Haidar Mazen Mohamed Hadi – who graduated with a minor and certificate of translation in Arabic from UTA. Is now working with Karbala Satellite Channel as a TV Correspondent/ Editor. He also has his own website where he posts his literary translation work and other creative works. http://haidarmazen.com/ Finally, he works as a freelance English/Arabic translator as well.
Rouba Shishakly is completing an orthoptic fellowship under Ophthalmology in Johns Hopkins Hospital MD. She said that knowing Arabic has helped her in communicating with patients from the Middle East who often come to Hopkins for their Ophthalmology treatment.
My name is Yareli Servin and I’m a proud alumnus of UT Arlington. I graduated in May 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts in French, with a Political Science minor. I’ve always been fascinated with French—my first encounter with the language occurred when I was in middle school and read Les Misérables. There were lines of dialogue not translated from the French and ever since I’ve been curious about the language. Thanks to this curiosity, I opted into the French department’s localization and translation certification program. This program proved to be invaluable as I was able to become a paid translator through a classroom project that grew into a business—Global Metaphrase. I worked translating into French and Spanish. As graduation approached, I decided to apply to NYU for a Master’s program in Literary Translation, French to English. I was accepted and spent the last year studying in New York City, finishing my program with two intensive courses during the summer in Paris. It wasn’t my first time studying abroad in Paris, however. I also took advantage of the French department’s summer abroad in Paris right before my senior, yet again giving me an opportunity to improve my French and an advantage when applying to graduate school. Sometimes I’m asked why I didn’t go to NYU or a similar university from the get-go, but I smile and say, “But then my life wouldn’t have turned out the same.” I now work at Akorbi, a translation firm based in Plano, as a project manager.
As a student, in both French and Political Science at UTA have been able to reach the first steps to achieve my dream of an international career. This fall I started a Master’s Program in Development Studies in the international city Geneva in Switzerland, at one of the most prestigious schools of its kind the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies. There is no doubt that my choice of complementing my major in Political Science with a major in French helped me get where I am today. Not only is French a language widely spoken in many continents in the world, but it is more importantly a language that is one of the working languages of most if not all International Organizations and Non-Governmental Organizations. If you, like I, are aiming for an international career it is essential to speak several languages, and especially French. UTA’s French program I would also like to highlight helped me not only learn French by the regular class-room teaching style, but also gave me an opportunity to get some real hands-on experience through a project with a local company. Two other students and I had the opportunity to help a DFW-based company, translate several documents for them from English to French. This experience along with all my other experiences as a French student at UTA makes me proud to say that I am an alumni of UTA.
When I signed up for the study abroad trip with UTA I had no idea it would be such a huge turning point in my life. I was expecting a few weeks of learning some French, visiting Paris, laughing with new friends and eating a lot of cheese…followed by life as I knew it in Texas. Looking back, it actually was the starting point of a new path — the one that lead me here, to Reunion Island, where I have my own successful business as an ESL teacher, and where weekends consist of swimming with wild dolphins, jumping off waterfalls, and hikes in the mountains.
One of my favorite quotes floating around the internet right now is “Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer“. If I know one thing for certain, it’s that only good things will come from studying abroad. I could write you a book about the benefits of learning languages in an authentic setting, the importance of experienced travelers in our global economy, the spiritual truths we learn while discovering other cultures, and how great studying abroad looks on a resume…but these are the things you already know. For me, the best part of what happened during my study abroad was the stuff I wasn’t expecting – the little mysteries of life that started to unfold when I learned to let go and live in the moment. I didn’t master the French language while I was there with UTA, but I did develop a real thirst to communicate, a deep desire to know more.
After 5 weeks of awkward exchanges at the market, getting lost on the subway, speaking to random friendly strangers and ordering a lot of food, I realized that I could pretty much do anything. It was a tiny step, but it was the first step and it was so important. When I went home, I finished my degree with a burning hunger to return. My study abroad trip helped me to get accepted with the Teaching Assistant Program in France, (TAPIF) and I was placed in Reunion Island. I lived with hosts who took me in as part of the family, and that’s how I ended up one sunny day at a birthday party for the man who is now my husband…. The mysteries of what your life could be will unfold for you, too. You just have to take that tiny first step.
