Name: Colleen Wiechart
Location of Study: Amman, Jordan
Program of Study: Qasid Arabic Institute
Sponsors: Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures
A brief personal bio:
Hi, my name is Colleen! I am a freshman at the University of Notre Dame studying International Economics with Arabic and Peace Studies. I am from Evanston, Illinois. I have been interested in studying Arabic since my freshman year of high school and have studied in Tunisia and Morocco. In addition to my studies, I am assistant captain of the Notre Dame Sailing Team this year. I am also involved with inter-hall sports and hall council in my dorm, Welsh Family Hall.
Why this summer language abroad opportunity is important to me:
My SLA Grant is important to me because I get the amazing opportunity to study Arabic for a whole summer, as well as be immersed in the culture. It is also essential for my continued progression of Arabic. I am doing a semester in Washington DC next spring and while I may create an independent study of Arabic while I am there, this summer will help me stay on track to becoming proficient in Arabic and one day, hopefully fluent. This grant also provides me with funds to get the most out of my summer. With this SLA grant, I am not only learning Arabic, but I am also being exposed to the colloquial Jordanian dialect, which is used in surrounding countries as well. This will become very important vital in a variety of situations including potential studies or work abroad in the future.
What I hope to achieve as a result of this summer study abroad experience:
I have many goals for myself and my progression in Arabic that my SLA Grant will help me attain. My first and highest priority is to improve my knowledge and comfort in the Arabic language, both inside and outside of the classroom. This goal is more prescriptive as it will give me the necessary base skills to attain my larger goals. My fundamental goal is to achieve an intimate understanding of people in the Arabic world, their culture, religion, arts, business, and values. I hope to interact in Arabic with native speakers and students from around the world. Arabic is an integral part of my future, both academically and “career wise”. In the future, I want to work with refugees, specifically Syrian Refugees, either with the UN or with an NGO abroad. This immersive setting will allow me to explore Levantine culture and acquire some ability to converse in Amiya.
My specific learning goals for language and intercultural learning this summer:
- At the end of the summer, I will reach proficiency equivalent to two semesters beyond my current Arabic placement and will begin third year Arabic in fall 2016.
- At the end of the summer, I will be able to use colloquial Jordanian Arabic to greet others, utilize transportation, and order food.
- At the end of the summer, I will have volunteered for at least 30 hours to engage with the local community and leave a lasting positive effect.
My plan for maximizing my international language learning experience:
While in Amman, I will immerse myself in the culture, as well as the language. I am there for almost 10 weeks, and I want to be very active in the community. To take full advantage of this grant, I have been seeking volunteering opportunities and ways to get involved. I am in touch with several programs including The Orphan Welfare Association, Hands on Hope, and Right to Play. There is also a liaison at Qasid that will assist me upon arrival. Engaging in the community through volunteering, hopefully with children or refugees, will push me in my Arabic studies, cultural understanding, and self-discovery.