Ellie Bednarek earned a dual degree in Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies in spring 2017, as well as minors in History and International Security Studies. Now, she shares an inside look into the Arabic Flagship program and what it meant to her.
“I joined the Arabic Flagship program in August 2014. I was involved for five full semesters. I decided to join the program when a professor during my freshman year explained it to my class and told us it was a good way to become fluent in the language. It also seemed like the Flagship program had a tight-knit community and provided a lot of resources to help with language study. It helped my education by giving me a lot of opportunities to practice Arabic outside the classroom. Also, I heard about a lot of opportunities on campus through the program, [such as] different scholarships, internships and job opportunities. [Through it] I met some of my best friends. I love the sense of community that the program provides and how it has helped me connect with other students who share the same interests and career goals.”
Now that Bednarek’s time with OU’s Flagship Program has come to an end, what advice does she have to offer incoming and current students?
“I would tell all students interested in learning a language to give Arabic a chance. I decided to study Arabic on a whim and then I loved it so much that I switched my major to Arabic. My decision to study Arabic and participate in the Flagship program completely changed my college and career trajectories. I think it’s important to take a chance on Arabic. I knew no Arabic when I started taking classes, but it has been a great experience. The Arabic Flagship program is a wonderful way to meet new people and be exposed to different cultures. [Also], learning Arabic is great for studying abroad! If you had told me in high school that I would end up traveling to Israel, Oman, Jordan and Morocco, I would have said that you were crazy. I have traveled around the world by studying Arabic and participating in the Flagship program.”
Ellie was a great asset to the Flagship program and we wish her all the best in her future endeavors, which she says involve “potentially getting an MBA and working for the State Department or a nongovernmental organization (NGO).” After spending the past summer in Morocco, she is now studying in Jordan on a Boren Scholarship.