Ashley came to study Arabic through her passion for history. She currently works as a tour guide in museums and historic sites like Ford's Theatre and President Lincoln's cottage. She hopes to eventually use her Arabic skills to write, research, or work in education. In her spare time, Ashley enjoys traveling, watching films, reading, and writing. She is also the recipient of the Maryland Transfer Scholarship.



Caterina came to study Arabic because she wants to be a human rights lawyer and work with refugees, with a focus in the Middle East. She is also been fascinated by the music, literature, and food from Arabic speaking countries, and it excites her to be able to one day read my favorite poems in their original language or listen to artists with a real understanding of the culture their music comes from.


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Elissa is a Freshman majoring in Government and Politics with an International Relations concentration. She is interested in conflict resolution and wealth inequality in the Middle East. She decided to study Arabic because of her passion for the history and diverse cultures of the MENA region. She hopes to pursue a career in the region someday. In her free time, she enjoys reading classical literature and exercising.


Jacqueline first studied Arabic with STARTALK in high school, and she has been hooked ever since! She hopes to use her interests in Middle Eastern art, culture, and history to build a career in diplomacy and conflict resolution. Jacqueline also studied Italian intensively in high school, studied abroad in Italy, and created the first chapter of the National Italian Honor Society. 


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Lily is a student in the Honors Humanities Program. She is majoring in Economics and minoring in Arabic and French. She is interested in foreign policy and environmental law in foreign countries, which sparked her interest in learning Arabic. Lily began studying Arabic in Fall 2018. She really enjoys working on calligraphy and expanding her vocabulary.



Margaret first studied Arabic with the STARTALK program in high school and went on, at the University of Maryland, to declare it as a major in addition to majoring in French Studies. The summer following her freshman year, she participated in the Arabic Summer Language Institute. Margaret hopes to use her combined French and Arabic language skills and interests in Middle Eastern culture, history, and politics in a government career.


Molly is a Freshman majoring in Government and Politics with a concentration in International Relations. She learned about our program during a visit while completing the Arabic STARTALK program. Politics in the Middle East are some of Molly's interests that led to her studying Arabic. She is a UMD Dean's scholarship recipient. Molly hopes to work for the government or a research institution in the realm of Middle East studies or diplomacy.


Matthew was drawn to Arabic because of his love of studying languages and his interest in the Middle East’s many different cultures. He joins our Flagship program after a summer study abroad in Morocco. Matthew is also an athlete and an avid sports fan; he is a member of the triathlon club at UMD and a former soccer player. In his future career, he hopes to become a diplomat and improve relations between the Arab world and the West. 


Olivia loves to learn new languages and learn about different cultures around the world. She chose to learn Arabic because she knew nothing about the language or the culture. After taking her first Arabic class she knew she wanted to continue learning Arabic. Her future career goals are to teach Arabic in high schools and community colleges. She wants to be able to offer students the same opportunities to learn a new language, and to learn about another culture that some may not have ever heard of. Olivia is the recipient of the President’s Transfer Scholarship and her academic interests include Second Language Acquisition, and she will pursue a Master’s degree in that field.


An interest in learning languages and her family heritage brought Talia to studying Arabic and minoring in History. She participated in the Arabic Summer Institute and then joined the Flagship Program. Talia is passionate about talking with people and has made it her goal to do so in their native language. History, especially U.S., and languages are of great interest to Talia, but outside of school she enjoys reading and eating.


Winona started learning Arabic in high school. It is her fourth language, alongside Spanish and Indonesian. She is a recipient of several UMD scholarships, including the Bright Futures Scholarship, and is interning with the National US-Arab Chamber of Commerce. She hopes to use her Arabic in a career in international development or immigration and refugees. Her hobbies include traveling and playing and teaching the piano. 


After studying both Hebrew and Spanish in middle school, Zachary decided to try Arabic because it was offered at his high school. After studying it in high school he knew he loved it and wanted to study it in college and make a career out of it. In addition to high school, he also studied in STARTALK at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and has done an intensive summer program at University of Chicago. He hopes to use his language skills in a future government career.

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