Posted by: Sarah Standish | December 6, 2010

Bridges to the Middle East Program

Would you like to learn more about Middle Eastern culture and practice your Arabic a little outside of class? Consider joining Bridges to the Middle East, a new program designed to allow young people to learn more about Middle Eastern and American culture — directly from each other.

The program director, Sarah Howell, has provided the following description.

Term: Winter 2011 (January-March)
Program Director: Sarah Howell

Lincoln High School students are among some of the first public high school students in the nation to be offered courses in the Arabic language. Your program is funded by a new offshoot of Qatar Foundation, called Qatar Foundation International, an organization working to spread knowledge and awareness of the Arabic language and Middle-Eastern culture in the U.S. and worldwide. QFI wants to supplement Arabic language instruction at Lincoln with an after-school program in which high schoolers and Middle-Eastern exchange students at PSU may share important points of culture and language with each other. The program will consist of weekly or bi-monthly (TBD) meetings with native Arabic speakers. The PSU students will share with you important parts of their culture and their cultural experience living and going to school in the U.S., via various discussion topics which will be organized by the program director. The purpose of this exchange is to raise awareness of Middle-Eastern culture by allowing you, young people from the U.S. with an interest in the Arabic language, to ask questions about the real experiences of college students who are native Middle-Easterners. Students will discuss relevant aspects of and differences between U.S. and Middle-Eastern cultures, and English and Arabic languages. The program will culminate in short presentations by the two groups about key things you learned through discussion over the term.

This is an opportunity to get to know young people from across the world on a personal level and to learn more about the cultural context of the language you are studying. It is an invitation to broaden your consciousness and grow your cultural sensitivity. As an ESL tutor at PSU, working with Middle-Eastern exchange students and their parents over the past three years has been an invaluable experience for me. I have made incredible friends, and I’ve gained a great respect and appreciation for their culture and their wonderful hospitality. I urge you to take the opportunity to get to know these young people and participate in a brand new program that has great potential for growth and student leadership.

Five to seven students may participate in the first term of the program, with potential for more in following terms. If you would like to participate, please fill out the application provided by Ms. Standish.

Students who are interested in applying may email me for an application or hand in the application they received in class.


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