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Education Abroad Profile - Devany Howard

Devany Howard in London, EnglandEducation Abroad Profile - Devany Howard
Program: FIE: Conflcit and the Struggle for Peace
Location: London, England and Amman, Jordan
Scholarship: Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship
Rank: Junior
Major: International Studies; Spanish

"I chose the FIE: London-Amman Peace, Conflict Resolution, and the Arabic Language program because it dealt with issues and concepts related to peace and conflict, which are relevant and pertinent to my studies. Currently I am majoring in International Studies with a specialty in Relations and Diplomacy. Eventually I intend to work internationally either through the government or hopefully for the United Nations. By studying abroad, I was able to experience and research the diplomatic processes taken towards peace as well as learn about and study specific conflicts (Northern Ireland and the Israeli-Palestinian) in more depth.

This summer I studied the Northern Ireland conflict in London. During a three-day tour of Ireland and Northern Ireland, I had the opportunity to listen to people talk about their experience of the conflict. Then I lived in Jordan for about two months studying peace and conflict resolution as well as the Arabic language. My academic studies where enhanced through my assimilation into Arab culture by living with a Jordanian family. I ate what they ate, went where they did and most importantly I communicated with them using what little Arabic I knew. Overall, this study abroad taught me the impact of a conflict on an entire population and its persistence in the minds of people who had experienced it first hand. This experience has influenced me to explore more options of studying in the Middle East again - either learning Arabic or researching current conflicts in order to formulate a permanent solution.

Devany Howard in Amman, JordanMy favorite transformational moment was during a ride with my host brother’s friend. This was about a month into my stay in Jordan. We were in the car talking and the conversation had somehow gotten into the issue of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Both my host brother and his friend were Palestinian and were deeply affected by the situation. I just remember his friend explaining how he just didn’t understand why all of these people, some being his relatives, had to die and that he doesn’t hate the people but he does not condone the violence by the state. This was just so important for me to empathize with someone directly affected by the conflict in order to better understand the conflict holistically. It also gave me some insight into the long-term impact of a complex and enduring conflict.

The Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship helped me financially to afford this study abroad program. The program was almost the entire summer and crossed multiple borders. I began my studies in London, England then I traveled to Dublin, Ireland and then to Derry and Belfast, Northern Ireland. Then in Jordan, although I lived in Amman, as part of the experience we visited Madaba, Petra and Wadi Rum as well as Jerash. All of these locations meant that the program was quite expensive, but I was able to cover over half of the costs with the help from the Gilman Scholarship as well as other funding that I was fortunate enough to receive. Additionally, because the Gilman is a State Department funded scholarship, the American Embassy informed me of opportunities throughout the city, including a program through which I could practice my Arabic with locals."