NDP, NYU and the UAE

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Notre Dame’s Salic, one of only 17 high school counselors from the U.S. chosen for a special NYU event in Abu Dhabi, said some NDP students would do well at diverse campus located in the Middle East.

Notre Dame’s Director of Counseling Vlado Salic returned last week from a special event in the United Arab Emirates hosted by New York University in an effort to help familiarize high-performing American high schools with the university’s relatively new campus in the UAE.

According to Salic, only 17 counselors from the U.S. were chosen to attend the four-day event, which was entirely funded by the university, including air-fare and accommodations. 

Opened in 2010 and located on Saadiyat Island, NYU’s Abu Dhabi facility is one of the most selective schools in the world, admitting 150 out of 9,000 applicants per class. 

“NYU Abu Dhabi brought me in as an opportunity for their satellite campus to get some real exposure,” said Salic, “while I viewed it as opportunity for our students to get exposure to a very unique world-class education.”

Salic, who was joined on the trip by counselors from other U.S. schools that included Maret School in Washington, D.C., and The Bishop’s School in San Diego, said that NYU-AD is a great fit for Notre Dame students, especially those in the International Baccalaureate program. 

“If we are to call ourselves a world school and offer world-class education, we should also be able to offer our students world-class opportunities, no matter where they’re located,” he said.  “Universities of this caliber and structure are ideal for some of our high-performing students.” 

Salic noted that the NYU-Abu Dhabi school is a 100% need-met school with extremely generous financial support to student candidates, more so than the main campus in NYC. He said that representatives from NYU’s New York City campus have visited Notre Dame in the past, with many students expressing interest. But, he said, the Abu Dhabi campus is at a whole other level.

Safer than in the U.S.

“It’s going to take a special student to go there because of the way it’s structured along with the distance from home, etc.,” he said. “And even though everybody there speaks English—some better than us—it’s still a foreign country. But the entire time I was in Abu Dhabi, I never heard a siren or saw any police activity. In fact I felt safer there than I do where I now live.”  

Salic also said it definitely will be harder to get into NYU-AD than most universities in the U.S. “They take the cream of the cream of the crop.” 

He said that even though in America there are some awesome universities, some of the best in the world, NYU-AD has a much more diverse student population than even the Ivy League schools or Oxford, which are usually held up as the gold standard when it comes to diversity. 

NYU-AD2_815px“Oxford and Yale say they have the most diverse campuses in the world,” Salic said. “But if a student at Yale or Harvard was in a study group of five, for instance, maybe three of the five would be Americans, and the other two might be from China or India. That conversation is going to be different than five students in a group at NYU-AD, which might include one from Kuwait, one from Sudan, one from Holland, one from the U.S. and one from China. The context may be the same, but the views will likely be different because of the more diverse group. Truly a global environment for the kids.”

Salic said that there is a surprisingly large number of Notre Dame Prep students who have an interest in studying abroad. “And I believe they should study abroad, if at all possible.”

Med school also available

Now with nearly 900 students, NYU-AD bills itself as a liberal arts college and research university, offering 22 majors in the areas of arts and humanities, social sciences, science and engineering. Salic said there is a medical school on the campus as well.

As a prerequisite for graduation, students are required to take courses from the core curriculum, which encompasses topics in world literature, social studies, arts and natural science. Over their college years, undergraduates take three 3-week courses in January that count toward their graduation requirement.

Salic said the university and the community surrounding it is very progressive for one located in a Muslim country and he can see an NDP student doing well at the school, but it won’t be easy.

“They have to be world- and global-minded and they will be challenged,” he said. “There will be top students not only from the U.S., but from all over the world.

“I wouldn't be able to sleep at night knowing there are opportunities like NYU-AD out there for NDP students, and that we never told them about it. The students I met over there were different in that they were taught to think differently, more globally. But after having lunch with some of them, they still were just kids—not much different than many of our students I wrote recommendations for this year at NDP.”

About the United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates was established as a nation on December 2, 1971. When the British announced their intention to withdraw from the region, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founder and first president of the UAE, successfully negotiated agreements between the emirates that now make up the nation. UAE has a federal government with seven regional subdivisions, called emirates. The head of the federal government is the president, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Abu Dhabi is the name of both the capital city and the largest of the emirates. The seven emirates are Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah, and Umm al-Qaiwain.

Comments or questions? mkelly@ndpma.org.

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About Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy

Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy is a private, Catholic, independent, coeducational day school located in Oakland County. The school's upper division enrolls students in grades nine through twelve and has been named one of the nation's best 50 Catholic high schools (Acton Institute) four times since 2005. Notre Dame's middle and lower divisions enroll students in jr. kindergarten through grade eight. All three divisions are International Baccalaureate "World Schools." NDPMA is conducted by the Marist Fathers and Brothers and is accredited by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States and the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement. For more on Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy, visit the school's home page at www.ndpma.org.

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