Rebecca Zipay

International Experience Country:
Cohort Year:
Home Institution:

University of Pittsburgh | Bradford

Heinz Programming Area:
Children, Youth, and Families
International Experience Summary:

Rebecca Zipay spent four weeks of her summer immersing herself in the culture of Jordan, along with studying Arabic and Islamic studies at Amman Ahliyya University. Upon her arrival in Amman, Rebecca participated in the East-West Youth Forum that lasted five days. This event allowed her speak with political figures of Amman, visit historical sites around Jordan, as well as form friendships with the Jordanian youth. She attained proficiency in Arabic by practicing the language with her new Jordanian friends discussing topics such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, events of the Arab Spring, and religion. Although Rebecca was unable to live with a host family, she spent many nights visiting the families of her new found friends. Here Rebecca learned the expectations and house rules Jordanian parents have for their children. During her free time Rebecca participated in a community service experience at a local orphanage. While visiting the orphanage she helped paint the school walls, plant a garden, as well as brighten the children’s day by playing games. Rebecca also had the opportunity to visit a local refugee camp in East Amman where she learned of the living conditions of the refugees, as well as empowerment services offered for the youth of East Amman. Studying in Jordan has given Rebecca a better understanding of the Middle Eastern culture and of the current events that are happening throughout the region. Upon her return Rebecca has begun teaching the American children about the Jordanian culture through presentations at libraries. She plans on continuing teaching children about Jordan in order to help prevent future stereotypes and discrimination.

Community Engagement Experience Summary:

CEE Title: Crash Into Diversity

For her CEE, Crash Into Diversity was the CEE of three VIH awardees at UPB. The team created a two hour program for fifth grade students to increase their acceptance of diversity. Through different skits, they role played situations. The students also played diversity bingo, had group discussions on aspects of diversity, and met different UPB university students from foreign countries, thus increasing their appreciation for different languages and cultures.