Kubarah Ghias is an alumna of the 2022 CLS Urdu Program hosted by American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS) in Lucknow, India. Kubarah is in her final semester at Temple University and will graduate with her bachelor's in psychology and neuroscience. Kubarah’s long-term goal is to become a clinician and use her language skills to provide therapy to clients from the U.S. and India.
Getting to Know Kubarah
I grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia—go birds! Language learning is a big hobby of mine! I love to watch shows in different languages and I keep a little notebook of the new words that I learn. I also enjoy hiking and weightlifting.
Language has been a big part of my identity, as it is a way for me to feel further connected with my culture. Growing up, I watched Bollywood movies with my family and was always surrounded by Indian culture. My love for the culture drove me to want to further improve my language abilities!
Growing up, I noticed that there was a lack of Indian psychologists. It can be really difficult to connect with professionals who don’t quite understand your culture. I wanted to improve my language abilities in hopes of one day providing counseling to Urdu, Hindi, and English speakers from all over the Indian subcontinent.
My favorite word in my CLS target language is zabardast which translates to fantastic.
A Favorite Memory
One of my favorite memories from my CLS program was getting water coconuts with individuals from my cohort. We eventually befriended the coconut seller and went every day. It was a great way to connect with the locals.
After dinner, a few members of my cohort and I would sit and speak with the staff of the hotel where we were staying. In these moments, there was a lot of exchange of cultural ideas. Many of them had questions about the US education system and how we would use the target language when we returned to the US. In exchange, they offered insights on India and gave us advice on food, bargaining, and shopping.
After coming back, I have a new appreciation for community in general. India is a very collectivist society, while the U.S. is more individualistic. After returning home, I’ve spent a lot more time nurturing my relationships in the US.
Why should others consider Urdu?
I highly recommend studying Urdu! For one, it has some of the world’s best poetry and most beautiful phrases. For example, the phrase "sabr ka phal meetha hota” directly translates to "the fruits of patience are sweeter" or in other words it pays to be patient.
Words of Advice
The CLS Program is one of the best ways to not only learn a new skill and language, but to develop your cultural competence and understanding. I can’t recommend it enough. If you get selected as a finalist, try your hardest to be fully immersed in the language and culture when you get there. That way you will get the most out of your experience!
April 24, 2023