Kimberly Beechan

International Experience Country:
Cohort Year:
Home Institution:

Duquesne University

Heinz Programming Area:
Arts and Culture
International Experience Summary:

Kimberly Beechan immersed herself in an intensive Arabic language program for seven weeks in Amman, Jordan. Roughly, she was in class for five hours a day, five days a week with two to three hours of studying per day on top of class. For the most part, Kimberly’s experience in Amman was learning to take part of in the daily routine of a typical Jordanian and utilizing her knowledge of the Arabic language to the best of her ability. Her main focus for her study abroad experience was communication. Meeting new people, from waiters to taxi drivers to other University of Jordan students was the most crucial aspect of the experience. Not only did it aid in putting her studies to use, but it also taught her an immense amount about Jordanian culture, politics, and family life that she could have never learned simply by reading a book or going on the internet. Kimberly was also able to experience the holy month of Ramadan firsthand. She learned that Ramadan was very challenging for an outsider and a complete change in her way of life. In her free time, Kimberly was able to volunteer at Mabarrat Um Al-Hussein orphanage. She worked with her peers to lead the children in a series of fun indoor games that taught leadership and teamwork skills. As well, Kimberly was able to visit destinations throughout Jordan such as Wadi Rum desert, Petra, and the Dead Sea. She was allowed access into a controlled military zone with her peers to learn about the water crisis in the Middle East, which is a very contested subject involving Jordan, Israel, and Syria. Kimberly’s Jordanian experience is something she will carry with her for the rest of her life. Her long-term goals now include moving to Jordan and teaching at the University of Jordan after she graduates.

Community Engagement Experience Summary:

CEE Title: Sex in Media: A Social Experiment

Sex in Media: A Social Experiment was an event held on the Duquesne University Campus aimed at promoting awareness of the sexual exploitation of women through television, movies, and print journalism. Its main feature was a screening of the acclaimed documentary "Miss Representation". After the screening, a roundtable discussion was held about many of the central themes behind the film. This discussion was comprised of students from many different ethnic, gender, and economic backgrounds. Having an audience of this sort gave a variety of different answers and perspectives on the issues in which Miss Representation addressed. The general consensus among the students who attended was that the exploitation and shaming of women that occurs in our modern media is something that needed to be stopped. As well, it was agreed that open dialogue about women's issues such as the one provided by our CEE was the type of remedy needed in order to combat the growing rape culture on Duquesne University's campus. This CEE gave the Vira I. Heinz cohort members from Duquesne a chance to tackle this issue head-on by talking first hand with many students and faculty on campus. It is the hope of our cohort members that events like our CEE will inspire the young women of Duquesne University to let their voices be heard in respect to the challenges faced by strong, hard working women in media and all over the world.