Liam Karr

Recipient Profile


Language: Arabic

Location of Study: Amman, Jordan

Program of Study: Qasid Institute

Sponsors: Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures and the College of Arts and Letters

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A brief personal bio:

My name is Liam Karr and I’m a member of the class of 2021. I currently plan to major in Arabic, History, and Political Science. I live in Siegfried Hall and am also a member of the Glee Club and Pasquerilla East Musical Company on campus. I’m from Cedar Rapids, Iowa and have two brothers and separated parents back home. I hope to have a career in national security, diplomacy, or public policy.

Why this summer language abroad opportunity is important to me:

My SLA grant is important to both my academic and future career goals. Not only will the program help to improve my Arabic skills, but it will also enable me to get all the credits I need to complete a triple major in four years (Arabic, political science, and history). I also plan to spend time studying the ammiya dialect of spoken Arabic so that I will be more readily equipped to converse with native speakers. The opportunity to submerge myself in Middle Eastern and Arabic culture will also be invaluable for my career goals. I want to work in national security or the State Department, and spending time in the Middle East will prove extremely useful in both situations. It will help by both improving my proficiency in the language, and also furthering my cultural understanding. There is so much that cannot be fully understood and appreciated without visiting an area and being truly immersed in it. The opportunity to be in the Middle East during Ramadan is an incredible one. Overall, the opportunity to spend a summer studying Arabic in the Middle East is an extraordinary chance to further myself as a person and a student.

What I hope to achieve as a result of this summer study abroad experience:

During my time in Jordan I hope to greatly further my Arabic skills while learning more about Middle Eastern and Arabic culture. I want to improve my oral speaking skills and my understanding of the spoken ammiya dialect. This will help me transition my language skills from theory and book knowledge into ways of more practical usage. On paper, this would hopefully look like two semesters worth of progress. I also hope to gain an insight into the culture of the area, an area which still seems to be greatly misunderstood in America today. By spending time in Jordan, I will have a unique perspective that not many others get to have/experience.

My specific learning goals for language and intercultural learning this summer:

1. At the end of the summer, I will be able to read and write in Arabic at a level of progress equal to two semesters in the classroom at Notre Dame

2. At the end of the summer, I will be able to speak in Arabic at a level of progress equal to at least one semester in the classroom at Notre Dame

3. At the end of the summer, I will be able to understand and use colloquial phrases, euphemisms, and humor.

4. At the end of the summer, I will be able to communicate with native speakers on political topics such as international relations.