International student and mentor Neel Hatwar finds new home at Baruch and Model United Nations

Courtesy+of+Neel+Hatwar

Courtesy of Neel Hatwar

Amanda Salazar

A group of first-year students at Baruch College file into their zero-credit first-year seminar classes, a mandatory course that first-years and transfers have to take.

Eagerly, they are greeted by their instructor, Yennifer Romero, and their peer mentor, sophomore finance major Neel Hatwar.

A happy-go-lucky and friendly international student, Hatwar is very involved with on-campus activities and clubs.

He was born in India and raised in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, as his family moved there when he was younger. Hatwar only started living in New York City when he went to college.

“For me, transition was in terms of adapting to a new culture,” Hatwar said about moving to a new city. “So, although Dubai is diverse to an extent, New York is a whole other level, because there’s a lot of different people from different cultures.

The transition process for me at first was a little challenging because I had to change the way I approach different people.”

Dubai has a large hospitality business, but Hatwar wanted to study finance, so he knew that schools there wouldn’t be the best fit for him. 

Combine that with his interest in Manhattan and Baruch’s proximity to large companies, and the public university seemed like the best option for Hatwar, who is also minoring in economics.

Despite being new to New York City and the country, plus starting a new school at the same time, Hatwar settled into his new home fairly quickly, joining Baruch’s Model United Nations club and becoming very devoted to it.

“Neel is a general delegate on our team,” Model United Nations President Anacaona Rodriguez Martinez said. “He’s very comfortable doing his research and strategizing ways to draft a resolution that most people can agree with.”

While studying at Baruch, Hatwar has attended New York University’s Model United Nations Conference, the National Model United Nations conference, and most recently, the McMUN conference, which was hosted at McGill University this past January. Hatwar is one of the most dedicated and active members of Baruch’s Model UN club.

“He’s only missed one meeting in three semesters, which, considering we meet Friday nights from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM is impressive to me,” Rodriguez Martinez said.

After his first semester at Baruch, Hatwar also joined T.E.A.M. Baruch, a student leadership program, through which he was able to become a peer mentor and teach first-year seminar classes.

“College is already a challenging experience for most students because you have to transition a lot from being a student to being more of an adult, because you have to make your own decisions [and] there’s no one to push you around, you have to follow through and make sure you’re on top of things,” Hatwar explained.

“I felt like being a peer mentor would help me position other first-year students in a much better way by sharing my experiences with them, by sharing what worked for me,” he continued. Outside of Baruch, Hatwar enjoys long-distance running, something he used to do back home with his mother. 

“One thing I did back in Dubai a lot was long-distance running, so that’s [something I] really enjoy doing,” Hatwar said. “Back at home like mom used to run a lot and she used to run marathons so running with her used to help me a lot, because I’d have someone to push me along to do it.”Additionally, Hatwar said that he likes listening to music, spending time with friends and public speaking.

Overall, people close with the hard-working and motivated student have nothing but nice things to say about him, such as Rodriguez Martinez, who has known him since he was a first-year student and just joined their club while she was its treasurer.

“Neel is incredibly kind and friendly to everyone around. He’s also incredibly bright,” she said. “There’s no task I think Neel couldn’t handle.”