Everyone knows that any time spent abroad will alter some parts of your life. I already knew going into UTA’s study abroad program for the summer that I would experience something incredible. What I did underestimate was how feasible living in Paris would be after the program was done. What influenced me the most to come back to Paris was my capability to adapt to the culture and to the city. To be honest, after a few blunders, I found it easy to navigate my way around. I found myself adapting to the city, because Paris is an incredibly particular city to live in, and this was all due to my professors’ advice “to keep an open mind.”
Accepting that there would be cultural differences, adapting to their social mannerisms, and understanding why they do the things they do was my saving grace. Unlike the infamous image of French people being rude, I just found them particular. I had less disagreeable run-ins with Parisians mostly because I tried to understand what would annoy them rather than expecting them to understand me. (Although trust me, it isn’t always sunshine and flowers in Paris.) This was all due to listening to my professors and heeding their warnings about the French culture.
And so now, after months applying independently through CampusFrance and taking the DELF B2 exam without instruction (which I passed with 2 points), I am currently enrolled in Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défenseto pursue my Master’s in Industrial/Organizational Psychology for a fraction of the price I would have paid in the US. Yes, this city is incredibly overpriced and sometimes over-crowded and yes, it’s a complete headache dealing with the French administrative system of any sort, but I’m able to pursue both my dream and my studies in the city that’s astounding. I’m forever thankful that I convinced my parents to let me do the UTA Summer program because without it, I would never have had the initiative to do any of the things I’ve accomplished. It just takes an open mind and great instruction to make any dream, like this dream, feasible.
When I was 17 years old I had the chance to take a tour of France with my high school senior class. Although the trip wasn’t very long it was just long enough to make me want to go back. At the time I did not have the means to get a college education and so instead I worked and obtained my cosmetology license. However, I did not give up on my dreams. All the while I was thinking about how and when I could return to Europe.
After meeting my husband some years later, I had the opportunity to pursue the college degree I had always wanted, which was French. I returned to school very motivated and quickly became one of the top students earning a 4.0 in my courses and obtaining the Gilman International Scholarship for Study Abroad. I truly believe that it was the motivation and fire that I had from the first visit that helped me stay focused on my goals. I am not different than most other students I met except that I had a very specific goal in mind. My dreams finally came true 14 years after my first look at France when I was able to return with UTA to study abroad for a month in Paris.
The courses I took at UTA combined with my study abroad experience have changed my life. Not only did I get to use my newly acquired language skills but I had so many experiences I will never forget. I spent an entire day visiting the Palace of Versailles and stayed for the rare costume festival. The festival is only twice a year in which they turn on all the fountains that are centuries old and the people living near Versailles dress in period costumes to come see the lights and fireworks. It was amazing! Also, while visiting a special exhibit in the Musée D’Orsay I actually ran into the actor Leonardo Di’Caprio, who was nice enough to take a picture with me. I even got the opportunity to have dinner with a French family whose sister was attending UTA. She e-mailed them about my arrival and I was able to spend the afternoon having a 3-course meal and getting to know them.
I truly believe that Study Abroad enriches a person’s life in a way that they could not obtain by just taking classes. The ability to immerse yourself in an entirely different culture and to experience things you never would be able to otherwise is invaluable. Today I am happy to say that I am a high school French teacher at Trinity in the H.E.B school district and now I get the chance to take my students to France every year and pass on the wonderful knowledge and experience I’ve gained through Study Abroad.
When I decided to go to France with the Study Abroad program at UTA, I knew it was going to be a rewarding experience. What I didn’t expect is how much of an effect it would have on my life. I knew that I would enjoy food, great field trips, and amazing art. I knew that I would get to see Paris and have a chance at traveling through Europe. Nothing else beyond the objectives of the program was promised to me. However, my study abroad experience is a moment in my life that keeps on rewarding me to this day. At a personal level, I have the Study Abroad program to thank for allowing me to meet and get to know three of my best friends four years ago. There is something to be said about traveling to an unknown land with like-minded, yet diverse individuals. It is a shared experience that draws you close to those around you. There’s no price tag in the world that can match the value of fellowship and friendship.
