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Middle Eastern Studies Students Attend International Model Arab League Competition in Cairo, Egypt

Saman Essa (front row second from left),
Nour Haikal (front row fourth from left),
and Hina Uddin (front row fifth from left)

Middle Eastern Studies congratulates students Saman Essa, Hina Uddin, and Nour Haikal who attended the ten day International Model Arab League competition held in Cairo, Egypt, this past November, where they represented the University of Houston. Their participation in the international competition was a culmination of the several months they spent prior researching, crafting, and preparing to present legislation proposals on issues of political, economic, and cultural importance affecting the contemporary Arab world.

Ms. Uddin riding a camel

Photos provided by MESP students: Saman Essa, Hina Uddin, and Nour Haikal.

UH Arabic student Hina Uddin completes intensive summer Arabic study in Morocco.

For more information about how you too can participate, see our Learning Abroad page!

Summer Arabic Study at the Arab-American Language Institute, Morocco Hina Uddin - summer 2017


Before studying abroad I thought Arabic was an impossible language to learn. Immersion learning allowed me to gain language skills that I would have never believed possible. The Arab-American Language Institute in Morocco gave me insight on language and culture and changed my entire perspective on my undergraduate education in just a summer. As a finance student with 2 minors, I did not have time in my schedule to fit language classes. However, after studying abroad, I realized my passion for the Arabic lang uage and am now enrolled to continue my Arabic studies at UH in the Fall. Studying abroad truly shaped my undergraduate experience.

Ms. Uddin riding a camel
Ms. Uddin in front of Moroccan door

UH Arabic student Jeremy Brandt completes intensive summer Arabic study abroad at Sijal Institute in Amman, Jordan.

For more information about how you too can participate, see our Learning Abroad page!

Summer Arabic Study at Sijal Institute in Jordan
Jeremy Brandt - summer 2017

Jeremy Brandt

For Arabic students looking to immerse themselves in the Arab culture and the Shaami colloquial Arabic dialect, Sijal Institute is ideal. This school is small and laid back, so that I never felt like a stranger. The teachers are very qualified and passionate about student success. Unlike some similar schools, Sijal focuses on teaching the local dialect, so that I was not left in the dark while exploring Amman (even with only Beginner Arabic under my belt).

Amman, Jordan is a fantastic place to study Arabic. It is not extremely Westernized, which makes for an enlightening cultural encounter. Neither I nor any of my fellow students felt threatened while there. Sijal is situated on Rainbow Street, one of the liveliest areas in Amman.

With such an excellent learning environment and the addition of exciting excursions, my summer in Jordan was a blast and I am glad I took advantage of this opportunity. I am returning to Texas with a more nuanced understanding of Arab culture and greatly enhanced language skills.

Jeremy Brand dessert landscape

Middle Eastern Studies and Honors College Host
Sketches of the Syrian Diaspora, a Night of Music and Storytelling

On Wednesday, March 22 UH Middle Eastern Studies teamed up with the Honors College to host Sketches of the Syrian Diaspora. The event was an evening celebrating the culture of the Syrian refugee community in Houston, as well as raising awareness about the unique challenges refugees face. The Honors Commons, where the event was held, was bursting at the seams with students, faculty, and members of the community who came out to enjoy traditional Arabic music performances by Mohammed Sheik Horo, a local Syrian refugee musician who plays the Buzuq, and Michael Fares, Instructional Assistant Professor of Arabic who also plays the Oud. Among other presentations, the event also featured a reading by Dr. Kim Meyer of the Honors College, from her publication in Texas Monthly on the Syrian refugee community in Houston entitled Welcoming the Stranger, as well as poetry readings by three UH students who come from the families of refugees. Students also enjoyed traditional Arabic desserts and tea prepared especially for the event by Syrian refugee families across Houston.