AREEG IBRAHIM, Professor of English and Comparative Literature, Helwan University, Cairo, Egypt
2005-2006 Egyptian Fulbright Scholar, Yale University, Connecticut, U.S.A
How I Ended Up at Yale
I taught a semester at Yale and it was thanks to Fulbright!!
Let me tell the story from the beginning…
When an ad in Al-Ahram newspaper led me to the Fulbright website, only to discover the teaching/research grant at Yale University, going there became a dream for me. As I wrote a lengthy project about the type of teaching I dreamed to undertake and the research I proposed to write, I was only daydreaming, but after being called for an interview at the Fulbright office, the dream started to materialize. Receiving an email to congratulate me on the grant was beyond my expectations, and suddenly the responsibility of going to Yale University and teaching there started making my shoulders heavy.
At Yale I was a Visiting Associate Professor at the Council on Middle East Studies (CMES), teaching an advanced course in Arabic Literature, Language and Culture. We read literary texts in Arabic, listened to Fairuz and watched parts from Mahfouz’s trilogy, as the course was an attempt to integrate the teaching of language within a cultural context.
In addition to the rewarding teaching experience, I had a good friendship and professional collaboration with Dr. Hala Nassar, who was at the time an Assistant Professor at the department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations. I still recall the spooky neo-Gothic buildings of the department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations (NELC) at Yale as I entered through the awesome gigantic doors. I remember the sensations of the long brisk evenings working with Hala Nassar on translating an article by Faisal Darraj to incorporate into the book entitled Mahmoud Darwish, Exile’s Poet. The cool breeze scattered the refreshing scent of the incense she had brought from Jerusalem as we recited Darwish’s poetry.