Critical Language Scholarship Program | Luana Davila
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Luana Davila

Lua­na Davi­la is an alum­na of the 2019 CLS Ara­bic pro­gram in Mek­nes, Moroc­co. She’s cur­rent­ly work­ing toward a Bach­e­lor of Arts in Clas­si­cal Stud­ies with a minor in Ara­bic at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Illi­nois, Chica­go. Lua­na hopes to use her Ara­bic work­ing in arche­ol­o­gy in Egypt and in cura­tion at the Field Muse­um in Chica­go. She ded­i­cates her free time to music, play­ing gui­tar, bass, vio­lin, and singing in a mariachi.

Inspired by Fam­i­ly to Pur­sue Language

I was born and raised in Joli­et, Illi­nois (just south of Chica­go) before mov­ing to Chica­go for uni­ver­si­ty. My fam­i­ly inspired my inter­est in lan­guage: my father’s side is Peru­vian and my mom’s side is Pales­tin­ian. Because of them, I grew up speak­ing sev­er­al lan­guages. My rich and mixed her­itage has also made for a unique cul­tur­al and reli­gious upbring­ing. I chose to study Ara­bic to become clos­er to the Pales­tin­ian side of my fam­i­ly and my culture. 

Pro­fes­sion­al Goals Using Language

I would like to work in Egypt doing archae­o­log­i­cal work while being able to com­mu­ni­cate with the locals. I also hope to work in cura­tion at the Field Muse­um in Chica­go and have been push­ing myself to pur­sue diverse expe­ri­ences to pre­pare me for a posi­tion there. I plan to use my lan­guage to be an asset to the muse­um. Since the Field Muse­um has such an exten­sive Egypt­ian col­lec­tion, I plan to help it grow by becom­ing a cura­tor who can com­mu­ni­cate eas­i­ly with the coun­tries we work with. With my Ara­bic, I hope to bridge the gap between nation­al muse­ums and mid­dle east­ern ones.

Why Ara­bic?

Ara­bic is such an impor­tant and beau­ti­ful lan­guage that I would push any­one who is inter­est­ed to learn. It is impor­tant in his­to­ry as one of the ear­li­est and most pow­er­ful civ­i­liza­tions spoke it (the Egyp­tians). I would rec­om­mend Mek­nes as well because a lot of Mid­dle East­ern­ers do not know a lot about the rich cul­tur­al his­to­ry of the African Arab coun­tries. I learned com­plete­ly new and inter­est­ing things that I was able to share with not only stu­dents unfa­mil­iar with Ara­bic but stu­dents who had been speak­ing Ara­bic all their lives and knew noth­ing about the African Arab countries.

A Learn­ing Expe­ri­ence via Taxi

At the begin­ning of the pro­gram when my Ara­bic was shaky, my room­mate and I decid­ed to take a trip to the local super­mar­ket to pick up some snacks. While the store wasn’t a long walk from our home, we decid­ed to take a cab because we weren’t 100% sure of the route. I end­ed up ask­ing the dri­ver to take us to the large super­mar­ket about 30 min­utes away from us rather than the one that was about a 2‑minute dri­ve away. Need­less to say, my room­mate and I were com­plete­ly freaked out because nei­ther knew how to ask where we were going or could fig­ure out what was going on. I decid­ed it was time to real­ly buck­le down and learn so this would­n’t hap­pen again. By the end of the pro­gram I was argu­ing with taxi dri­vers for over­charg­ing me.

Back home in Chica­go, I became a great asset to the class­room. The pro­gram had real­ly unlocked my lan­guage poten­tial and I was able to aid my fel­low stu­dents when they were strug­gling with Ara­bic. I also got to teach my fel­low class­mates what I had learned about Moroc­can cul­ture after my time there. Because of the CLS Pro­gram, I have gained access to so many amaz­ing career oppor­tu­ni­ties. I have made life­long friends and it was tru­ly an unfor­get­table expe­ri­ence that I rec­om­mend to any­one and everyone. 

Alumni Profiles

Luana Davila
Luana Davila
Arabic 2019
Meknes, Morocco

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Posted Date

April 29, 2020