Critical Language Scholarship Program | Madeleine Rodish
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Madeleine Rodish

Madeleine Rodish is an alum­na of the 2019 CLS Ara­bic pro­gram in Tang­i­er, Moroc­co. She’s cur­rent­ly a senior at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Ari­zona, major­ing in Glob­al Stud­ies, Ara­bic, and Mid­dle East­ern and North African Stud­ies. After grad­u­a­tion, Madeleine hopes to con­tin­ue her Ara­bic stud­ies abroad and work toward a career in the for­eign ser­vice or inter­na­tion­al human rights law, using her Ara­bic skills to build con­nec­tions between world regions.

Inspired to Explore

I pri­mar­i­ly grew up in Phoenix, Ari­zona. I love my home­town as Ari­zona has a unique blend of dif­fer­ent cul­tures. I pri­mar­i­ly attribute my pas­sion for learn­ing about dif­fer­ent lan­guages, cul­tures, and trav­el­ing around the world to my mom. She raised my broth­er and me in an inter­na­tion­al­ly-aware home, always cook­ing us meals from all over the world and teach­ing us about dif­fer­ent cul­tures. My mom’s love for cook­ing has def­i­nite­ly been passed onto me as every time I trav­el to a new coun­try, I love to expe­ri­ence the cul­ture through the food and cooking.

Learn­ing through Cooking

The expe­ri­ence dur­ing the CLS pro­gram that had the great­est impact on me is a cul­mi­na­tion of all the mem­o­ries I have in my host aunt’s kitchen try­ing to learn how to cook famous dish­es such as tagine and cous­cous. I loved fur­ther­ing my skills in Ara­bic by learn­ing new words for all the ingre­di­ents we used. I also had the amaz­ing oppor­tu­ni­ty to help my host aunt out in the kitchen dur­ing Eid al Adha. I espe­cial­ly cher­ish this moment as it led me to build such a strong con­nec­tion with my host fam­i­ly and helped me to appre­ci­ate Moroc­can cul­ture in a new way.

Why Ara­bic?

I have always been inter­est­ed in lan­guages and cul­tures that were dif­fer­ent from any­thing I had ever known about or been exposed to, and was par­tic­u­lar­ly drawn to the regions of Asia, Africa, and the Mid­dle East. I decid­ed to study Ara­bic based on the fact that it touched each of these areas of the world. Upon begin­ning my study of Ara­bic, I imme­di­ate­ly fell in love with the lan­guage. Every­thing from lis­ten­ing, speak­ing, read­ing, and writ­ing the lan­guage drew me in and I knew then that I would con­tin­ue study­ing Ara­bic for a long time.

I would rec­om­mend any­one study Ara­bic, as knowl­edge of the lan­guage is a great asset. The Mid­dle East is a region that is not always regard­ed in the best light; peo­ple see media which only high­lights the worst of the area and are most­ly exposed to neg­a­tive stereo­types about the world’s nicest peo­ple. One of the best and most beau­ti­ful parts of learn­ing a lan­guage is that it can tru­ly help one learn about a dif­fer­ent cul­ture, reli­gion, and way of life from a per­spec­tive that is authen­tic. This helps negate harm­ful stereo­types and build more peace­ful relationships. 

Ara­bic is such a reward­ing lan­guage to learn because of the lev­el of dif­fi­cul­ty. With any lan­guage there are high and low points of lan­guage devel­op­ment and at times Ara­bic can be dif­fi­cult, but work­ing through those points and advanc­ing to new lev­els in the lan­guage makes all that hard work rewarding.

Shar­ing a Love of Exploration

I love trav­el­ing to new places, espe­cial­ly places that are off the beat­en path. I have spent exten­sive time in India, Jor­dan, and Moroc­co. With­out fail, every time I get ready to leave for my next adven­ture, I am always bom­bard­ed with com­ments allud­ing to the dan­ger in the coun­tries I choose to vis­it. One thing that has made hear­ing these false assump­tions bear­able is that I know when I come home, I can share my expe­ri­ence and help negate harm­ful stereo­types. My expe­ri­ence study­ing with CLS was been no excep­tion. I had the incred­i­ble oppor­tu­ni­ty to live in Moroc­co, fur­ther my skills in Ara­bic, and devel­op a deep­er under­stand­ing of Islam, and Moroc­can and Mid­dle East­ern cul­ture, which I have since been able to share with others.


Alumni Profiles

Madeleine Rodish
Madeleine Rodish
Arabic 2019
Tangier, Morocco

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Posted Date

April 29, 2020