As a Trinity student, I have the opportunity to study a foreign language. I started the beginner level Arabic last semester, and I am currently in the second level. Each semester we have an “Arabiyat night,” which is basically just a fun, cultural, and educational evening filled with entertainment, music, food, skits, and friends. The event this semester was at the Mediterra Grill, which is a restaurant just a few minutes from Duke’s campus.
It was also a few weeks after my birthday and two of my friends decided to surprise me with a cake and sing “Happy Birthday” in Arabic
“!عيد ميلاد سعيدة”
There are a lot of really cool events hosted by the Asian and Middle Eastern Studies department. Just in my first year at Duke, they have brought the Iraqi ambassador to the United States, Samir Sumaida’ie, to speak to students, hosted a conference on the Arab Spring called “Revolution and Repression,” and held a roundtable and performance with Sudanese refugee, Tyson Lah Deng. On March 22nd, Professor Carl Ernst will give the inaugural Arabic Majors’ Distinguished Lecture on ‘the global Significance of Arabic Language and Literature.’ The father of one of my classmates Ambassador Salem Al Sabah of Kuwait to the US will attend and comment on the talk. I love being involved with this department, there is always something going on!
Through the AMES department, I also found out about DukeEngage Cairo. I had heard about DukeEngage before coming to Duke, but not about the Cairo program specifically. All the prospective students out there, make sure you look into DukeEngage. I know a lot of students here who were convinced they wanted to come to Duke after hearing about the DukeEngage program. It is an all-expense paid civic engagement opportunity unique to Duke. While in Cairo, I will be working with NGOS that work with Egyptian street children and refugee communities among other activities. From everything I have heard of previous participants, it will be a life-changing experience. Stay tuned for more posts about my experiences with DukeEngage!
In February, I had the opportunity to meet one of my idols, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, who is the director of the documentary Miss Representation. She visited Duke to speak about the documentary and answer questions from students. Over the past few weeks, there have also been a lot of interesting, low-key events sponsored by various departments on campus including DukeJourneys, where I had the chance to have dinner in a small group setting with someone from the Duke family sponsored by the Global Advisors and the information session I attended on internships in Arts, Entertainment, and the Media sponsored by the Career Center. Another event in particular on a larger scale was the Fannie Mitchell Exchange. Basically, Duke brought a bunch of alumni back to campus to meet in small groups with current students in order to give advice about the future and do some networking. I got to be a liaison for Johanna Edens Anderson, who is the director of the Belk Foundation, an education non-profit in Charlotte, NC. A piece of advice from her that really stuck out to me was: “Make connections, reach out and effectively communicate your passions.” This is not only applicable to my time here at Duke, but in the future as well.
All in all, I continue to be amazed at the endless opportunities to take advantage of here at Duke. There is always something people are buzzing about on campus. My advice to both present students and prospective students is to never say no to any of them. Put yourself out there, sign up or apply for different events and get involved. Take the time to talk to that student beside you on the bus, pilot a new organization on campus, meet with your professor outside of class, or spark up a conversation with the woman greeting you at the Marketplace. We only have four years here, so why not make the best of them?
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