Four months into my program of attempting to speak the Arabic language, things finally began to click. Linguists commonly say it takes four months to actually start speaking a language while living in a foreign country. It has been very difficult to keep up with my Arabic to the rate I was speaking in Jordan since I have returned to America. However, it is not uncommon for me to still dream in Arabic and sometimes think in Arabic when trying to answer a question in the classroom (in English), but I miss the Middle East. I especially miss all of my friends in Jordan, the amazing food, and of course constantly speaking Arabic. When I return I will travel around a greater portion of the entire Middle East because during my study abroad program the directors purposely limited our free time in regards to security and safety.
After I graduate from UC Denver and have worked to save up enough money I will return to the Middle East for several years in order to reach that 100% level of fluency I am striving for. The only way to truly become fluent is to live in the foreign country for an extended period of time. My main goal in life is to have 100% command of the Arabic language. I have several ideas I am going to pursue. First, I am trying to create an office for the NGO CAIR (Council on American Islamic Relations) in Denver in order to have a post-graduation job and taking personal initiative to have a job that is meaningful to me. During this time I will attempt to receive a Fulbright TESOL Scholarship, which is a Fulbright Scholarship to teach English as a second language overseas. My first choice would be the American Modern School in Amman, Jordan. However, I am very interested in living in Beirut, Lebanon or Dubai, UAE. However, if I do not get this scholarship I will attempt to apply for MENA jobs. MENA is a global career company who specializes in employment in the areas of the Middle East and North Africa. All of the students in my program were automatically copied on this email list. If you are interested please visit their website at, http://www.careersinmena.com/. If I am lucky enough I could get jobs anywhere in the world working on conflict resolution, refugees, translating, marketing, etc all specifically relating to the Middle East. I have seen job locations such as being a research assistant at Harvard University, or a job in Jordan working directly with Syrian refugees.
I have also thought about a third option which would to work in America for a little while intensively studying Arabic with my tutor and enrolling in graduate level intensive Arabic program with Amideast in Cairo, Egypt. This program has been used by several alumni from the CET Arabic program which I attended in Irbid, Jordan.
If you haven’t been able to catch the point, I am going to return to the Middle East in any way possible. I hope my blog has been able to engage you all in the Middle Eastern culture and hopefully corrected a couple misconceptions. My next step is to translate each post into Arabic so I can focus on widening my audience even more. And as I have stated before if please share your experiences with me as well. There is nothing I like more than learning from others.