Meet Hamil Vashi

Program and Location:

Summer, Jordan: Qasid Arabic Institute; Amman, Jordan

Major/Minor:

Major: Chemistry; Minor: Aerospace Studies and Middle East Studies

Why did you choose to study abroad?

Throughout my childhood, I traveled to India learning Hindi from interactions with family and the culture. As I began studying Arabic, I believed learning in an Arabic speaking country would help me reinforce what I learned. Additionally, I can understand the culture to create solid connections with knowledge from the Arabic class.

What did you learn about yourself?

From the experience, I learned to be comfortable with the uncomfortable. I learned to survive on my own in a new environment forcing me to learn Arabic efficiently while understanding the culture.

What was one of your favorite parts of your program?

On the excursion to Wadi Rum, I remember sitting in the soft sand starting directly up to the band of the Milky Way Galaxy and experiencing true peace.

What advice do you have for future study abroad students?

Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone because those could have a huge impact on your lives. It could be as simple as taking the bus to class rather than a Uber or talking to taxi drivers in Arabic and learning more about the culture.

How did your study abroad experience prepare you for your future career?

I aspire to be an Officer in the Air Force and Arabic would give me the opportunity to work in the Middle East as an attache for the Department of Defense.

Were you surprised by anything during your time abroad?

I was surprised by schedule Jordanians operated by because that busiest time in Amman was very late at night so that connected with my night-owl nature.

How were your classes abroad different than if you would have taken them at NC State? Did you take any field trips or do anything outside of the traditional classroom?

Since it was a summer session, the course taught was very quickly but the professors were very accommodating. The teaching style in Jordan was very similar to the teaching style at NC State. However, since we were in the country, we took multiple excursions around the country that introduced me to new foods, people, and lifestyles.

In what ways did your identity have an impact on your experience abroad?

Because I am in AFROTC, I was able to receive a scholarship from Project GO, a Department of Defense-sponsored program. This gave me the opportunity to have this study abroad experience.

Is there any advice you would give to other students who share your identity?

I would say to treat it as if you were a normal student. Living in a generation overloaded with information from the media, we can be influenced by certain biases. After living in another country for 2 months, I learned more about the culture than I learned through books and the media.

Where did you find support to navigate any challenges you faced abroad?

The Project GO liaison at NC State helped prepare me for the experience.

Would you do it again?

Absolutely. I will be going next summer.