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US: NYU Abu Dhabi scours globe for top students

Laith Aqel, co-valedictorian of his high school graduating class in Wayne, New Jersey, and juggler of too many activities to list, says he always envisioned himself on a classic New England campus with "Gothic architecture and big grass lawns", writes Lisa W Foderaro for The New York Times. He weighed offers from Tufts University, Boston College's honours programme and New York University. But when he leaves for college later this year, he will travel 11,100 kilometres to Abu Dhabi in the Persian Gulf.

That is where New York University will open a campus in September with an inaugural freshman class of 150 students from 39 countries, a far cry from Aqel's old ideal. "NYU Abu Dhabi came and messed that all up," he said. "I think they're trying to create a new paradigm, which I never factored into my education."

Indeed, Aqel, whose parents immigrated from Jordan when he was a baby, is part of a high-stakes experiment in higher education - what experts are calling perhaps the first truly international university, with top students and faculty from around the globe.
Full report on The New York Times site
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