What's it like to attend NYU Tandon “Your Way” this semester?

Let's hear from students with firsthand experience

NYU Tandon student in Shanghai

NYU Tandon student Zhi “George” Zhao is currently studying in Shanghai

This year, we re-imagined the academic experience to give students flexibility with how they study, when they study, and from where they study — including the choices to study locally at NYU Shanghai or take advantage of innovative hybrid models, or remain here in Brooklyn.


Arun Prasad (Industrial Engineering, ’22)

Arun PrasadHow are you choosing to attend classes? 

Right now, I am attending in-person. Initially, I was doing a hybrid model, taking one of my classes online, but I decided to show up to discuss case studies face-to-face. I’m living on the Upper West Side, but I traveled 7,200 miles from India to do my fall semester in New York, so I don't mind traveling a few miles to attend class. 


What safety measures do you follow in order to feel comfortable?

Of course, I’m wearing masks. Keeping socially distant while using public transportation and venturing off-campus, and doing the COVID saliva test regularly, every alternate week, as required. I also workout four times a week to keep my mind and body in coordination.

On-campus you don't have to worry as NYU follows the best practices to avoid spread inside its buildings. Every student who needs access to the buildings has to get clearance, which is given only if you follow the instructions and do the testing regularly. The daily screener also adds a layer of assurance. I myself have seen students not being allowed inside buildings, even when they had test reports in their hands, without the testing team had not activated their card. It can be hectic at times, but that high level of assurance has its cost. 


What is a typical day like for you?

COVID has changed what a typical day looks like. It can be hard to maintain a steady schedule as lots of events are online. 

My typical school day involves coffee, gym, breakfast, studying, lunch, snoozing for a while, coffee, going to class or working on an online certification course I’m taking, dinner, and sleep.

Online meetings can be schedule-spoilers as you may have to attend certain meetings on short notice.


Are you enjoying your classes? Any in particular?

I am especially enjoying my Lean Manufacturing class. The professor was an industry consultant with more than 40 years of experience, so his insights are invaluable. He poses questions that he has faced in real work environments so that we’re prepared to face them ourselves in the future. 


Are you taking part in any social activities or clubs?

I am currently serving as the vice president of the NYU Tandon Consulting Club. I have club meetings every week.  

Clubs serve as a platform for networking because you meet people with common interests and share knowledge and experiences. On Zoom, there are lots of student workshops and events organized by my club and other NYU clubs and departments, so it’s very engaging. 


Do you have any advice for other students considering NYU in this unusual year?

I am a living example that COVID doesn’t have to derail your plans if you commit to following the rules set forth by the government and the school. Reasonable fear is normal, but when you follow the rules properly and keep in mind your surroundings, COVID can be the least of your concerns.  

NYU ensures that every student gets equal opportunities during these critical times, provides a rigorous education, and has a great atmosphere, so I think it’s a wonderful option that people should consider.


Is there anything else about your experience that you think readers should know?

I’ll relate a story here. I have a class from 8 to 10:30 every Thursday night. My second week, I took the subway home and fell asleep. When I woke up, I realized that I had missed my stop. I was quite new to New York and had been told that the neighborhood I ended up in was not the best. I was scared, but I exited the station knowing that a bus would come quicker than the next train.

Surprisingly, it felt like being out late in my hometown back in India. While America isn’t always perfect, and we should be on our guard, that’s true of countries and cities around the world.  It’s natural to feel more comfortable in familiar places, so the solution is to expand your horizons and get familiar with more places.


Zhi “George” Zhao (Management of Technology, ‘21)

Why did you decide to "Study Local, Go Global"? Are you happy with that decision?

I left New York at the end of March with an updated I-20 and expiring F-1 visa, fully preparing to get a new visa and return to New York. Obviously, that did not happen, so rather than studying remotely I decided to give “Study Local, Go Global” a try. 

At first I was a little upset at having to find a place to rent, adapt to a new transportation system, and find my way around a new city, but I’m glad I did. I’ve come to love Shanghai and the sense of freedom I feel here, not to mention the job opportunities, my comfort with the language, and the fact that I’m getting the same high-quality NYU education.


What safety measures are you following in order to feel comfortable?

The school has strict rules in place about masks and social distancing, and we get our temperatures taken before we enter the campus. While some people might consider these mild inconveniences, it’s well worth it. What’s more, Shanghai’s control of the epidemic is among the most successful in China, so we get to enjoy weekends exploring.


What is a typical day like for you?

It’s all pretty typical for a graduate student. On weekdays, I review what I’ve learned in classes; do homework, which involves case study, group work, individual assignments, and final paper preparations. I’m a TA, so I spend time in the office solving problems from students, and I’m also hunting for a full-time job after graduation. 

I exercise at home using my own fitness facilities three times a week, and I take a walk every night to relax. Saturdays are usually devoted to playing games, shopping, and exploring new restaurants with a friend.


Are you enjoying your classes? Any in particular?

I’m enjoying my courses this semester very much, and the three I’m taking on management and innovation are really broadening my horizon. Before this semester, I took core courses that I felt were practical and valuable, but I’m currently learning methodologies that will be helpful in my future career from various, new perspectives. I feel that the coursework is helping me mature and consider reasonable approaches to new challenges, which will carry over into the workplace.


Do you have any advice for other students considering the "Study Local, Go Global" option?

“Study Local, Go Global” has allowed me to move about freely and safely, make friends with both local people and school peers, and learn about a new international metropolis. Sure, there are drawbacks in that you might not be sure of when you’ll return to Brooklyn or whether every class you might want will be offered, but I’d encourage everyone to explore it for themselves!


Tianshu Wang (Computer Engineering, ‘21)


Why did you decide to "Study Local, Go Global"? Are you happy with that decision?

With the COVID-19 pandemic still going on, and travel bans in effect, studying at NYU Shanghai provided a great alternative to staying at home watching late-night Zoom lectures. Here in Shanghai, we can use the library, meet classmates, and professors, and still stay safe. I should add that Shanghai is an amazing city, so I’m very confident I made the right choice.


What safety measures are you following in order to feel comfortable?

The uni is very strict about us wearing masks and social distancing, and the disinfection protocols are really rigorous.


What is a typical day like for you?

It’s actually totally normal! I take a subway to the uni, read for a while, take my classes, order delivery for lunch, go to the library in the afternoon (if I don’t have classes), and then head home by subway. The evenings consist of cooking something simple for dinner, chatting with my roommate, studying, and finally getting to sleep when everything is done. 


Are you enjoying your classes? Any in particular?

Most definitely! I had never taken a security and privacy class before, and Professor Cappos makes things so interesting. You might not expect it for such a serious subject, but we spend a lot of time laughing!


Do you have any advice for other students considering the "Study Local, Go Global" option?

I recommend it! NYU is even providing us with space at WeWork, so there is plenty of room to spread out. Just wear your mask, be aware of social distancing, and you’ll have a great experience. 


Weining Yi (Management of Technology, ‘21)

Weining Yi

Why did you decide to "Study Local, Go Global" Are you happy with that decision?

Shanghai is my hometown, so it was a very natural decision that I’m very happy with!


What safety measures are you following in order to feel comfortable?

Everyone is complying with wearing masks, so that’s reassuring, and we have safety codes to
show security.


What is a typical day like for you?

It is a very typical college day. I attend classes!


Are you enjoying your classes? Any in particular?

Of course! Having nice professors and hearing interesting lectures is enjoyable.


Do you have any advice for other students considering the "Study Local, Go Global" option

Do yourself and everyone around you a favor, and follow all the health guidelines, and this will work out well.