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As a Global Studies major with minors in French & Arabic, I cherish any form of international experience or foreign language exposure that I can gain for academic and professional development, especially when it relates to my areas of focus. For the summer of 2016, I was able to put my Global Studies Small Summer Grant towards studying abroad in Amman, Jordan where I spent two months participating in an Intensive Arabic Language Program.

My interest in the Arabic language stems from prior coursework in political science, history, and African studies. I would like to become more adept in my understanding of the Arabic language in order to have more in depth conversations with people of the Arab world. Through continued studies of the Arabic language, I hope to reach the level of mastery where I can speak with people from Middle Eastern/North African Arab countries in order to garner a better understanding of the people and work toward bridging the gap between the West and the East in hopes of alleviating turmoil in the world.

Prior to participating in the Intensive Arabic Language Program, my knowledge of Arabic was limited to Modern-Standard Arabic. In order to be truly proficient in Arabic, one should be able to be able to operate in Modern Standard Arabic for literary purposes and in a colloquial dialect for speaking purposes. With the Intensive Arabic Language Program, I was able to study both Modern-Standard Arabic & a Colloquial Levantine (Jordanian) Dialect. The Levantine dialect of Arabic is spoken in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, and parts of Iraq. In my personal opinion, I would say that competency in the Levantine dialect of Arabic would be one of the most useful given the current state of Syria and it’s refugee crisis, the threat of extremist groups in the Levant region, continued attacks in Lebanon, the ongoing Israel-Palestine conflict, and aftermath of the Iraqi-American War.

            Having previously studied in Morocco, my experience in Jordan gave me the other side of the coin in terms of language, culture, and life in the Arab World as this was my first time in the Middle East. While in Jordan, I learned about the history of the Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Empire and even got to partake in the 100th year anniversary celebration of the revolt. In addition to learning about the history, I was able to put the current refugee crisis in the region into a better perspective and understands Jordan’s role in it as I met refugees from neighboring countries such as Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Palestine. I learned about cultural practices and how to make Jordanian meals as I was in the Arabo-Muslim world during Ramadan. All in all, I enjoyed seeing the differences in the African Arab World and the Middle Eastern Arab World and was able to strengthen my Arabic while doing it.