Finals & Nile Crocodiles

Happy July everyone! I’m currently blogging from Washington DC. (We’re not in Kansas anymore!)

In addition to all the usual events, my summer in Kansas concluded with an Arabic Homestay Dinner, conversation tables, presentations, a Saudi Arabian movie, an Oral Proficiency Exam, lunch field trips, dinners with our professor, a final exam consisting of listening, speaking, and writing portions, a final skit performance, and of course lots of coffee.

الحمد لله

I thankfully finished with an A in both semesters, but more importantly I made irreplaceable memories with my professor, tutors, and classmates. Also, thankfully, my last two weeks included more “mesa’a’ah” which is my newly discovered favorite Egyptian food.

Arabic Homestay Dinner at our tutor’s house!

Brief recap of the last two months:

After spending hours every day in person, emailing, texting, or calling each other I can honestly say I am so proud to have had the opportunity to study amongst likeminded individuals and to learn and develop language skills in such a supportive environment with my classmates, our tutor, and our professor.

I can now hold a conversation in Arabic, converse on a variety of topics, am more culturally aware, and confidently have a strong foundation of Arabic skills consisting of standard high language vocabulary and a lot of Egyptian dialect.

Family photo of our class with our classmate’s daughter!

For me learning Arabic was a chance to truly open my eyes to the beautiful diversities in the world, especially in Arabic speaking regions such as the Middle East where non-Arabic speakers commonly have a lot of misconceptions about not only language, but culture.

I have only begun my journey in understanding how culture contributes to perception, connotation, and communication. Educating myself is the start to contributing a more globally aware society, starting by breaking language barriers and expanding to clarifying misconceptions and squashing stereotypes. Learning Arabic has allowed me to start developing an understanding of culture and ways of life very different from what I, as a native English speaker, was typically used to. Despite cultural differences between geographical regions, languages bridge the gap between different people and creates an opportunity for communication and understanding to develop.

My classmate and I with our professor!

I would absolutely recommend Project GO to ROTC students, and I would highly encourage anyone up for a challenge to learn a new language as they have numerous benefits beyond the classroom. Learning languages truly helps to form more globally aware citizens. They broaden perspectives, open up doors for communication, educate people on culture, and can lead to amazing opportunities whether it be connecting people within your community, or meeting new people traveling abroad.

I am very thankful for this experience and excited to continue my quest learning Arabic inside and outside of the classroom in the years to come.

Visual representation of the word “ممكن” by my classmate and I, which doesn’t directly translate into English, but is ممكن a verb for maybe/sort of.

Side note: My professor is from Egypt, which houses the Nile River. In the Nile there are many crocodiles. Nile crocodiles can range from 15-20 feet long. Below is a visual representation of the size of a small (15-foot) crocodile, measured out by myself, my classmate, and our other classmate’s daughter.

One 15-foot Nile crocodile!

Will report back soon!

Life @ Riddle & A Word or Two of Advice

Between family members, friends, and even some people looking into Ridde, they all ask me how I have been. Well here is the truth. I love ERAU. I love the classes, environment, and involvement. I’ve been a student here for 5 months now and I feel like I have been here for years! Being a dual major with a minor is a lot of work. I have had people doubt me and question why. Dual majoring is not for everyone. It takes a lot of work and there are a few late nights, but it is worth it!

ERAU has a lot of events and activities to get involved in. Recently, there was a farmers market here on campus. They come once a semester and there truly is something for everyone! Purses, honey, kettle corn, flowers, the list goes on. A few other activities include Rush Week, Touch-N-Go Thursday Night Movies, and Operation Bootstrap 2.0. Every Thursday, Touch N Go Productions hosts a movie night. It is free for students and a lot of fun. Some of the most recent films they showed was “Ted 2,” “Jurassic World,” “Tomorrowland,” and “Minions.” Whether you like all the movies or just a few, they usually have a great variety throughout the semester. One time, they even showed “Top Gun” in an aircraft hangar! That is the ultimate “Top Gun” movie experience right there! Operation Bootstrap 2.0 is happening this Friday. Our school embarked on the journey from Miami to Daytona Beach 50 years ago calling it Operation Bootstrap. Packing up 31 trucks, volunteers helped with the move back in April 1965. This Friday at 4:00 pm, students will be able to compete in challenges, take the largest ERAU group photo, and enjoy fireworks later on in the night! It is sure to be a fun event! ERAU makes sure you work hard but also play hard when necessary. Yesterday, we had our career expo. Nearly 100 companies came to the ICI Center (ERAU Fieldhouse) to talk to students about their companies. Some even offered interviews! Some companies that came included NASA, Boeing, The Spaceship Company, Delta, and a whole lot more! Everyone dressed up and it was a truly fun and engaging event.

When it is time for business, ERAU has all the resources you could ever ask for; and they are free! A^2 is a free tutoring center with tutoring labs. The subjects covered include Math, Physical Sciences, and Writing. However, that is not the only place you can get tutoring. You can ask your professors, peer mentors, or classmates! ERAU even has Supplemental Instruction for certain classes as well. There are a bunch of resources you can use! Don’t be afraid to use them!

Want to learn a language? No problem, clubs and classes are offered so you can learn Russian, Japanese, and even Spanish! There are a lot of activities and organizations available to you on campus. You can even check out ERAU Connection for all the 130+ clubs and organizations on campus. You will find something that interests you. Myself, I found 5.

There are a lot of things that you can get involved with and learn at Riddle. So much so you might not even want to leave. Personally, I love learning. When I first came to Riddle, I could not decide what minor I wanted to do. There were so many available. I settled on Space Studies because I want to be an astronaut. But there are so many others to choose from; and I am indecisive! Going to college is a journey. One that you will remember for the rest of your life. Take your time and enjoy it. No, you will not enjoy every moment and you will not like every single class you take, but that is college. Work hard but have fun. Find the balance. #GoERAU