palestine, Lebanon, Nigeria, South Sudan, Egypt and many others.The institution’s most eagerly anticipated cultural event - Global Day - features exhibitions in participation with the embassies of Mexico, Kazakhstan, Singapore and South Korea among others. These showcase their countries’ most iconic cuisine, colorful attire, entrancing music, art, mesmerizing performances and other heritage. However the institution is not only waiting for the world to visit the emirate, as it proactively immerses students in academic expeditions overseas to open their eyes to first-hand cultural experiences in Scotland, the US and elsewhere.
Welcoming the incoming students, Dr Nabil Ibrahim, Chancellor of Abu Dhabi University said: “To every student who has ever wanted to travel the world and experience exotic cultures, we are thrilled to say you have arrived at your destination. Our effervescent campus is bubbling with fresh new cultures, new talents and new mindsets. Abu Dhabi has emerged as a bridge thatlinks the region to international tourists, investors and conglomerates.Similarly our institution is bridging the gap between ethnicities, genders and religions - while also serving as a bridge to their dream careers, thanks to our graduates’ exceptional record in the job market.”
Henry Ezeonu, an Environmental Health and Safety freshman from Nigeria, admitted that being a student abroad has its challenges, but added: “Like me, this institution is young and ambitious. The fact that it has come so far in such a short time makes me highly excited about the achievements ahead.The multicultural atmosphere will make me an ideal employee in the global village, since I will be equally at home with people of any culture.”
Meanwhile IIhyuk Seo, a Mechanical Engineering freshman from South Korea, said he was pleasantly surprised that the communication barrier he had expected is non-existent: “I can honestly say I am now just as comfortable socializing with the friendly international students as I am with my fellow Korean. What’s exciting isn’t just the diversity of cultures, but also the diversity of ideas because it makes you more open-mindedand more well-rounded.”
The excitement is not only limited to incoming students as even members of ADU’s alumni are still harvesting the benefits of their cosmopolitan experience. Hiba Merie, a Finance graduate from Palestine said: “Looking back, the best thing about my four yearsin that cosmopolitan community is that studentshad the freedom to explore, make mistakes and learn from them. Today in the workplace weare more marketable because we won’t have to learn everything the hard way. For example I now know how to work in teams of people whose ideas don’t necessarily match my own, but yet appreciating that we share more similarities than differences.”