I’m often asked what typifies or distinguishes an NYU education. Given our size, span, and complexity, that’s a hard question to answer.
But, as the US university that sends more students to study abroad than any other, surely one common attribute is the way NYU’s students and faculty make their local environments their classroom, wherever they are.
I was reminded of that when I was in Israel earlier this month to mark NYU Tel Aviv’s 10th anniversary. At Caesarea National Park, a stunning site with Roman- and Crusader-era ruins, students work with scholars from Tel Aviv University and the Israeli Antiquities Authority to shed light on ancient life in the Mediterraenean city. At NYU Madrid, students are collaborating with local photographers and graffiti artists on a dynamic art project. And NYU Global Equity Fellows examine diversity and inclusion, and learn from communities at our global sites, often focusing on issues of social justice.
It’s inspiring that our scholars and students find meaning in their international experiences and translate them into action. For example, the founders of Seastraws, a sustainable straw company, first crossed paths studying abroad at NYU Florence. (Their straws are in fact in use in our dining halls!) Krystal Atwood (’18 STEINHARDT) gained insights through a Steinhardt art therapy internship in Buenos Aires that helped underserved populations, which influenced her career path as an art therapist in the medical field today.
Melissa Godin, a 2017 graduate of the Global Liberal Studies program, spent time in Florence and Paris before ultimately winning a Rhodes scholarship. Currently an intern at The New York Times in Paris, she says the program, which takes a cross-disciplinary approach in analysis of cultures, societies, and eras, changed her perspective of what education should look like. Through Global Liberal Studies—which is celebrating its 10th year—students spend at least two semesters abroad.
This is not to say that a global education doesn’t come with challenges. There are national currents working against the flow of people and ideas across borders. We are seeing more processing delays with visas for international students; and China recently issued a warning to its young people about studying in the US. The Institute for International Education reported that, for the first time in many years, new enrollments of international students have declined (though NYU continues to see increases in international applicants and hosts more international students than any other US college or university). Having a global presence also requires a global security strategy: we monitor unrest in many areas of the world to protect our students and faculty.
An instinctive response to these barriers might be to turn inward. But as someone who was educated in three countries and established my career in a fourth, it’s hard to imagine what life would have been like had I not had the freedom to study and work outside my home country. In the choice between engagement with the world and turning our back on it, I firmly believe our university must engage and, in doing so, strengthen our campuses and academic centers abroad.
As we pause for a brief break, I wish you all an enjoyable and restful time—wherever in the world you may be.
It’s a big year for anniversaries for our global sites and degree-granting campuses: NYU Paris celebrated its 50th year in September, and NYU Abu Dhabi is in its 10th year. I traveled to Tel Aviv earlier this month to commemorate its 10th anniversary and had the wonderful opportunity to visit Caesarea National Park, where students are carrying out archaeological research.
One of the great advantages of our global network is the cross-pollination that fosters creativity across the world. The NYU Production Lab formed a partnership beginning last year with NYU Abu Dhabi’s Music Technology and Sound Recording that pairs New York-based storytellers with Abu Dhabi audio engineers and music technologists (including sound engineer Iván Budnik [’21 NYUAD], above).
New York is the world’s largest financial center, and Shanghai is currently #5 (and growing!), so there is likely no better combination of locales for students to learn finance, business computing, and data analytics. The intrepid inaugural cohorts from NYU Stern and NYU Shanghai’s MS in Quantitative Finance and MS in Data Analytics & Business Computing arrived at Stern in June, and then headed to Shanghai in the fall. In May 2020, they will graduate in Shanghai with a joint degree from Stern and Shanghai.
Oral health is largely ignored as a global issue; to raise awareness, NYU College of Dentistry and The Lancet recently hosted a UN side event to call for dental care to be included in commitments to universal health coverage. NYU Dentistry students regularly provide oral care free of charge to uninsured patients both here in New York and abroad, including Ecuador (above).
In response to the increasing demand for experience in Spanish-speaking communities, students in the cross-continental Master of Public Health program at the College of Global Public Health are studying at NYU Madrid, NYU Washington, DC, and are currently at NYU Buenos Aires (above). In addition to improving their Spanish, participants take classes in research methods, epidemiology, and Latin American health systems, and are undertaking fieldwork with local organizations. As part of the program, students travel to three global sites within a year.
Our illustrious Tisch School of the Arts has robust program offerings for nascent high school filmmakers, but what about all those budding directors who can’t make it to the Square? Tisch film teacher Chris Chan Roberson (above) and Annie Stanton, executive director of Tisch special projects, recently developed the Tisch Online High School Filmmakers Workshop enabling filmmakers from the United States, China, Korea, Haiti, Hong Kong, and South Africa, to collaborate seamlessly online.
For many of our students, one of the most valuable aspects of college life is sharing a living space with a roommate, particularly one from another part of the world. Frank Zhou and Justin Zotos (’21 NYUSH) met freshman year and decided to stick together while studying away in New York this fall. Having spent Chinese New Year with Frank’s family, who is from Yangzhou, they will celebrate Thanksgiving in Chicago, Justin’s hometown.
With three degree-granting campuses and 12 global sites (the newest one is in Los Angeles, which opened last year), more of our students are opting to study away: Nearly half of the population goes abroad during their time at NYU, with some electing to study away at multiple sites.
As fires blazed in the Amazon rainforest and world leaders met at the UN this fall, NYU Wagner Associate Professor Salo Coslovsky brought together Brazilian politicians, researchers, and climate-change activists to unpack the crisis at a spirited public forum.
It’s not all fun and games studying away—except when it is. NYU Tandon students have a rigorous curriculum, but plenty of them manage to fit time abroad amidst their studies, as did Amanda DiTrolio (’20 TANDON), a chemical and biomolecular engineering major, who went scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef during her time at NYU Sydney.
In addition to a degree-granting portal campus in Abu Dhabi, NYUAD has a home base in the US, 19 Washington Square North, which strengthens connections between faculty in New York and Abu Dhabi. This month, I attended a gathering to celebrate research, teaching, and collaboration upon the 10th anniversary of its opening. Above, I’m joined by NYUAD Vice Chancellor Mari?t Westermann and Ambassador Lana Nusseibeh, the United Arab Emirates’ Permanent Representative to the UN.