Two University of Arkansas at Little Rock students have been awarded grants from the Middle Eastern Studies Program to study Arabic abroad this summer.
Brenden Gammill, senior history major from Little Rock, and Natalie Doris, senior double major in English and Spanish from Little Rock, will both study Arabic at Qalam wa Lawh in Rabat, Morocco.
Doris received a $2,000 grant toward her one-month trip and is particularly interested in learning more about the language since she traveled to Morocco once before.
“I felt the language barrier between myself and the people I met when I traveled to Morocco with UA Little Rock’s Model Arab League a few semesters ago,” Doris said. “Even without being able to speak the language, I felt the generosity and beauty of the people who I encountered. From the experiences I had, I felt the desire to learn Arabic so that I could see more of the culture and reciprocate some of the kindness that was shown to me.”
Doris, who will begin law school in the fall, also plans to use her improved language skills to serve as a legal advocate for immigrants.
“I would love to be able to serve different communities as an attorney and an advocate,” she said. “I am from an Irish immigrant family, which has motivated me to explore immigration and human rights law. Learning Arabic would enable me to serve a larger immigrant community.”
Gammill, who received a $2,500 grant and will travel abroad for two months, said the experience will help prepare him for his future career in foreign service.
“I’ve focused much of my undergraduate career on learning about the Arab world and plan to work in foreign service someday,” Gammill said. “Arabic is a language that particularly interests me but also is particularly valuable in getting work in the U.S. State Department.”