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TARA DI CASSIO

The funding I received from the Global Studies Department was used for my program fee, international health insurance, and international travel insurance for the Center for Arabic Study Abroad (CASA I) program for 2016-2017.

CASA is an advanced Arabic language and cultural immersion program that began in 1967 at the American University in Cairo. The program’s stateside operations are housed at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University. Due to political instability and overall security concerns for foreigners, the CASA program is currently being conducted in Amman, Jordan at the Qasid Arabic Institute—one of the region’s premier language establishments. The CASA curriculum is a rigorous 10-month program in which students engage in formal and colloquial Arabic training in addition to cultural programs in which students are paired with a local student or young professional who act as a conversation partner and a guide for the group activities around the city.

The CASA program has been a long-standing goal of mine since I began taking Arabic courses in my sophomore year at North Carolina State University. -trip airfare) the CASA committee. As a graduate student that is self-funding their education and living expenses in Chapel Hill, I was unsure how I was going to be able to come up with the funds to make this opportunity possible. Receiving the Summer Grant from Global Studies allowed me to participate in the CASA program that will have a positive impact on the my academic and professional goals.

Participation in the CASA program is integral to the successful completion of my graduate degree in Global Studies at UNC-Chapel Hill. My proposed capstone project seeks to examine young Palestinians’ interaction with “Wall-Art” upon the Separation Barrier in the West Bank. As a CASA fellow, I will have the opportunity to advance my formal and colloquial Arabic skills to the point that conversations with native speakers can be conducted with ease and full comprehension. This particular skill is crucial for the interviews I hope to conduct with young Palestinians who speak mostly colloquial Palestinian/Jordanian Arabic. Additionally, the CASA fellowship allows me to be in the right place, geographically, to conduct my proposed research that will add a layer of sophistication to my senior capstone that would otherwise be impossible. Lastly, participation in language programs of this caliber not only greatly improve language skills but provide a rich, diversified cultural and regional education that will have positive implications for careers in both the academic and professional realms.