My Arabic studies have been one of the most defining forces in my life.
They took the spark of curiosity that was ignited within me by my first few interactions with international people and poured jet fuel on it. My teacher, Jennifer MacDonald, was one of the first real examples of a teacher who challenged almost everything I knew about the world. She was inspired about her work, unapologetic about what she believed in, and eager to share it with otherwise completely oblivious young men such as myself.
My Arabic education took me to Michigan, Morocco, and the United Arab Emirates on comprehensive scholarships before I even graduated high school. It exposed me to real diversity on a global scale, and propelled me into the lifestyle I now live as a dual degree student at Sciences Po Paris and Columbia University.
The most significant aspect of my experience in the Arabic program at Christ School was less centered on the actual language competency I acquired, but rather the international experience that went along with it. By the time I graduated high school, I had already gotten a taste of the vastness of the larger world around me as a result of my unique experience with Arabic. It was one thing to spend a week in Europe with my family during the summer of my freshman year; it was an entirely different thing to be put in the middle of Morocco at 15 years old for two months and left to navigate the streets of Marrakech entirely alone.
And I loved it.
Without the Arabic program at Christ School, I never would have had the opportunities that have since been afforded to me as a result of my education and international experience. I am eternally grateful for foundation I received from my Arabic classes, and offer my utmost encouragement for everyone to participate whole-heartedly in it during their time at Christ School.
- Kristian Gaylord ’15
The Arabic Program at Christ School was instrumental in foraging the path that I have chosen to pursue in my life and career.
During the Fall of my Junior year at Christ School, I had a scheduling conflict that prevented me from taking Physics that year. Although there were many other courses that I could have chosen to fill my free period with, I chose Arabic, as I had always had a fascination with the history and culture of the Middle East.
The Arabic Program at Christ School not only got me started on my path to learning the Arabic Language, but also further interested me in the complex, modern Arab World. Without the Arabic Program at Christ School, I am certain that I would not have pursued the highly rewarding path of learning Arabic, working in the Middle East, or attempting to understand a region and culture as complex as those that I have encountered thus far.