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LMU Senior Immersed in Arabic Studies

During the past decade, world events, especially Sept. 11, have made clear a crucial need for Arabic speakers in the United States. Loyola Marymount senior Heather Moline is responding to that need. An English major with economics and theology minors, Moline is about to begin a six-week immersion program in Beirut, Lebanon, where she will take an intensive course in Arabic and learn about the culture of the Middle East.

“I already have a year of Arabic under my belt via an introductory LMU course,” Moline said. “I learned about the immersion program from Dr. Nancy Jabbra, chair of the Women’s Studies Department, whose husband is president of Lebanese American University, which runs the program in Beirut.” Joseph G. Jabbra, president of LAU, was academic vice president at Loyola Marymount from 1990 to 2004.

Moline’s Beirut studies will be made possible by an Albertson Fellowship, which is part of the Honors Summer Research Fellowship Award program. The award is named for Clinton Albertson, S.J., founder of the LMU Honors Program.

The LMU senior, who spent the spring 2009 semester studying in Spain, will take part in the Summer Institute for Intensive Arabic Language and Culture from June 22 to July 31, 2009. She will live in a dorm on the LAU campus, but will get to see the city and interact with residents.

Moline  intends to continue her Arabic studies when she returns to campus for the fall 2009 semester. “I am hoping, when I get back, to continue learning Arabic at LMU and to audit an advanced Arabic course at USC,” she said. “My eventual goal would be to find a grad school program that can help me reach fluency.”

Asked about her career prospects, Moline said: “The sky’s the limit for an American who knows Arabic.”