We met with Violet Tinnion, from the UK. Violet is a PG Arabic alumni studying for MSc International Relations of the Middle East with Arabic at the University of Edinburgh. In an interview with Violet, we asked her the following questions:

Tell us about yourself

My name is Violet and I’m originally from Bradford in the North of England. I obtained my undergraduate degree in Philosophy in summer 2019 from the University of Edinburgh. I then decided to stay on at the university in order to undertake an MSc in International Relations of the Middle East with Arabic.

What made you decide to study the Arabic language and culture?  What & who inspired you?  What were your motivations?

In all honesty, I did not know a great deal about the Middle East before beginning my undergraduate degree. In my first year, I ended up in a flat of 12 people; all of whom were from different regions in the world. This opened my eyes to a whole range of cultures and religions that I did not know much about before.

I travelled to Egypt with my Egyptian flatmate and visited Cairo, Aswan, Luxor and Dahab. I was fascinated by the juxtaposition between these cities; the chaos and noise of Cairo, the relaxing atmosphere of Dahab, the beauty of Aswan and the rich history of Luxor. I loved how much there was to experience in Egypt, the hospitality of the people and of course, the food (koshari being a particular favourite). My experience in Egypt really made me fall in love with Arab culture. As soon as I left, I instantly wanted to go back and would love to travel more extensively around the Middle East.

I became particularly interested in the politics of the Middle East when I interned with the British Refugee Council, I worked with their largely Syrian client base and spoke to them about why they were forced from their homes. This fostered in me a deep interest in the way the government, citizens and international actors interact to shape the political dynamics of this complex region. However, I recognised that my inability to speak Arabic really limited the help that I could offer them and so I am hoping that studying International Relations of the Middle East with Arabic will really help me to contribute to this essential area of work in the future.

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