March 28, 2024

From IB school in Poland to NYU Abu Dhabi with a full-ride scholarship

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Anna from Poland 🇵🇱

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From IB school in Poland to NYU Abu Dhabi with a full-ride scholarship

Hello, my name is Ania Lipiec. I’m from Poland and since August 2023 I have been studying at New York University Abu Dhabi - one of three degree-granting campuses of New York University.

My background 

I attended 35th High School under the patronage of Bolesław Prus in Warsaw. It was not the top high school, but I chose it because it offered the International Baccalaureate (IB) program. I decided to choose IB, because I really wanted to study in English with the view for the future studying abroad. I found IB quite different from the standard Polish curriculum, and I was glad I could escape the standard Polish system and develop more freely. The fact that the program allowed me to choose the subjects I want to study, the subjects that truly interest me, was another advantage. My standard level subjects (SL) were: Polish literature, chemistry and Mathematics AA. My higher-level subjects were: Global Politics, English B and Geography. 

IB is definitely an academically hard program, but I consider it very much worth it. I can see by myself, how it is easier for me to manage time, and how the quality of my writing and oral assessments is much higher.


I wanted to get to NYUAD, because it is a very global university, with a lot of international students. It is famous for the exchange programs and other opportunities abroad for students. For example I am able to do 2 semesters abroad on other NYU campuses that are all over the world. Personally I was thinking of going for the study away program to Washington DC and New York. 

Additionally NYU Abu Dhabi is the one of the three degree granting campuses that is known for providing good financial aid for international students. I, as a middle class student from Poland, would not be able to afford to pay for a US university, let's say $320,000. 

Another reason was that I have friends and NYUAD, who had highly recommended this university, highlighting how multiculturalism is important for that uni, and how they are trying to bring people from all the different parts of the world. NYUAD is in a totally different cultural region for me, I feel that if I had gone to the US, it would be very similar to Europe, and here I would have a totally different experience. I really wanted to use my time at university to travel and explore the world. Here, I’m much closer to Asia and Africa than if I were in Poland, so it is much cheaper for me to travel. I have been here since August and I have already visited 3 countries and I’m planning to visit many more! NYUAD very much encourages people to travel, for example, we have something called J-Term, a 3-week intensive course in June or January that can be done abroad. For instance, I went to Bangladesh, a place I would never be able to see otherwise.


The scholarship is dependent on your parents’ income. I’m on the full ride, that covers 100% of the tuition, accommodation, meal plan, flights from Poland and back. Additionally it covers academic expenses like books, and I get a term scholarship that I can put towards my needs, like buying a laptop or a tablet. The university deeply cares about the financial situation, so everyone can apply no matter their economic background. My advice here is to apply as soon as possible - Early Decision round I - since from what I have observed a lot of financial aid is given in this round. 

Stats and extracurriculars 

I applied test-optional, without the SATs, and with the predicted grades of my IB exams: I had 40/42 (without the core points, because the schools don’t do core points prediction), and ultimately scored 43/45. I also decided to take the DET (Duolingo English Test) and I scored 150/160. 

My top 3 extracurriculars were:

  1. I got into the Yale summer program - Yale Young Global Scholars with a 90% scholarship. I would highly recommend this program, unfortunately, the Covid-19 pandemic prevented me from attending in person, and the whole summer program was held remotely. 

  2. I was a volunteer in the home of the Warsaw uprising. I worked there with insurgents 2 hours a week, I talked with them and developed cognitive skills. It was a very significant experience for me, so it was also prominent in other parts of the application. 

  3. My experience with EYP - European Youth Parliament, where I have been a delegate on a couple sessions, I was once chosen to be a delegate on the international conference and I also helped organize one session in Poland - The National Selection Session, where I was responsible for fundraising. 

Help with the application 

The application process is complex, but I’m really thankful to two of my friends who are also studying at NYUAD and helped me a lot. I was writing my essays and sending them to my friends who were adding suggestions, and then I corrected the essays and sent it to them once again. This was a month-long process of writing the essays.

My life at university 

Many may think that in NYUAD it would be impossible to maintain a work-life balance, but I don’t find it problematic. The workload is big, and the humanistic courses are reading and writing heavy, but at the same time you're reading about something that you are deeply passionate about. I am able to put some time aside for extracurriculars available on campus, do some sports, or to go out with my friends. For example, now I am part of the Debate Club and Student Government. The university has so many activities to offer that everyone will find something for themselves. Also one of the biggest advantages is that the social life and extracurriculars here are often combined, which I really enjoy. 

Abu Dhabi may come as a very expensive place to go to uni. Of course, you can find some costly places like restaurants, but also the city is aware that there are a lot of students, so me and my friends could find some fun, budget options.

I absolutely love the sense of community on campus. The campus is small and everyone knows each other, and you don’t face barriers to talk to other people. I think it is because the campus is in one place, you don’t have dormitories placed all around the city. There are some on campus that make each other birthday parties, which I find very heart-warming.

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from Poland 🇵🇱

Duration of Study

Aug 2023 — May 2027


Political Science

Learn more ->
NYU Abu Dhabi

NYU Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi, UAE🇦🇪

✍️ Interview by


Patryk from Poland 🇵🇱

UWC Dilijan student & politics passionate

Learn more ->
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  1. 💀


    4 weeks ago

    So cool, btw can I ask you some questions about essay

    1. 🙂


      4 weeks ago


      1. 😇


        4 weeks ago

        I feel like that was really motivating. All I need now is to get help in kicking off my application. Kindly assist

        1. 😀


          3 weeks ago