Critical Language Scholarship Program | Ermida Koduah
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Ermida Koduah

Ermi­da Kod­u­ah is an alum­na of the 2016 CLS Ara­bic pro­gram in Tang­i­er, Moroc­co. She is cur­rent­ly a senior at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Albany and will be grad­u­at­ing with degrees in polit­i­cal sci­ence and glob­al­iza­tion stud­ies. After she grad­u­ates, Ermi­da plans to either work for an NGO or join the For­eign Ser­vice. She also plans on pur­su­ing a master’s degree in inter­na­tion­al devel­op­ment. Ermi­da was born in Bres­cia, Italy to Ghana­ian par­ents and moved to the Bronx when she was four. This has had a pro­found impact on her per­son­al­i­ty and her love for study­ing oth­er cul­tures and travelling. 

Why Ara­bic?

In my fresh­man year of col­lege, I took a class on human geog­ra­phy and learned that Ara­bic was one of the top five lan­guages spo­ken through­out the world. I knew that I want­ed to pur­sue a career that involved inter­na­tion­al rela­tions and there­fore Ara­bic would be per­fect. I took my first Ara­bic class when I stud­ied in Dubai and enjoyed every moment of it. 

In a Word…

The word جامعة (Je-me-iah”) means uni­ver­si­ty and stems from the word اجتمع (Ij-Tee-Mah”) which means to come togeth­er. In uni­ver­si­ties, we come togeth­er to learn. 

Unplug­ging in the Sahara

A mem­o­rable event dur­ing my CLS pro­gram was our week­end trip to Mer­zouga, where we spent the night in the Sahara Dessert. When I first heard about the trip, I thought I would hate it because I was nev­er a big fan of nature excur­sions. How­ev­er, it was one of the best expe­ri­ences of my life. Being dis­con­nect­ed from the world for about 24 hours and spend­ing time in the sand dunes was amaz­ing. I spent the night gaz­ing at the stars and speak­ing with the Amazigh who lived in the desert. 

Find­ing Strength in Being Different

Being a black woman in Moroc­co was a bit of a cul­ture shock for me. I thought being black in an African coun­try, I would be able to fit in or at least not be noticed but it was the com­plete oppo­site. I would often get stares, peo­ple sneak­ing up to me to pull on my twists, or hear racial slurs. Deal­ing with this almost every day was a great chal­lenge for me. How­ev­er, I over­came this chal­lenge by remind­ing myself that some peo­ple are just curi­ous about my pur­pose in their coun­try, and want­ed to know more about where I was from. 

Words of Wisdom

I would defi­ant­ly rec­om­mend Ara­bic because the lan­guage is very poet­ic and each word has so much mean­ing behind it. 


Alumni Profiles

Ermida Koduah
Ermida Koduah
Arabic 2016
Tangier, Morocco

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Posted Date

March 28, 2017