NU-Q students awarded language grants from home campus

March 08, 2017

Three students from Northwestern University in Qatar (NU-Q) have been awarded Undergraduate Language Grants from Northwestern’s Office of Undergraduate Research. The grants will provide funding to study a language intensively over the summer.

The students, Maram Al-Qershi, Huda Barkat, and Yow-Ru Chen, will be studying Spanish, Italian, and Arabic, respectively. They competed for the grants alongside their colleagues on the Evanston campus. 

“Our students are encouraged to broaden their perspectives beyond a specific country’s borders, and these grants encourage them to take an important step in that direction, “said Everette E. Dennis, dean and CEO at NU-Q. “This language learning experience will allow them to expand their knowledge of foreign cultures and provide them with an opportunity to advance their academic experiences through research.”

The program allows students to identify a summer language program that best fits their goals, with the grant helping to defray the costs – the NU-Q students will each receive $5,000.

It also requires that the students are studying the language to achieve a specific academic or professional goal.

Barakat, who will be studying Italian at the Italiadea Institute in Rome, plans to take her interest in Italian culture and media to the next level. “I’ve always been interested in learning more about Italy, and I hope this experience will allow me to develop my interests into an academic project. During my stay, I plan on conducting a research study that examines some Italian media platforms,” she said.

Meanwhile, Chen will be enrolling in a language learning institute in Lebanon for six-weeks to learn Arabic, and to enrich his knowledge of Arabian heritage and culture. “I live and study in Qatar, so I chose to learn Arabic because it will help me become more familiar with the culture, and understand conversations around me,” said Chen.

Al-Qershi will spend her summer in Spain to learn how to read and write in Spanish. “This is a unique opportunity, and I’m looking forward to immersing myself in Spanish culture and learning about the country’s history, art, music, and literature,” said Al-Qershi.

"Learning a language contributes importantly to the broad educational experience that NU-Q offers to students--because knowing a foreign language helps tremendously in understanding a foreign culture better. Also, alternatives to one's own culture become understandable," said Klaus Schoenbach, associate dean of research at NU-Q.