Emirati pupils awarded a spot on New York University’s scholarship programme for the next two summers relish the opportunity to experience college life on campuses around the world.
NYU Abu Dhabi on Sunday announced the 32 recipients of its Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Scholarship for Outstanding High School Students, who will join an 18-month enrichment programme.
Noor Al Saadi, a Grade 10 student at the British School Al Khubairat, applied to the programme in December and was granted admission after a painstaking process that included applications and an interview with NYU representatives.
“My sister actually did this programme in the past and I’ve seen the change in her,” Noor said. “She’s more confident now and her character is strong, so I’m really excited to see what transformation it can create for me.”
Designed for academically outstanding Abu Dhabi-based Emirati high school pupils, recipients of the scholarship are granted admission to the Summer Academy, an NYU programme that prepares participants for admission to international institutes and universities.
Participants attend the summers following 10th and 11th grades, and experience the benefits of a liberal arts education through an academic and cultural experience at NYU’s sites in Abu Dhabi, New York and Florence, Italy.
“I’m most excited about going to New York,” Noor said. “I’ve never been to America and everyone says it’s amazing to go to because of the amount of diversity in their cities.”
Noor said she had plenty of time to make a final decision on which university to attend, but had given it some thought.
“I’m looking at British universities but one of the reasons I wanted to do the NYU programme is so that I can have a wider variety of universities that I’ll be able to apply to and going to Italy and New York will give me more of an option.”
Her schoolmate Mareya Khouri is looking forward to the prospect of developing academically and honing her leadership skills.
“I think it’s important because our generation will be the leaders of the UAE in the future and I think this programme will help a lot, especially with the leadership class.”
With MIT and Harvard her top choices, Mareya believes the summer programme will increase her chances of getting into her top pick.
Dana Al Qubaisi, the mother of a scholarship recipient from the Applied Technology High School, said her anxiety at letting her son go almost kept him home.
“It wasn’t until the programme gave the talk to the parents that my worries subsided because I know this will be such an enriching opportunity for Saif,” Mrs Al Qubaisi said.
“Not only does this scholarship help students develop the confidence to succeed in higher education, it also provides cross-cultural and academic exposure to help students excel in an increasingly competitive and globalised environment,” said Sheikha Mariam bint Mohammed bin Zayed, who serves as a key adviser to the programme.
Recipients of the scholarship are introduced to critical thinking, English, writing, mathematical reasoning, public speaking and leadership. They also attend small group classes, learn about university admissions requirements, and receive counselling and coaching in standardised test preparation.
“These high-achieving students have been selected through a rigorous process based on academic achievements, English-language capabilities, leadership potential, and demonstration of the commitment and desire for self-developments,” said Diane C Yu, executive director of the Summer Academy and deputy president of NYU.