Alexa Brightman

International Experience Country:
Cohort Year:
Home Institution:

Duquesne University

Heinz Programming Area:
Arts and Culture
Study Abroad Country: Jordan Cohort Year: 2018 Home Institution: Duquesne University Programming Area: Arts and Culture
International Experience Summary:

As a recipient of the Vira I. Heinz Women in Global Leadership award, Alexa Brightman spent 9 weeks in Jordan studying Arabic language, as well as attending cultural awareness discussions and having talks with native Jordanian students. While in Jordan, Alexa learned the importance of Jordan’s natural history in reference to the country’s economy, as well as some of the political history. She also utilized her Heinz Programming Area of Arts and Culture to better understand the difference in the mindset of older generations and the new generations. By visiting galleries, art shows, dance sessions, discussions, and even vacation spots, Alexa experienced the emergence of a human rights-based mindset of younger Jordanians of Muslim and Christian backgrounds. Alexa’s first 2 weeks in Jordan were during the Eid Fitr holiday, so she was able to witness the coexistence of Muslims and Christians displaying kindness and good deeds to each other in this happy time of year.  Alexa travelled on weekends to different historical sites in Jordan such as Petra, Wadi Rum, the Dead Sea, and Aqaba. This furthered Alexa’s understanding of Jordan’s rich history, which therefore laid the foundations of how proud Jordanians are of their culture. In the future, Alexa plans to return to Jordan to further examine the emergence of the human rights-based mindset and further study women’s rights and the LGBTQ+ community. She intends to be an informal Teaching Assistant to hopefully breed passion and skill for the Arabic language in new and returning students of the language.  Alexa also misses her host family dearly and promised them she would come back as soon as possible. 

Community Engagement Experience Summary:

CEE Title: Not My Place and Not My Problem: A Discussion of Ethics Abroad

Our CEE, titled “Not My Place and Not My Problem: A Discussion of Ethics Abroad,” was an open-discussion of our experiences abroad. Each of us showcased 2 topics that we felt needed addressing at home and abroad. As our peers and colleagues entered our venue, they were encouraged to help themselves to refreshments and take a look at the table where we placed our interactive items Italy, Czech, and Jordan. After about 20 minutes, we asked everyone to be seated so Kelly could open the discussion. Hannah kicked off the CEE with her topics. After each topic, the audience was encouraged to ask questions or share an experience that resonated with them in that context. I spoke after Hannah, speaking on issues of human trafficking and mental health situations at home and abroad also followed by discussion (I have not included the topics of my teammates as to not take away from their reports). Kelly concluded the topic-based discussion and we moved onto providing resources, such as phone numbers, that could potentially help someone at home based around everything we had just discussed. We ended the event by reiterating that the event was meant to encourage everyone developing a global perspective of their own and thanking everyone for the presence and participation. We followed the event with answering personal questions and encouraging study abroad.