NYU Abu Dhabi graduates hoping to carve out careers in the UAE

NYU Abu Dhabi’s largest class of graduates will be honoured at a ceremony on Monday evening

Students from around the world who have set up home in the UAE are ready to extend their stay in the country after graduating from NYU Abu Dhabi.

A total of 275 young people from 75 countries will stand together on Monday evening as the latest - and largest - class of graduates from the university.

The have the world at their feet, but many have set their sights on climbing the career ladder in the UAE.

Last year, 49 per cent of NYU Abu Dhabi graduates chose to remain in the Emirates following their graduation to work at organisations such as the Central Bank of the UAE, Emaar and Etihad Airways.

Another 11 per cent chose to move to the United States to seek employment.

Yero Niamadio, 22, from Senegal, studied economics and political science at the Saadiyat Island seat of learning and will be working in data science in Abu Dhabi after graduating.

Growing up in Senegal, Mr Niamadio studied in French language schools until he turned 17, and faced the challenge of learning English when he moved to Abu Dhabi.

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates - From left, Yero Niamadio, Alexander MacKay, Ella Noll, Touba Marrie, Rastraraj Bhandari students graduating from New York University Abu Dhabi, Saadiyat. Khushnum Bhandari for The National

"I have interacted with people here and have learned the language since 2015. I feel that there are opportunities here," said Mr Niamadio.

"The UAE is spearheading the MENA region and I can grow here as most companies give young employees flexibility.

"In many multinationals, you get a lot more flexibility here, especially at a starting position, than if you are at one of their branches in Europe or the United States."

Later in life, Mr Niamadio aspires to work towards the economic development of his country though his expertise in the fields of infrastructure development, political science and data science.

"That is one of the reasons I studied political science,” he said.

I like the lifestyle here as well as the culture

Ella Noll, 22, an American student who grew up in Tokyo, moved to Abu Dhabi to pursue her bachelors in economics and then switched to computer science, economics and mandarin.

"I am looking for jobs here. After getting to know the people and the city, I think this is a good place to start a career," Ms Noll said.

"There is a lot of opportunity and I feel comfortable here as I have a personal network now.

"I like the lifestyle here as well as the culture, weather, city and food. I would like to stay in Abu Dhabi.

"The US is culturally familiar to me and everyone speaks English, so it seems too easy. Here, I get to experience different cultures and I am challenged on a daily basis while figuring out the bus system or communicating with people."

The student is currently looking for jobs in technology and language development.

She said job hunting is an easier task in the UAE than in other countries, but students must be prepared for the long waiting period and the fact that people do not always respond.

After working in technology, Ms Noll is interested in studying law as she believes it will provide a challenge for her.

While some chose to seek employment, other graduates were excited to pursue higher education. Last year, NYU Abu Dhabi graduates went to 14 countries for higher studies with 51 per cent heading to the United States.

Rastrarsaj Bhandari, a 23-year-old from Nepali graduating in Economics, is excited to move to China and start his masters in China studies at Peking University.

"I am very passionate about climate change and the environment and am interested in studying China’s role in combatting climate change while improving my Chinese speaking skills."

The environmentalist wishes to work in diplomacy in Asia and is the former chairperson at the sustainability committee at NYU Abu Dhabi, where he has written articles on climate change and advised the university on how to be more sustainable.

"I think China will be the next big thing globally," he said.

The student will leave with warm memories of his university days. On one occasion he rode his bicycle from Abu Dhabi to Liwa in a 36-hour-long trip to learn about the UAE’s culture.

Another graduate moving to China is Alexander MacKay, a 23-year-old student of mechanical engineering from Canada, who will be heading to Tsinghua University in Beijing for his masters in global affairs.

Learning about and exploring cultures was a great part of Mr MacKay's student life in NYU Abu Dhabi.

“Last week, a friend of mine hosted a group of us at his house for Iftar and that was a good culmination of my four years here," said Mr McKay.

“I was surrounded by people from all around the world and welcomed into an Emirati’s home to break fast together. It was an experience I could not have imagined myself having anywhere else."

NYU Abu Dhabi's commencement ceremony will feature a keynote address by Bonnie St John, a former White House official and Paralympic medallist.