What is it like to study in Abu Dhabi as a postgraduate student? | Top Universities

What is it like to study in Abu Dhabi as a postgraduate student?

By Chloe Lane

Updated June 9, 2023 Updated June 9, 2023

Sponsored by Khalifa University  

As the capital city of the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi is an advanced study destination with a lot to offer students.  

Known for its strong tourism industry, luxury brands and iconic buildings, Abu Dhabi is also home to some of the best universities in the Arab world, including Khalifa University. 

TopUniversities spoke to three Khalifa University students about their experiences as postgraduate students in the city, and to find out more about what students can expect from student life in Abu Dhabi. 

You'll study at top universities with excellent facilities 

If you decide to study a postgraduate degree at a university in Abu Dhabi, you’ll have access to some of the best facilities in the world. Abu Dhabi continues to make significant investments in its education sector, and improving education is a key component of the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030 to help meet the needs of the future labour market. 

Although the city contains several high-performing universities, Khalifa University is the top-ranked university in Abu Dhabi, according to the most recent QS Arab Region University Rankings, where it is placed seventh in the Arab Region.  

Khalifa University boasts a world-class faculty and state-of the art facilities, which provide a unique learning environment for the UAE’s students. The university has 20 specialised core research centres, as well as labs, study areas, cafes and restaurants. 

“One of the things I appreciate the most about Khalifa University is its vibrant campus and the stimulating atmosphere,” says Eman Ouda, an Engineering Systems and Management student at Khalifa University.  

“Visiting the campus is never a chore as I am able to move between research labs, restaurants, cafes, and offices, all of which provide a motivating environment.” 

There is plenty to do outside of studying 

As a postgraduate student in Abu Dhabi, you’ll never run out of fun things to do, whether you’re going to brunch, trying water sports, or attending an exhibition at one of the city’s many museums such as the Louvre Abu Dhabi – the first universal museum in the Arab World. 

“Nothing beats living in Abu Dhabi,” said Mariam Ali Hussain Alaboodi, who works full-time as an industrial engineer while studying a part-time MSc in Engineering Systems and Management.. “The capital has both a sense of relaxation and fun. There are many places to visit and experiences to try. As a student, I enjoy visiting exhibitions like the Louvre and trying new international food experiences.” 

In addition to the Louvre, there are several other top art galleries in Abu Dhabi, as well as tourist destinations such as Ferrari World Abu Dhabi and Warner Bros. World™ Abu Dhabi. 

“The university arranges so many amazing activities, such as visits to some popular attractions at UAE, Bazaars during open days, kayaking in the mangroves and many more, to ensure that students are having the best experience during their studies,” said Jawaher AlYammahi, a PhD student of chemical engineering at Khalifa University.  

You’ll experience the city’s diversity 

Abu Dhabi is incredibly multicultural, home to people of more than 200 nationalities. “In Abu Dhabi you’ll meet people from around the world, so it's a great chance to widen your personal and professional network,” said Mariam. 

While you’ll experience a rich blend of cultures, you’ll also have the opportunity to experience the UAE’s rich heritage, which dates back centuries. While studying in Abu Dhabi, you’ll learn about these Islamic and Arab values, while also enjoying the benefits of the city’s diversity.  

You can attend events and meet new people 

Abu Dhabi’s lively social scene isn’t one to be missed and events are frequently held throughout the year, from festivals to parties to sports events.  

Khalifa University also hosts a range of events to help students network and get to know each other. For example, Mariam enjoys attending the Global Day celebration, an event which celebrates the diversity of nationalities at Khalifa University. 

“These events allow us to meet up with other students and have a nice time,” said Mariam, who names the events as one of her favourite things about studying in Abu Dhabi. 

“Throughout your studies at Khalifa university, you’ll get so many opportunities, gain many skills and build so many connections. Even after completing your studies at Khalifa university, you’ll be taken care of by an amazing alumni relation department,” said Jawaher. 

If you’re excited to get stuck into student life in Abu Dhabi, you’ll be pleased to discover that Abu Dhabi was named the second safest city in the world in 2022’s Numbeo’s Quality of Life Index, beating 243 other cities and enjoying a low rate of crime

This article was originally published in April 2023 . It was last updated in June 2023

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