This is a guest post by Samantha J. Andrews (IPED ’17) current recipient of the David L. Boren Fellowship.
The Fordham IPED program, followed by a year of intensive Arabic language study as a David L. Boren Fellow in Jordan, has given me a solid foundation from which to transition my career. As a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and Officer in the U.S. Marine Corps, I have always felt a strong sense of duty. Leaving active duty service, I searched for new ways to serve my country. Fortunately, Fordham IPED offered me a Public Service Fellowship, connecting with a variety of opportunities to chart my career transition.
I was first introduced to the David L. Boren Fellowship through Fordham’s Prestigious Fellowships Office, which actively seeks out IPED students for application to competitive scholarships. I was immediately interested, as the focus of my graduate research was on the Middle East. Through our program’s career trips to the United Nations and Washington DC, as well as talking with our director, Dr. Schwalbenberg, I learned how important it would be in my career to have greater experience in the region. Thus, with the guidance and support of Fordham IPED and its staff, I applied for a twelve month, intensive language program in Jordan.
Every day I spend in Jordan, I feel thankful for the opportunity. My language studies, while challenging, are rewarding. My sole mission in Jordan is to immerse myself in the language and culture, learning as much as I can from my experiences. Fortunately, I have found it easy to build relationship with Jordanians, due largely to their generosity. One of the highlights of my fellowship was an invitation to attend my language teacher’s wedding. The experience provided valuable cultural insight, as well as an opportunity to cross cultural barriers and build relationships with a group of women that I may otherwise have never known.
I would recommend the David L. Boren Fellowship to students who want to gain a greater understanding of a particular country or region. The Fellowship is unique because it gives you the freedom to identify your language and research goals, and then, design a program around them.