Already in possession of English and Spanish, Denisse Rodriguez Mota ’16 was in search of a third language as she started her career at Hamilton College. She wanted a challenge and decided Arabic would give her that. In her first class, the instructor warned it would, indeed, be a challenge. It turns out she wasn’t kidding, but Rodriguez Mota prevailed. She picked Middle Eastern/Islamic world studies as her minor. “I’m glad I put the time and effort into learning it because I feel like I can have a conversation in Arabic, not just a basic conversation, but an in-depth conversation,” she says.
Through the College, Rodriguez Mota took part in Project SHINE, a program in which she tutored a man from Syria in English. At first she was nervous speaking Arabic with him and his children. “But once I started, I felt comfortable. And it was great using it, and I felt like I was achieving something and I was learning something,” she says.
Rodriguez Mota, who majors in psychology, is spending a semester in Denmark her junior year. She wants someday to study in the Middle East, possibly after she graduates from Hamilton.