NYU Populates a Liberal-Arts Outpost in the Middle East

NYU Plants an Oasis of Learning Near a Distant Desert 1

Lauren Lancaster for The Chronicle

On a recruiting trip organized by New York U. Abu Dhabi, high-school students from around the world visit the Sheikh Zayed Mosque. Later an American student asked, "What do kids do for fun here?"

Rebekah King's friends in suburban Denver think she's nuts.

The high-school senior has just flown 8,000 miles to take a tour of New York University's new campus, in Abu Dhabi. Now she asks: Should she spend the next four years on the edge of the Arabian desert studying at a liberal-arts college that is not yet fully in operation?

"It's very different than Colorado here," she says, giggling at the absurdity of the comparison. "But I think that's what I want in college. That's