Make The Connection

Studying Arabic in Morocco

May 3, 2018 – by Cole Hatcher

Ohio Wesleyan Student Earns Gilman Scholarship to Support North African Experience

Ahmed Hamed ’20

Name: Ahmed Hamed ’20
Majors: Accounting and International Studies
Minor: Politics and Government
Hometown: Hilliard, Ohio
Experience: Hamed will be in Morocco from late May to mid-July to study Arabic through the Arabic Language summer study abroad program overseen by the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE).

He has earned a competitive Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) to help support his educational experience. ECA fosters mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries to promote friendly, sympathetic, and peaceful relations.

Hamed worked on his scholarship application with Anne Sokolsky, associate professor of Comparative Literature, and Darrell Albon, director of International and Off-Campus Programs and administrative director of OWU Connection Programs.

My journey

“Because the summer Arabic Language program is in Rabat, Morocco’s capital, there is the intersection of both domestic and foreign affairs. I will spend six weeks studying Arabic and Moroccan culture through the program’s ‘Modern Standard Arabic – Intermediate I’ and ‘Colloquial Moroccan Arabic – Beginning I’ classes.

“In addition, CIEE provides homestays and regional trips by which I will be able to learn about Morocco’s indigenous cultures. Visits to museums, NGOs, and universities in Rabat will give insight to the country’s modern-day role as the crossroads between Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. …

“My goal is to go to law school and eventually work in a Middle East and North Africa (MENA) country with a focus on business law. I was first exposed to this field two years ago when I interned at a law firm in Riyadh. The firm works with both domestic and foreign businesses to help them navigate Saudi Arabia’s laws and regulations. I was able to observe the work of the associates, participate in various client calls and meetings, and assist in writing the firm’s monthly client newsletter.

“Working with associates from places ranging from Indiana to Jordan, I noticed that some associates lacked cultural awareness of Saudi Arabia. There were times when this was an impediment to doing good business. My summer experience in Saudi Arabia helped me decide what type of law to focus on and showed me steps to take in my undergraduate career to get there. …

“(After graduation) I want to work in Palestine for a year to give back to a region where students find themselves at a great disadvantage, especially in the pursuit of higher education. By gaining a pluralistic view of the region (Morocco, Palestine, Saudi Arabia), I will be able to see a problem from a variety of cultural angles and, thus, hopefully be more effective in my future business law career. …

“The combination of the theory courses I have taken in the Department of Politics and Government and the concrete application courses I have taken in the Economics Department have provided the academic background I need to move in the direction of a business law career. …

“The Gilman Scholarship will provide the opportunity for me to financially pay for the study abroad program in Morocco. … This learning opportunity in Morocco will not just add to my prior knowledge of the MENA region, but it will prepare me for future endeavors both academically and professionally by widening my scope both culturally and linguistically.”

Why I chose Ohio Wesleyan

“I chose Ohio Wesleyan to take advantage of the wide range of opportunities offered outside the classroom, especially travel and internships. I also wanted a school where I could make close connections with faculty and staff and an education that would prepare me for graduate school.”

My plans after graduation

“After graduation I'm looking to attend law school and pursue a Master's Degree.”