Constanza Biney is an alumnus of the Summer 2023 NSLI-Y Arabic program. Constanza knew she wanted to study abroad after listening to her sister’s stories about her own NSLI-Y experience.

After arriving in Amman, Jordan, Constanza was immediately welcomed by her host family. From sharing delicious meals to visiting her new cousins, Constanza became an integral part of the family. She even helped her host siblings to make brownies for the first time! She reflects fondly on her memories with her host family, reminiscing on the times they shared together. Constanza will always appreciate the close bond she formed with each of them.

One of Constanza’s favorite memories was the frequent soccer matches she played with the American Councils and Amideast Arabic cohorts on a neighboring school’s soccer field. She recounts how fun the matches were, whether she was participating or watching. For one of their last matches, Constanza recruited her host brothers and host cousin who really loved soccer.

While exploring Amman, Constanza saw the beauty in cultural dances like Dabke, the daily call to prayer, conversations in Arabic, and local customs. Adventuring into a different culture also inspired her to pursue her home language, Fante. She has always had a deep appreciation for her Ghanaian culture, so she was excited by the opportunity to learn more about Fante and its similarities to Arabic. Constanza notes that it was initially from this lack of knowledge of Fante where her love for learning languages originated. In some ways, the Jordanian culture she experienced felt familiar to her Ghanaian culture. She reflects on how, when she would order from local restaurants in Arabic, servers would ask her about her background. Upon explaining that she’s Ghanaian, they would talk more about their respective heritages. Constanza enjoyed utilizing language as a means of connection as she was able to swap meaningful stories with others. Through studying abroad, Constanza has fostered a deep admiration for the diversity of the world.

Constanza is thankful to her study abroad experience for supporting her career aspirations of being a travel doctor. The emphasis on language and the opportunity to be immersed in a different culture have motivated her to pursue her academic and personal goals of learning Arabic, French, and Fante. She believes that understanding different languages and cultures will be crucial in her work as a travel doctor since it builds trust. Being able to create connections without a translator demonstrates a certain level of focus and care for the local community. Constanza looks forward to traveling more and witnessing different cultures around the globe.

Constanza Petra