Name: Caitlin Zaragosa
Location of Study: Amman, Jordan
Program of Study: University of Jordan Language Center
Sponsors: Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures
A brief personal bio:
My name is Caitlin and I am from Soddy Daisy, Tennessee! I am a sophomore living in Flaherty hall and I’m studying Business Analytics and Arabic. I absolutely love anything spontaneous, unconventional, and challenging and am down to have any new adventure, especially if it involves hot dogs or hiking! I’m the president of the Filipino American Student Organization and am a YoungLife leader at John Adams High School. I can’t wait to go to Amman, Jordan and have some incredible experiences studying Arabic at the University of Jordan!
Why this summer language abroad opportunity is important to me:
Before coming to college, I had a deep desire to go and serve others in the Middle East in a way that I could use my gifts and abilities selflessly. I began studying Arabic so that way I could use the language in order to cultivate meaningful relationships with people in the region. Through this SLA Grant, I’m given the opportunity to focus solely on studying Arabic in a setting where I’m completely immersed in the language and culture. It’s super important that I engage learning the language this way so that I can learn it in its most authentic form. In the spring of 2018, I will be studying abroad in Jerusalem, and based on my experience there this past summer, I believe when I am able to hear some of the stories of the people in their heart language, it will bring the stories to life in a way where I can truly begin to empathize with them. If I can begin to build a solid foundation like this, I believe that my efforts in acquiring skills can be put elsewhere in order for me to be used to my maximum capacity.
What I hope to achieve as a result of this summer study abroad experience:
Not only do I intend to achieve fluency in Arabic, but I also hope to become so knowledgeable in the culture in order to deepen my passion for serving this region of the world. I think learning the language is only part of understanding the culture, but I believe it’s the foundation of truly engaging in relationships the people. I also want to be put so far outside of my comfort zone that I will be pushed to the edge with my experience in Jordan. Given the circumstances in that region, I hope to come back to the U.S. and share with others the reality of life for the people over there. My desire is for others to catch just a small glimpse of the same beauty that I see in that culture and region of the world, and I hope to fulfill that with this experience.
My specific learning goals for language and intercultural learning this summer:
1. By the end of the summer, I will have achieved enough fluency in Arabic that I can make jokes with people and express my emotions accurately and in a normal way.
2. At the end of the summer, I will have formed a couple intentional relationships with people whose native language is Arabic.
3. At the end of the summer, I will also be fully equipped to engage native speakers in America and have already found an opportunity to work with refugees in the area.
4. By the end of the summer, I will be able to read the bible in Arabic and comprehend most of the text.
My plan for maximizing my international language learning experience: