From the Emirates: NYUSH develops internal structure, begins to connect to GNU

Courtesy of Noel Konagai

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in Issue 27 of The Gazelle, the student publication at NYU Abu Dhabi. It has been reprinted with permission as a part of an ongoing collaboration between The Gazelle and WSN to connect our two campuses.

NYU Shanghai is entering its second semester of classes. This process, both exciting and frustrating, holds similarities with NYU Abu Dhabi’s initial phase.

Recently, the NYUSH administration visited the construction site for the new, permanent campus. The campus is meant to open in the fall 2014 semester, but NYUSH freshmen mentioned rumors of delays.

“There’s some situation with the dorms, that the dorms might not be ready by next year,” freshman Cameron Ballard explained.

Another freshman, Noel Konagai, noted that he was excited about the possibility of NYUSH having its own facilities and being able to use them as he saw fit, but he added that a large group of students like the current campus.

“It’s a more full-on experience of Chinese culture … it’s less artificial than the financial center [location of the new campus],” Konagai said.

Outside of the new campus, NYUSH has had to create, just as NYUAD did, an entire set of networks and organizations. Last fall, NYUSH established and elected its first student government. Konagai felt that the first semester was dedicated to setting up a constitution and parameters, and brainstorming for future projects. Sports have been another area that has remained a bit improvisational. For example, last semester NYUSH had a mixed-gender basketball team because there were not enough players to field two different teams.

Other areas, like the Health Center and the Career Development Center, remain underdeveloped.

“Right now our health and wellness service is just a wellness service … it’s a work in progress,” Ballard lamented.

He also hoped for more internship opportunities and other similar networks.

As part of solidifying the university, NYUSH has been working on its new curriculum. Nonetheless, there were some moments of frustration between the students and university administration. According to Ballard, a group of students are upset about some required core-style courses that limit their study abroad options. Ballard also remarked that he was initially worried because he was told that the Chinese government had to approve the curriculum. Although this might limit future offerings, so far there have not been negative impacts on the school. NYUSH administration was unavailable to comment on this issue.

“The university is experimenting with us, what we can do and what we cannot do,” said Konagai.

As NYUSH begins to cement itself, students have begun to think about the connections between NYUSH and the rest of NYU’s global network.

NYUAD freshman Pablo Pacareu shared his thoughts on NYUSH.

“[It’s the] distant cousin that your family tells you stories about … I don’t feel like there is a connection,” he said.

Pacareu thought that an increased number of programs between sites in the global network would help strengthen the ties.

A version of this article appeared  in the Monday, Feb. 10 print edition. Sam Ball is deputy opinion editor at The Gazelle. Email him at sam@thegazelle.org.

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