***This is the last post for my study abroad online course. The prompt was farewells- our favorite parts of our city, what we will miss, and what we thought of the course***
My days go on in the way I’ve become comfortable with: class in the morning at NYU’s downtown campus, working at my Al-Mamoura office for hours, squash at the Sheraton Corniche, dinner in Sama Tower, studying and socializing late into the night, six hours of sleep, and it all starts again. My weekends offer some breaks to the cycle with meals out with various acquaintances, more time for schoolwork or finding something fun to do in the city … but it is all changing now. My nights are now full of goodbye dinners with colleagues and others I’ve met outside of NYU, classes are slowing as final papers and projects begin, and every day it gets a little bit sadder with my friends. And today, the remaining ones have hit single digits- 9 days left.
This semester has been my best by far. I’ve felt constantly inspired and I’ve been endlessly learning. The city makes very few things stressful- no traffic, cheap prices, clean infrastructure, and lots of cultures to explore. The people I’ve been around have pushed me to think in many different ways- the NYUAD professors and students, my colleagues at work, and the various others I’ve interacted with, whether briefly or for extended and multiple periods. Overall, I love Abu Dhabi because there is so much to do, so many issues to think about, and so many people who it is incredibly easy to meet. Most importantly, I’ve forged deep friendships and established many mentors.
What I’ll miss the most when I leave is the culture of Abu Dhabi and how complicated and unseen it is. I’ll miss the sights and sounds, the different foods in the air, the Oud, and seeing the fancy cars and beautiful abayas and kanduras. I’ll also be sad to leave work- I’ve loved the company I’ve been involved with, they’ve taught me more than I would have ever expected and really respect my input. The hardest part though, will be leaving my friends. I’ve made many but have a close group of seven or so that I’ll miss a lot. Luckily, many will be studying abroad in New York next semester- but the four months between now and then will be sad.
I’ve really enjoyed this course because the prompts and the readings have given me an extra layer of reflection on my time here in the city. I always write about my different experiences, but it has been nice to be pushed to think about new subjects and in new ways. I recommend this course to anyone studying abroad and I recommend Abu Dhabi- though it isn’t for everyone. It takes hard work to see its beauty and a strong mind to maintain certain ideals in the face of difficult situations. Regardless, this semester has been one of great thinking, and I’m sad it will be ending.
Hopefully though, I will be returning to Abu Dhabi when I graduate in December. I would love to spend two years or so here working and learning about the city in a different way. It really feels like home.
Sama Tower- where we eat, drink, sleep, and study!