Bethany Burtch

Liberal Arts Honors/Middle Eastern Studies

I cannot believe that I only have one year left on this beautiful campus and with my wonderful Dedman community! It’s definitely safe to say that college has gone by far too quickly. As I look back on all that I’ve done and experienced and look forward to life in the real adult world, I am overwhelmed with gratitude to the Dedman family for their incredible generosity. They have completely changed my life by giving me the freedom to focus on my interests and to explore any opportunity I wanted without worry; I will never be able to thank them enough.

I returned to campus in August after a summer full of travel (Czech Republic, Serbia, Lebanon, and Peru) with only two days to move in to my apartment and get ready for classes. I hit the ground running taking 18 hours and I have to say, it wasn’t quite as bad as I thought it would be! It definitely helps that I took so many hours because I wanted to take the classes, not because I needed the credit. I continued with Arabic and Persian, learned African American history which I should have been taught in high school, challenged myself with an honors writing class, and completed over 100 hours to become certified in conflict mediation. In the Spring I continued in my study of Middle Eastern Languages but also had the opportunity to learn about cross-cultural management and our country National Defense (my professor claims that I now know more about the D.o.D and Defense Policy than most people running for president!). As an Undergraduate Fellow with the Clements Center for National Security I was able to meet incredibly interesting policy makers and civil servants. I also was able to work as a TA for a second-year Arabic class–I loved holding office hours and seeing the moment when a concept that students were struggling with finally clicked.

I’m now (June 2019) writing from my apartment in Algeria! I am SO excited to intern in the Consular Section at the U.S. Embassy in Algiers. Even though Algiers was the city in which I lived the longest, I haven’t been back in nearly ten years. It’s the last place that felt like home, and although I know it won’t be the same, I am so happy to be back. I’ve only been here for a few days, but I’m eager to learn about the inner workings of an embassy, the real life implications of foreign policy (and specifically immigration and visa processes), and generally how it feels to work forty-hour weeks!