UC Riverside Student Receives William Jefferson Clinton Scholarship to Study Abroad in Dubai

Anthropology and Middle Eastern/Islamic Studies major awarded full ride to spend semester abroad at the American University in Dubai

Martina Chase-Rios

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu) – Martina Chase-Rios, a fourth-year double major in anthropology and Middle Eastern and Islamic studies at the University of California, Riverside, has been awarded the William Jefferson Clinton Scholarship. The scholarship will allow Chase-Rios to study abroad at the American University in Dubai, and will cover the cost of tuition and housing.

“I couldn’t be more thankful and excited about this opportunity,” explained Chase-Rios. “I’ve been intrigued by Dubai and its modernization and diversity since I learned of my passion toward the Arabic language and the Middle East as a whole. Having been given the opportunity to live and study there is more than I could have imagined.”

Chase-Rios started off as an anthropology major when she first came to UC Riverside. She was also an athlete, running cross country and track. First introduced to Arabic as a sophomore, she soon realized a new love and passion. “I was immediately fascinated by the language, but the demands of an athlete made it very difficult for me to pursue and grasp the language as deeply as I’d like,” she said.

Throughout the academic year, Chase-Rios managed it all – track meets, weight training, assignments, exams – but she wasn’t able to devote the time she wanted to Arabic. That summer, Ayman Ramadan, professor of comparative literature and foreign languages at UCR, recommended Chase-Rios for an intensive language program for beginner Arabic learners. As her passion grew, Chase-Rios realized she had to make a difficult decision.  After weeks of deliberating, she concluded that taking on a second major would be more fulfilling for her, and walked away from running.

“I still enjoyed running very much, but the same sport that I loved was preventing me from furthering my knowledge of the Arabic language and culture,” said Chase-Rios. “So, as a junior, I gave up one passion for another – and that’s when I took on Middle Eastern and Islamic studies as a second major.”

As she took on the new major, Chase-Rios started looking into studying abroad. That’s when she came across the William Jefferson Clinton Scholarship at the American University in Dubai. The scholarship aims to continue the goals of the Clinton Presidential Foundation, which is to increase the number of people in the United States who are trained to tackle the challenges of global relations. The program allows American students the opportunity to broaden their educational and cultural experience by studying in the Arab world.

Chase-Rios applied for the scholarship twice as a junior, and was denied both times because her GPA was not strong enough. After working hard to bring her grades up, she applied a third time, and was successful.

“This will be my first time leaving the U.S. It’s such an honor to be able to go to Dubai and be immersed in a new language and culture,” she explained. “I think it’s important to spend time abroad and learn about different cultures than our own. I suggest every student that can do it, should. We’d all be a lot more accepting of others if that were the case.”

Chase-Rios will leave for Dubai on Aug. 30. She will return to the U.S. on Dec. 20.

Media Contact

Tel: (951) 827-5893
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Additional Contacts

Martina Chase-Rios
E-mail: mchas001@ucr.edu

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