The College has established two new study abroad programs in the Middle East, one in Beer Sheva, Israel and another in Amman, Jordan.
The program in Israel was created in cooperation with Brandeis University in Massachusetts. Starting in Spring 2012, intermediate and advanced Hebrew language students can attend the new program, which is affiliated with Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Students will speak exclusively Hebrew and live in residence halls alongside Israeli students.
"Middlebury has a robust and comprehensive Middle East studies program, and adding a site in Israel is a natural next step," said Dean of International Programs Jeff Cason in a March 1 press release. "Since Middlebury offers both Arabic and Hebrew, it makes sense to have immersive study abroad programs in both languages."
In addition to the College's program in Alexandria, Egypt, intermediate and advanced Arabic students can now enroll in the new offering in Amman, Jordan. This program, affiliated with the University of Jordan, will begin offering classes in Fall 2011. As with the Israel-based program, students will adhere to the Middlebury College Language Pledge, speaking only the language that they are studying.
"These programs are fantastic," said Assistant Professor of Arabic and Acting Director of the new Arabic major Samuel Liebhaber. "Having had students return from the Alexandria program, I can say that the level of Arabic that they achieve while there is remarkable. It becomes such that language is no longer an obstacle in class, so we can begin to explore other aspects of the culture."
Chloe Dautch '13 cited the International Studies program as a major factor in her matriculation at the College. Now studying Arabic as an International Politics and Economics major, she plans to study abroad at the Alexandria, Egypt program.
"There's so much going on in the Middle East," said Dautch. "The region is in the news all the time these days, and it will be fascinating to go over next semester and be in an area so transformed by these recent revolutions."
Dautch and Liebhaber agree that these programs were a logical next step for Middlebury's study abroad program.
"One of the biggest issues today is the lack of understanding between the Middle East and the West," said Dautch. "By having students go over there and learn the language and culture, Middlebury is helping solve this problem."
With the addition of these two programs, the College now operates study abroad programs in 36 cities in 15 countries.