Student Wins Scholarship to Study Arabic in Jordan

Posted: June 15, 2006 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Nicholas Zinzer

Andrew Dysart, a George Mason sophomore majoring in administration of justice, will be studying thousands of miles away from his home campus in Fairfax, Va., this summer. He will spend nearly two months in Amman, Jordan, where he will focus on the Arabic language.

He applied for and won a scholarship from a brand-new study abroad program from the U.S. Department of State/Council of American Overseas Research Centers.

“My goal is to learn a working proficiency in the Arabic language. I would like to establish a building block that will provide a basis for more in-depth classes in the future and will hopefully lead to a semi-fluency in the language,” says Dysart. “I am also looking forward to learning more about the Arab culture in that region.”

Dysart, a native of Dallas, took ARAB101 and ARAB102, both elementary Arabic classes, at Mason. He’s learned that his textbooks from these classes will not go to waste, as the same textbooks will be used for his classes in Jordan while he studies modern standard Arabic and colloquial Arabic in the Jordanian dialect.

Dysart believes his previous military service and the support from his commanding officer helped him earn the scholarship. “I was in the Marine Corps for four years prior to starting college at Mason. Even though this played no direct relation to the Arabic scholarship in itself, it did show a certain amount of dedication and willingness to take on challenges on my part.”

During his stint in the Marine Corps, Dysart was stationed at Camp Lejeune, N.C., and Okinawa, Japan. The closest he previously came to Jordan was on a ship passing through the Suez Canal in and around Egypt.

The Arabic scholarships were offered in Egypt, Jordan and Tunisia. Dysart originally chose Egypt, although he received a scholarship to the Jordan program.

There were more than 1,200 applicants for the scholarships, and 30 were awarded. Dysart is the only administration of justice major accepted to the program. Most of the applicants were international studies, foreign affairs or government majors.

Funds for this program were provided by the Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Dysart will leave at the end of this week and return Aug. 12.

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