Audrey Kost, Arabic

Audrey Kost, an alumna of the 2017 NSLI-Y Arabic program in Marrakech, Morocco, is studying History and Economies & Societies at Columbia University and Sciences Po. Audrey is currently a CASA fellow at at the Qasid Institute, thanks to the Boren Scholarship.

Audrey became interested in Arabic and the MENA region when taking classes about Middle Eastern politics in high school. After studying Spanish and Latin, Audrey knew she enjoyed language learning and was excited about the prospect of trying a new language. Once in Morocco with NSLI-Y, she took a strong interest in the culture and realized she wanted to pursue a career using Arabic.

Following her NSLI-Y program, Audrey completed two virtual internships with the Department of State. First, she completed a Virtual Student Federal Service (VSFS) internship with the US Embassy in Tunisia. Here she primarily worked on designing and running events for the Tunisian public to promote democracy, entrepreneurship, and American culture. Additionally, while participating virtually in the Critical Language Scholarship (CLS), Audrey participated in an internship with the Foreign Service Institute, organizing materials and collaborating on a new curriculum for the Arabic Language Department. Both experiences allowed her to improve her Arabic skills, while also learning how she could use the language professionally.

Audrey and friends at a closing ceremony.

After living in Morocco, Audrey noticed improvements in her confidence and independence in navigating unfamiliar situations and felt resilient when facing obstacles and change. This gave Audrey the confidence to pursue a university degree in France and return to the MENA region as a CLS recipient in Jordan. Audrey spent this past summer working with Relief and Reconciliation, a non-profit in the north of Lebanon, where she received a Kathryn Davis Projects for Peace grant. While in Lebanon she organized a summer camp focused on reconciliation for Lebanese and Syrian children. During the summer camp, Audrey used her Arabic skills to serve as a camp counselor.

Following her participation in this program, Audrey traveled to Amman, Jordan, where she is a CASA fellow at the Qasid Institute, thanks to the Boren Scholarship. She notes “I’m currently taking part in advanced, intensive Arabic classes to reach near-native fluency. In the long term, I hope to use Arabic as I pursue a career in international law.”

Audrey advocates for language learners at all levels to find meaningful ways to use their language skills. She notes that “Learning languages is a difficult, marathon task and it has been important to me to find ways to use the language to make a positive impact on the world, however small. Don’t wait for perfection in your language before putting yourself in environments where you can do something meaningful with the skills you have.”