A New Semester Begins

Feb 10 2014

As the second semester of the first year of NYU Shanghai begins, students are returning from their long winter break with many unique experiences, such as traveling the globe to travel and volunteer. One NYU Shanghai student, Noel Konagai, returned to his home country of Hungary over winter break. In his hometown, he visited some of his high school friends, as well as made a presentation on NYUSH for his former high school. After his trip back home, he visited his friend and fellow student, Fikret Khalilov in Azerbaijan. His trip culminated in attending the Global Leadership Summit on scholarship at NYU Abu Dhabi. 

The Global Leadership Summit is a collection of NYU student leaders selected through a competitive application process, with only two students accepted from NYU Shanghai. At the summit, Noel Konagai loved “improving what you’re bad at” at the conference and enjoyed several fun and “practical ways of experiencing leadership”. While at NYU Abu Dhabi, Noel also participated in Volunteering ADvocacy with whom he volunteered at the Somalian Social and Culture Center where he not only taught English, but expanded his views on religion.

Another freshman student, Russian native Ellina Nurmukhametova, spent her break volunteering and touring in Thailand and Indonesia. She calls her trip “the story of how Ellie became a vegetarian” because of the insight she gained, seeing “how animals are alive”. At the Safari Park in Thailand, Ellina followed her passions and celebrated her opportunity to “go and be there and actually help” improve the conditions of animals in zoos. After her time at Safari Park, she went to a Buddhist Monastery in the north of Thailand and learned to meditate and relax before her trip to Indonesia. During her first week in Indonesia, she worked with the organization Green Lion, to teach English and kindergarten.

Hannah Johnstone, from Portland, Oregon, spent time with her family at home during Christmas and then went to Japan with friends she had met at NYUSH during her first semester. In Tokyo, Hannah, along with Sandra Kohn, Lisa Barry, Dave Santiano, Max Bork, and Ian Soder, explored the city and surrounding area. During her time away from campus, Hannah “missed all the people, the soupateria (the cafeteria on campus where people can make their own soup), and blueberry barley yogurt” at NYU Shanghai.

The first semester of NYU Shanghai was a journey in itself, with students quickly building lasting relationships and beginning the transformation into global citizens.  Now, after a long but productive break, where many students traveled the world to visit their new friends, or undertake service and leadership projects across the globe, their academic and personal journeys continue.

Written by Kylee Borger