Student heading to Abu Dhabi

A Whangarei girl says it's hard to believe she will be attending university at the Abu Dhabi campus of New York University (NYU), an acclaimed liberal arts college.

Tiantian Zheng has just completed her final year at Whangarei Girls' High School as well as filling out an application to attend the university. She attended a three-day candidates weekend, where she was interviewed and shown around the campus.

Tiantian said she was so excited to hear she got accepted.

"It was so interesting to see it all first hand. Some of the professors as well as the president of NYU John Sexton spoke to us, and they were all so passionate and engaged in their roles," she said.

Six other Kiwis attended the candidate weekend, as well as students from across the world.

Tiantian is guaranteed financial aid, which will cover her tuition fees, her living costs, as well as two return flights home each year. She said one of the main reasons she chose to apply is NYU's focus on the humanities as well as science.

"I think I will probably do a bachelor of science majoring in psychology," she said.

While completing a bachelor of science, Tiantian will still be able to study the humanities, which was important for her. "I wasn't ready to give either of them up."

Principal of Whangarei Girls' High School Anne Cooper is absolutely thrilled that Tiantian has been accepted.

"I think it is fantastic that once again, our students are proving that they are up with the best in the world," she said.

Tiantian, meanwhile, was full of praise for her old high school.

"It was the best five years of my life. I learnt so much there, the teachers really inspired me to find my own passions and interests," she said.

The friends she made are also important to her, and she will be looking forward to catching up with them and sharing stories of Abu Dhabi life. She will start her university career in August 2013, as the school runs on an American education calender. She is hoping to make a trip to China, where she was born, before the semester begins to visit family members.