“NaTakallam is like a free bird that transcends all borders and carries us to places we dream of, a window for refugees to the outside world… and a salary. I worked with the program at a time when I could not find a job that would help pay for the medication for my wife who has cancer.  Despite the difficult conditions, NaTakallam gives us an income and enables us to discover different cultures and traditions through the many students we connect with [over skype].” –Shadi, Syrian refugee and conversation partner in Erbil

Marilyn at Lehigh

I really enjoyed being able to hear about all of the work that NaTakallam has done. The webinars were especially helpful since I got a better idea of how NaTakallam was doing as well as how the other ambassadors were doing. I was glad to know I was not alone in my struggle to get departments interested. The community is also small but I hope to find a stronger connection to someone in town that would be interested in educating more people about Arabic. There were some ideas that I did not even consider until something sparked an idea during the webinars so incredibly useful.” 

Marliyn Nguyen, Lehigh University

Leah at Duke

“I love hearing from the other students what they’re doing at their schools; it gives me ideas of what to do at mine as well as stay motivated!”

Leah Rothfeld, Duke University

Aliya at Bard College

Aliya at Bard College: “The webinars help me see where everyone else is at and also for ideas especially when I talk to the Arabic department and how to go about doing it.” 

Aliya Beyhum, Bard College

Agnese at Sciences Po

“Concerning webinars, I found it really helpful because I get motivated by seeing what other people are doing and talking with the CPs was very helpful and interesting.”

Agnese Lerda, Sciences Po

James at University of Oklahoma

“I have to say I’ve really appreciated the webinars. Every time I do one, I have a refreshed notion of what I want to do with NaTakallam and refocuses me to a certain extent. It keeps the wheels going!” “I think the webinar format is solid and is a good meeting schedule – not too often but not too far apart either. Just the fact that we see each other talk is good for group morale and the ideas other people work on can be a motivating factor and so I think they serve a function within the organization.” 

James Ratcliff, University of Oklahoma

Zenzi at University of Exeter

“I think it’s really good to hear what other Ambassadors are doing and when we’ve had different people talking about the different aspects and the different ways in which NaTakallam is being used for different settings, it’s really useful.”

Zenzi Hobongwana, University of Exeter

Dan Chong

“I think these conversations were great for my students.  They all wrote reflection papers about their interactions, and many of them said it was the first time they had ever spoken with a refugee.  We had a discussion about it in class, and it was helpful to see the range of experiences that came out of Syria — the diversity in terms of professional background, current location, travel routes, etc. I’ll definitely tell others on campus about my positive experience, and hope that other courses will use your service.”

 

Roxana Cazan

“I would love to use NaTakallam in the future. I am so grateful for the work you do. My students have been profoundly changed by this experience.”

Dr. Diya Abdo

“NaTakallam has allowed me to add a depth to my courses in ways impossible otherwise. When students are learning about global crises, it can be difficult to humanize the issues in ways that are both ethical and productive. My students’ conversations with displaced individuals have shown them just how diverse, individualized and complex experiences of displacement can be. The fact that this educational program is also a much needed employment opportunity for the CPs complicates, in important and necessary ways, how our students think about others’ labor in participating in their education.”