ABU DHABI // Emiratis make up the largest group of new students at New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) for the first time.
One hundred and seventy five students from 72 countries have joined the undergraduate programme, it was announced yesterday.
The university accepted its first students in 2010, so this is the first time it has had a full cohort of undergraduates - from first-year students to seniors.
Twenty-four of the newcomers are Emiratis. Other heavily represented countries include the United States, China, India, Pakistan, Russia, South Korea, Britain and Australia.
There are about 620 students in total at the university but this will increase to between 2,000 and 2,200 undergraduates after it moves to its permanent campus on Saadiyat Island next year from its current base in the city.
"From the graduation of our inaugural class, to the opening of our Saadiyat Island campus, this is an extraordinarily exciting time for NYUAD," said the university's president, John Sexton.
Emirati Abdulla Al Mutawa, 18, is beginning a degree in economics. He chose NYUAD after attending a canvas weekend in May.
"I liked the atmosphere there. Even though I am in the UAE, when I go there I don't feel like I am in the UAE anymore. There are people from all over the world," he said.
"It's one of the best top-tier universities right now in the UAE."
Mr Al Mutawa said his dream job was to work for Abu Dhabi Investment Authority. "That's where I hope to help the UAE grow," he added.
NYUAD's vice chancellor, Al Bloom, said: "In three short years, NYU Abu Dhabi has become an international magnet for young men and women who are not only among the very best academically but who share a passion for learning and a resolve to build a more united, just and peaceful world."