Emily Ferris spent the summer taking Elementary Arabic at the Lebanese American University through their SINARC program. The university is located in the city of Beirut, a vibrant city once known as “the Paris of the Middle East,” but still haunted by the history of a 15-year Civil War and the more recent Israel-Hezbollah fighting in 2006. She had the opportunity to experience Beirut’s stunning beaches and world-renowned nightlife, as well as the incredible landscape all over the country. More importantly, she immersed herself in the Middle Eastern lifestyle. She learned what it was like to live and have fun in a tenuous sectarian society where shelled out buildings still stand on street corners. She witnessed the underlying historical, social, and cultural values that belie Western-Middle Eastern miscommunications. By visiting and volunteering at a local Palestinian refugee camp, she was able to experience the Arab-Israeli conflict firsthand. Emily fell in love with this tumultuous country, and since returning home, she has been keeping up with the news, practicing her Arabic, and planning her next trip back.
CEE Title: MENA Day