Sarah Washington ’17 began studying Arabic as a high school freshman after an organization began offering after-school classes at her school, Washington Latin Public Charter School. “I started studying a year before Arab spring,” she recalled. “It was a really exciting time to learn.”
She has not stopped since. To support her continued study of the language at college, she has received a $10,000 academic scholarship from the Qatar Foundation International. The organization has provided her with this grant each year since she was a first year at Bowdoin.
Qatar Foundation International aims to increase the study of Arabic and break down cultural boundaries, according to a spokesman, and it offers annual scholarships to American students who are pursuing fluency in the language.
Washington said she was initially inspired to study Arabic because she wanted to learn about a different part of the world. Since she began her studies, she has traveled to Qatar and Morocco, and taken upper-level classes and done independent studies in Arabic at Bowdoin. She is studying abroad this fall at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies to focus on Middle Eastern studies.
A government and Africana studies double major, Washington said she is interested in pursuing a career in law, focusing perhaps on international or human rights.