Luisina Kemanian Leites

CIEE Middle East Studies in Amman, Jordan
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Luisina Kemanian Leites

Liberal Arts Major: International Politics
Minor: Arabic, Middle East Studies, Spanish, Latin American Studies
Hometown: State College, Pennsylvania 
Experience Time: Spring 2022

Give us a brief summary of your experience?

I am currently studying abroad in Amman, Jordan with CIEE’s Middle East Studies program for the spring semester. My coursework includes Modern Standard Arabic, Ammiya (Jordanian Arabic), Conflict and Diplomacy in the Middle East, and an internship for credit. I am interning with the Middle East Regional Office of American Friends Service Committee. Through excursions with the program, I have had the opportunity to explore and engage with the local culture in Amman as well as other beautiful and historic sites throughout Jordan.

How did this experience impact you academically?

Living and studying in Amman has given me the opportunity to improve my Arabic significantly. Much of my coursework is focused on learning Arabic and while here I have been able to continue my study of Modern Standard Arabic and have learned the Jordanian dialect, which has enabled me to be able to communicate more effectively in Arabic. Moreover, I have learned many new perspectives on Middle Eastern politics from both my coursework, which includes a class taught by a Jordanian senator, and locals.

"I have learned many new perspectives on Middle Eastern politics from both my coursework, which includes a class taught by a Jordanian senator, and locals."

How will this experience impact your career goals?

While here, I have had the opportunity to intern with American Friends Service Committee. The opportunity has given me invaluable insights into working in the non-profit sector and expanded my knowledge of the MENA region, a regional area I wish to work in in the future. Part of my work is organizing conferences throughout the MENA region where experts and activists from around MENA are brought together to discuss different issues facing the region. The work has introduced me to different issues facing the region outside of what is discussed in Western media, like the impacts of climate change, issues surrounding unemployment, the impact of refugees and international aid on host countries and more.

How has the College of the Liberal Arts helped you to find and/or succeed in this experience (e.g., adviser, faculty, staff, enrichment funds, etc.)?

The College of the Liberal Arts has been an instrumental resource in assisting me with this experience. The College has provided me with enrichment funding that has made this experience possible for me. Additionally, my Arabic professor encouraged me to apply to the program and was very supportive of my preparations for the program.

How has the Paterno Fellows Program had an impact on this experience?

The Paterno Fellows Program strongly encourages students to participate in study abroad experiences and offers a lot of support for students who do.

For more information on education abroad for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.
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