Do the youth connect with them as they did a generation ago? Student writer Zainab Mashoor goes on campus to find out

Grandparents... what do they mean to you? In this generation, you may think that the gap has widened between teenagers and their grandparents. But there are several cases where the situation is quite the contrary.

Here we have a few college students who share their views and talk about their relationship with their grandparent.

Sanjay Harieas
"He means the world to me"
Harieas, 18, attends Manipal University, Dubai. He moved to the UAE three months ago. Having lived all his life in Kerala, India, with his grandfather, he misses him a lot now.

"He means the world to me," says Sanjay. "I'm closer to him than anyone else in the world."

He describes his grandfather as a kind and generous man and recalls an incident that he once witnessed. "I remember my grandfather calling in beggars from the street, so that he might give them something to drink."

"He taught me to be a humble and down-to-earth person," says Sanjay. "And I look up to him as a role model."

Narrendra Rajwani
"It's because of my grandfather that I have a good education."
Narrendra, 18, is studying at the University of Wollongong, Dubai.

His paternal grandparents, who are in Gambia, brought him up. Narrendra was with them for the first 11 years of his life. He says that his grandfather inculcated in him a strong thirst for knowledge.

"It's because of my grandfather that I have a good education," says Narrendra. "He always used to tell me, 'the harder you work the more you achieve'."

He says he looks up to his grandfather and thinks he's a great man.

He is equally close to his maternal grandparents who are in India. He lived with them through his early teens; they were his mentors through the turbulent years of adolescence.

But sadly, like most of us living here, he doesn't really keep in touch with them now.

Payam Nathani
"To me, she's just beautiful"
Payam, 19, attends the Emirates Aviation College. He has a special place in his heart for his grandmother who he affectionately calls 'Mamanjoon' which means 'mother love' in Iranian.

"To me, she's just beautiful," says Payam about his grandmother. He gets to see her only once in two years, but is still very close to her. "My grandma taught me to cook," says Payam, "and she's also taught me a lot about my religion."

He says he has a lot of respect for her, and admires her for her humility and wisdom. "She's also an amazing storyteller," says Payam. "The way she puts it is just beautiful."

He describes his grandmother as a wonderful person, who is young at heart and always full of life.

Sara Seddiq
"It's like having a best friend."
Sara, 18, is a student of the American University of Sharjah. She adores her grandmother.

"It's like having a best friend," says Sara. Her grandmother 'Yayya' (above with Sara) comes to visit her from Greece every year. And the three months they spend together are 'fun-filled and extra special.'

"I'm very close to my grandma," says Sara, "I talk to her about everything!"

She describes her grandmother as a fun-loving person who is always the heart and soul of every party.

"I've learnt a lot from her. My mom used to work when I was young, so Yayya was the one who raised me. She always looks at the bright side of things and always has a smile to share; that's why I love being with her!"

Sophie Hamad Kazim
"My grandmother is a perfectionist"
Sophie, 18, is a UAE national and is studying at the Dubai Women's College.

She admits that she isn't really close to her grandmother but would love to get to know her. In her case, it's not distance but language that acts as a barrier between them.

Sophie does not have a strong grasp of the Arabic language, as her mother is British and also because her entire education was in English. Despite this Sophie says she considers her grandmother a role model.

"My grandmother is a perfectionist," she says, "and she has a very strong personality."

She then says with pride: "My grandmother is an amazing cook and she's taught me everything I know."

Vlad Islav Mazurenko
"He taught me to have patience."
Vlad Islav Mazurenko is 19 and goes to Heriot Watt University, Dubai.

He isn't very close to his grandparents, who are in Russia, but he still has a lot of affection for them. He visits them once every three months and always calls on special occasions.

Vlad says he has learnt a lot from his grandfather, 'Babushka'. "He taught me to think strategically and to always have patience."

He remembers going fishing with his grandfather. "We used to be out from five in the morning till late at night," says Vlad, "and it always used to be so much fun.

"Although I wouldn't want to go live with them, I'd love it if they'd come here to stay."

The writer will be joining the American University of Sharjah in August