Dmitriy Tretyakov ‘09
Samara, Russia/Ann Arbor, MI
dat289 [at] nyu [dot] edu
As a FLEX 2009 alumnus, I have always wanted to continue my educational path in the familiar exchange-student way: with an international student body, new experiences every weekend and, essentially, receiving an outstanding education. This opportunity came when New York University opened its campus in the UAE capital. I first heard about the new liberal arts college in fall 2009 from the FLEX recruiters Laura Weigel and Ekaterina Kapitanova, when they came to Samara to manage FLEX recruiting.
Applying to NYU Abu Dhabi is a bit more complicated than to other American universities. I went through taking ACT, writing many essays and creative responses, being interviewed by an ecology professor, a field completely out of my knowledge area, and making a number of calls to New York to make sure that every package of applications made its way across the Atlantic. (One of them accidentally reached our Vice Provost in International Education and Outreach, and it was cool to have one of the leaders of the school answer my questions, since such a thing would never happen in a Russian university) When applying I knew quite a few facts about the university. First, I understood I could wait until the end of sophomore year to pick my major. Second, a liberal arts education means a broad education – for example, economists would become familiar with science and literature, instead of immediately beginning their specialization in finance. Third, I could spend two semesters and two trimesters abroad at NYU Academic Centers, which are situated in 11 of the world’s most exciting capitals. And last, but definitely not least, NYU Abu Dhabi would provide full scholarships from Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, which cover tuition, meals, housing, textbooks, stipends, and much more.
After being invited by New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) to the capital of the United Arab Emirates for Candidate Weekend, I participated in the next phase of the selection process. Shortly after that I received my admissions letter. Being accepted meant automatically receiving financial aid and not worrying any more about taking the Russian state exam (EGE).
Candidates often ask current NYUAD students if there is something we don’t like about the school, and most of my peers respond with stories of how overloaded we are with school work. It is true that classes are extremely demanding here, but what we learn is useful and very exciting. “Our University offers an incredible amount of breathtakingly exciting opportunities, our experience here cannot compare to any other universities, NYUAD is global, it is a new model of the future education. And of course we have a responsibility that demands our best effort and maximum contribution” explained Daria Karaulova, FLEX alumna ’09 and my classmate at NYUAD. On top of languages and major-related courses, we take classes from a core curriculum, and this semester the school offers “Immortality,” a writing-intensive science course about cell immortality and related literature; “Disease and Society,” a writing-intensive sociology class that covers the impact of epidemics on humanity; and “Life in the Universe,” a science course about astronomy and extraterrestrial life in science fiction. In addition to taking such inspiring classes, it feels good when visiting professors from Yale, Harvard, or Princeton are surprised to see that we cover the material faster than their students back in the States.
As a member of the NYU Abu Dhabi Class of 2014, I am one of 149 students, representing 39 different countries. The offer of full financial aid created opportunities for truly brilliant students to be a part of the College of Honors, which only accepted 2.1 percent of applicants. For the class of 2015 the official number is 3.3 percent acceptance rate, compared to Harvard (6.2), Yale (7.4), and Princeton (8.4).
Despite the fact that getting here is highly competitive, FLEX alumni have some unofficial privileges. The NYUAD Admissions Department looks for students with international experience, an impressive volunteering portfolio, and a cosmopolitan state of mind. One of the main criteria for selection is academics, although the university doesn’t discriminate against different scholarly backgrounds.
This is my second semester in the school, and I am extremely happy that I chose NYU Abu Dhabi. Here we learn how to work hard and how to rest hard, as one should never separate the two. Being a part of this community means tackling many academic and extracurricular challenges. In this and many other ways I feel that my experience in FLEX is continued by studying here, in NYU Abu Dhabi.