Wednesday, November 2, 2022
student in blue shirt

Ankeny, Iowa, native Adelaide Brooks has been awarded a 2022 David L. Boren Fellowship to study Arabic in Jordan. The international relations and French double major, minoring in Arabic, is currently studying in Jordan under the SIT Jordan Geopolitics, International Relations, and Future of the Middle East program. In addition to covering her current program, the Boren Fellowship will fund her enrollment at the Qasid Arabic Institute throughout the spring 2023 semester.

The Boren Fellowships, an initiative of the National Security Education Program, provide unique funding opportunities for U.S. graduate and undergraduate students to study less commonly taught languages in world regions critical to U.S. interests, and underrepresented in study abroad, including Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East. 


Below is a Q&A with Adelaide Brooks:

Were there experiences at the UI that inspired your decision to pursue a Boren?
At Iowa, I was exposed to many opportunities through my international relations and language courses. While I was very interested in my classes on campus, I had always been drawn to studying abroad at some point during my undergrad. In Arabic class, I learned about study abroad options with Arabic and other international fellowships like the Boren. I researched more about the Boren and discovered that it aligned with my passion for language learning and focused on international relations. After attending an information session with Karen Wachsmuth (associate director of international fellowships) and International Programs, that’s when I decided to apply.

What drew you to your language studies?
I have always loved traveling and learning languages growing up. During my childhood, I was inspired by my mother’s student exchange in Dietzhof, Germany, and her stories about going to art school and traveling. Both of my parents have always encouraged me to step out of the bubble in Iowa and learn about different cultures through experience. In 2019, I participated in a short language exchange in Saint Quentin, France. That experience, along with teachers and professors motivating me to pursue language studies, and in conjunction with my interest in politics, pushed me to learn languages used in the sphere of international relations. This is what sparked my interest in Arabic at Iowa; it is a critical language that differs from English and French.

How do you foresee this influencing your future career?
The Boren award opens many opportunities for me to explore after my undergraduate studies at Iowa. It allows me to build a strong foundation in my language skills and work experience for my future career in the federal service.

What excites you most about spending a year in your host country?
I am most eager to immerse myself in everyday Jordanian culture and set aside time to focus on Arabic. As part of one of my programs, I also look forward to exploring historical landmarks like Petra and the Dead Sea.

Do you have professors or mentors you'd like to thank?
I would like to give many thanks to Professor Yasmine Ramadan, Professor Brian Lai, Professor Asma ben Romdhane, Professor Sohair Abul-Haija, and Karen Wachsmuth. I am grateful to each of you for your guidance and assistance throughout the application process and your continued inspiration.


Students are encouraged to begin their funding searches and applications at least six months to one year in advance.  Schedule an advising appointment with Karen Wachsmuth to discuss your interest in an international fellowship or begin an application (as a UI undergraduate student, graduate student, or alumna/us).


International Programs (IP) at the University of Iowa (UI) is committed to enriching the global experience of UI students, faculty, staff, and the general public by leading efforts to promote internationally oriented teaching, research, creative work, and community engagement.  IP provides support for international students and scholars, administers scholarships and assistance for students who study, intern, or do research abroad, and provides funding opportunities and grant-writing assistance for faculty engaged in international research. IP shares their stories through various media, and by hosting multiple public engagement activities each year.