Opening this September with a freshman class of 150, NYU Abu Dhabi is shaping up to be a pretty competitive school. According to the Times, 90% of the first class is bilingual, and they have an average SAT verbal score of 715 and an average math score of 730. It's also turning into a completely international university. Robert M. Berdahl, president of the Association of American Universities, said, "The NYU model reflects a very different and thoughtful approach to what [NYU president] John Sexton and others perceive as the increasing globalization of higher education and the disappearance of traditional boundaries." But is Abu Dhabi really a college town?
The internet is heavily censored in the capitol city of the United Arab Emirates, and both protests and homosexual acts are illegal. And though the city has paid for the entire project, there is no guarantee that the oil behind the funds won't dry up. But students see the limits as a worthy challenge, and are already discussing forming a civil rights club. Future student Laith Aqel said, "I think we’ll be able to find creative ways to circumvent restrictions while maintaining respect for our host country."
Students at NYU Abu Dhabi can major in anything from Brain and Cognitive Science to Literature, and can take location specific classes like "Modern Arabic Fiction", "Silk Roads Past and Present", and "Oil, Energy, and the Middle East." And apart from possibly not being able to use Wikipedia to write term papers, it sounds just like its stateside counterpart. Besides, now there can be a whole new city for midwestern girls to terrorize, convinced that they are going to live out their Sex and the City 2 inspired dreams!