Malala Yousafzai Admits She Was ‘Nervous’ to Attend Oxford University

Malala Yousafzai, the inspiring young woman who won the Nobel Peace Prize at 17 years old for championing girls’ education, is diving into her own at the University of Oxford.

Yousafzai, now 20, met with David Letterman and gave him a personal tour of her new university for his new Netflix show, My Next Guest Needs No Introduction, premiering Friday. She says it was an “amazing experience” to show the seasoned host the “beautiful gardens” at the school as she opened up to him about her story.

“David Letterman has that magic … I felt really comfortable talking to him and he gives you that friendly environment that you can share your thoughts,” she tells PEOPLE. “You can share your ideas from your heart. That’s how I felt.”

Yousafzai began her undergraduate studies in philosophy politics and economics last October, and revealed the news in a moving Twitter post, writing, “5 years ago, I was shot in an attempt to stop me from speaking out for girls’ education. Today, I attend my first lectures at Oxford.”

“In the beginning, before I joined university, I was really nervous because I was worried about how I would make friends,” she tells PEOPLE. “People knew me already and that was challenging for me to be there as a student and not to be there as a person who’s already known in the media.”

“But once I came, everyone here just welcomed me as a friend and I was just so happy that I am part of Oxford. I am just an Oxford student and I think that’s how they treat me.”

Yousafzai’s name had long been in headlines before she stepped foot on the campus. Along with being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, the children’s rights activist released her memoir, I Am Malala, and was the subject of a documentary, He Named Me Malala. In both, she detailed her journey after being shot by a Taliban gunman while she fought for women’s rights and education.