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Brieanna Griffin

Name Brieanna Griffin 

Graduation year May 2016 

Major(s) Anthropology and Global Studies 

Minor Arabic Studies 

Certificates Islamic Studies and TESOL 


What is your current job? 

I’m currently a Boren Scholar studying Swahili and living in Arusha, Tanzania. The Boren scholarship/fellowship provides American university students with the opportunity to study a less commonly taught/known foreign language outside of Europe, Australia and New Zealand. 

How does language and culture help you succeed in your job or career? 

My previous study of Arabic at Arizona State University well-prepared me to not only apply and receive the Boren scholarship, but also to live in Tanzania now. When you learn a language, you learn so much about yourself and your own culture. Language largely shapes our worldview and my study of Arabic has helped shape my worldview for the better as I now understand that we must learn about other cultures and languages in order to be active global citizens. I would not be where I am today without my diligent and continued study of languages and cultures which has given me the skills necessary to live in and learn in cultures and societies very different than my own. 

Did you study abroad? If so, can you explain your experiences?  

Yes, I did have the opportunity to study abroad twice while I was an undergraduate at ASU and now I am fortunately studying abroad for a third time. The first time I studied abroad I went to Meknes, Morocco (summer 2014) where I studied Advanced Arabic and Islamic Society and Politics for 10 weeks. I also taught English there at a local NGO that provided free English classes to students who otherwise could not afford English classes. The following summer, I had the opportunity to travel to Zanzibar, Tanzania with a NGO called America’s Unofficial Ambassadors (AUA). My time in Zanzibar was largely made possible by the Friends of the Center grant from the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict and by Barrett, the Honors College. My experiences living abroad outside of the Western context have helped me to grow as individual and realize my potential as a learner. My time in Morocco and Zanzibar ultimately made me the ideal candidate for the Boren scholarship which I am currently studying in Tanzania with now. 

How did the language program at SILC prepare you for your future?  

The Arabic language program at SILC gave me the necessary tools to navigate the fast-changing and increasingly interconnected world we live in today. I wish everyone was required to learn a language and acquire fluency in the United States. We would be a much better country and stronger nation if this were the case. 

 What was your favorite thing about learning a language?  

I love when I begin thinking in a language and stop translating everything I say from English to that language. This is happening with my Swahili now and it is very rewarding! 

I also love that knowing many languages allows one to get to know people you may otherwise not be able to. The world is a big place and knowing another language(s) opens many doors (as cliche as that sounds)!