Caitlin Hughes ’12 spent the summer in Amman, Jordan, speaking only Arabic for the duration of her stay. Hughes is a recipient of a Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) for Intensive Summer Institutes from the U.S. State Department. As such, she signed a language contract pledging to only speak Arabic for the summer as she studied the language at the Qasid Institute in downtown Amman, in partnership with the American Center of Oriental Research.
“I applied for this program because the whole idea behind it is so intriguing,” says Hughes, who has been studying Arabic since her sophomore year through the College’s Self Instruction Language Program. “My time in Jordan has allowed me to witness at firsthand history in the making for the Arab world, practice speaking Arabic while being fully immersed in the culture, and not only learn modern standard Arabic, but also be able to learn Jordanian colloquial or dialect.”
In addition to the time she spent in the classroom, Hughes participated in various cultural excursions as arranged by the CLS Program to adequately expose students to the Middle Eastern culture.
Hughes, an international relations major and economics minor who also participated in study abroad in South Africa last year, hopes the language skills and understanding of the Arab culture that she gained during her time in Jordan can be applied to her future.
“I know I want to work in the realm of economic development in developing countries. While studying abroad in South Africa, I truly learned what a challenge development is and that reforms and new policies need to be made in order for those who are marginalized to begin to lead better, healthier, stronger lives. It’s a challenge I’m really interested in and want to address in any future career I have.”
In the photo above, Hughes is pictured (on right) with a friend.