By Shannon Bader
Having been awarded an IPED summer stipend, I was able to pursue Arabic language studies in Morocco this summer. I attended the Qalam wa Lawh Language Center in Rabat and had a wonderful experience. The program consisted of intensive language classes every morning and a variety of cultural excursions and community events later in the day. I went into the program without having ever taken an Arabic course, so being able to start at the complete beginner level was beneficial. I was also able to live at the school which allowed me to practice my Arabic with other students and faculty members outside of class time.
I took Political Economy of the Middle East during the Spring semester and Political Risk Analysis remotely while I was in Morocco. The language immersion program was a way to further complement those classes and my future career goals. I hope to specialize in political analysis of the MENA region when I graduate and believe that the experience of living in an Arabic country and learning some of the language will prove invaluable. Thank you to IPED for making this experience possible! I recommend future students look into language programs and come up with their own plan of study if they have interests outside of the traditional LISA programs.