This blog was originally designed to keep me sane as I began learning Arabic. It morphed into a blog of musings about Arabic, the Middle East, and the Islamic World, as well as book reviews about those topics. Then, the blog became a place to keep my family and friends updated on my adventures while I was living abroad. During May and June of 2012, I had a 6-week long internship in Cairo, Egypt through a international student organization called AIESEC. I taught English at the Awladi Orphanage in Cairo, home to several hundred children. I lived in an apartment in Nasr City before moving to Maadi (each is a distinct area of Cairo). I experienced President Mursi's election, camped in the western desert, rode camels by the pyramids, and had countless other experiences. I have since moved past this blog, on towards new endeavors, but if you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment! Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Feeling Dumb

I did not receive a CLS. I didn't even get into the next round of applicants.
I still have to fill out several other scholarship requests, asking for money to continue my studies. The Boren would allow me to study in Egypt, and the FLAS would just give me money to continue studying in school.
I know that there wasn't much of a chance at getting the CLS, but it is still a bit of a bummer all the same. I feel like applying for the others is sort of pointless... This makes me feel like I'm not the person who should be doing this. Maybe I'm really not good enough to do what I want to do. I'm not brilliant at Arabic, but it is something that I truly want.
My heart is in this: the idea of helping make decisions that have an international impact. However, it'd be so much easier to switch and do something like business.
There are so many options for how to proceed. I could take an AIESEC internship this summer, or I could stay at U of I to take an intensive Arabic class. If I go with the AIESEC, I could either a) still study abroad next year, but go to Cairo or b)not study abroad. Then, junior year I'd either a)i) take half a year of Arabic and take a Vienna internship the second half of the year or a)ii) take a full year of Arabic junior year and not intern. Or, I could b) study abroad in Egypt during the second semester of junior year and take an AIESEC semester during senior year. If I go with the intensive class, I can study abroad in Alexandria like I'd like next year.
Lord knows there are probably more options than that that I'm not even considering. It's just messy. So many people aren't even worried about any of this at all... It would be nice if money were no object here. I know that my parents probably could pay for it all, but I really hate to ask that of them. It is a lot of money.
I also hate that my advisors who read my essays probably think of me as some overly ambitious freshman. Which... I suppose I am. Most people are just concentrated on not failing out of school. However, I just really want to do all of these things.
Sorry for the blabbing. I'm avoiding these FLAS essays... once I finish those, I will have to send out an e-mail requesting more letters of recommendation from professors I've had for only a semester. I feel dumb.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

"Bahrain: Shouting in the Dark"

Take some time and watch the documentary "Bahrain: Shouting in the Dark." The film was shot by undercover crew after the Bahraini government had banned all foreign journalists.

"Bahrain: An island kingdom in the Arabian Gulf where the Shia Muslim majority are ruled by a family from the Sunni minority. Where people fighting for democratic rights broke the barriers of fear, only to find themselves alone and crushed. This is their story and Al Jazeera is their witness - the only TV journalists who remained to follow their journey of hope to the carnage that followed.

This is the Arab revolution that was abandoned by the Arabs, forsaken by the West and forgotten by the world.
Editor's note: This documentary [in November of 2011] won the Foreign Press Association Documentary of the Year award in London." (Quote taken from Al-Jazeera's Website)

It is an important piece of the Arab Spring. While there were countries like Tunisia and Egypt who fought for and won their independence, there were places where this fight didn't come so quickly. The Gulf states, those with control of much of the world's oil reserves, cannot afford to have revolutions on their hands. Saudi Arabia stepped in to Bahrain, bringing troops and crushing the revolution. The Saudis, minority leaders like the ruling family in Bahrain, know that if a revolution happens nearby, there is a chance that it might flow over into their country. Oil money is what props up these regimes.

[Watch here:]