Nicholas Hilgeman wants to teach English, speak fluent Arabic and learn more about the culture and political processes of the Middle East.
Hilgeman (CWR '10), who earned the Bachelor of Arts degree in international studies and political science, plans to do all of this and more with his Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship Grant. He is scheduled to spend at least nine months working at Zagazig University, located about 50 miles from Cairo, Egypt.
“If I could have picked any country, it would have been Egypt. It’s the political center of the Middle East,” Hilgeman explained. “I hope to get more of a pulse of what’s going on in the region. And with elections coming up, it will be an interesting time to be there.”
He’s already familiar with certain parts of the area after spending a couple of summers in Morocco, where he focused on intensive Arabic studies. However, he knows that he still has much to learn.
“Every country has different customs, but I feel quite comfortable moving around the area. My previous experiences overseas have taught me how to handle myself in different situations.”
He anticipates working with students who already know English but need help fine-tuning their academic papers and conversational skills.
Hilgeman is not yet sure of his future career plans, but the U.S. Department of State is a possibility. “I want to be able to use my knowledge of the [Mideast] region and the language. Today’s relations with the Islamic and Arab worlds are so misunderstood. Understanding the government and the people would be helpful to any organization.”
Higleman is one of four newly-minted Case Western Reserve alumni to earn a Fulbright Award. They all began the application process as undergraduates.
Case Western Reserve University is committed to the free exchange of ideas, reasoned debate and intellectual dialogue. Speakers and scholars with a diversity of opinions and perspectives are invited to the campus to provide the community with important points of view, some of which may be deemed controversial. The views and opinions of those invited to speak on the campus do not necessarily reflect the views of the university administration or any other segment of the university community.