There is something about being out of your comfort zone; in a country whose language you’re trying to master that shows itself as an unexpected life lesson. It has to do, in my opinion, with the fact that you are courageous enough to not only be open to engage a different culture from your own but to also allow yourself to be vulnerable in order to learn. Immersing yourself in a different culture gives you a different perspective in life, a new appreciation for other people’s cultures and experiences that only comes when you experience how others different from you go through life. The Study Abroad program served as great support but at the same time encouraged venturing into the city as an individual in order to provide an authentic encounter with a different culture from our own, a lesson that cannot be simulated in a classroom.
Omar is currently pursuing a Doctorate in French at Rutgers University
Saying that my decision to spend a summer in Paris changed my life would be a major understatement. As cliché as it sounds, it was a magical experience that I walked away from with an even greater love of the French Language and Culture and ignited a wanderlust that impacts my decisions to this day!
I keep a journal while I was there, and I occasionally get it out to read and all of the things I was feeling at that come rushing back. One night in particular I wrote about the energy I felt in Paris. The lights, the sounds, the people…its like the city has a heart beat, and I was overwhelmed to be in the middle of it. It seemed as if anything was possible. I could do anything and be anyone I wanted to be and that’s an excitement I had never felt before. I think when you take the courage to step out of your comfort zone you experience things you never could have imagined and you get to know yourself a little better.
I changed my college major, met the man who would become my husband, applied for and was accepted to the TAPIF program that allowed me to move to France and eventually stay there for several years… all thanks to that one summer in Paris. The experience holds a special place in my heart for so many reasons and I can honestly say its something I will never forget. Everyone’s story is different so I encourage you to go write your own…you never know where it might take you.
Oh and don’t forget the pastries! Oh the pastries…let’s just say it’s a good thing you walk everywhere!
Laura Boyle teaches German at Pascal and South West High Schools. What she has to say about UT Arlington: "Die Professoren sind wunderbar. Die Deutschkurse sind interessant."
Becky Christenberry taught German at Nimitz High School. She was also secretary of the North Texas AATG and lectured at the UT Arlington. Currently she is teaching at the John F Kennedy School in Berlin, Germany. What she has to say about UT Arlington: "It was a wonderful opportunity to further my knowledge of German literature and culture."
LCheyenne Herriman teaches German at Lee High School in Midland, Texas. What she has to say about her UT Arlington experiences in international organizations: "It was wonderful to have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience and interact with a diverse group of students through the International Office, the International Student Organization, and the German Club."
Bruce Horn got his teaching certification through UT Arlington. He teaches German at Nolan Catholic High School. What he has to say about UT Arlington: "The course in methods for secondary school teachers was helpful. I got some ideas I applied to my teaching methods, one of which has become tradition: Stammtisch!"
Hildegard Lombardo teaches German at Trinity High School. She is also treasurer of the North Texas AATG and lectures at UT Arlington. What she has to say about UT Arlington: "For one, the professors were very approachable. I liked the Honor Society as well."
Ben Hicks is traveling to Germany regularly, using his German in the real setting!
Mike Dailey does translations for individuals and organizations.
Megan Bartholomew quit her teaching job in order to pursue her Ph.D. in German.
Teresa Jade, after receiving her degree in German, went on to study linguistics and got a job in California in the Silicon Valley using linguistics in her work.
Completed his Doctorate in Russian at St. Petersburg University--the first American to earn his doctorate in Russia. In 2005 won the UT Arlington Distinguished Alumni award. Currently Professor of Russian at the Defense Language Institute in Monterrey, California.
Currently a Masters student at Texas A&M George Bush School of Government and Public Service.
Currently pursuing a Masters in Russian at Voronezh State University, Voronezh, Russia.
Currently Post Seizure Analyst for the Texas Department of Public Safety, Austin TX.