Tressa Arbow is a recipient of the Summer 2018 and Academic Year 2018-2019 Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship. The award provides undergraduate, graduate, and professional school students with financial support to develop fluency in less commonly taught languages (LCTLs) and expertise in the regions in which these languages are spoken. Every year the Center for Global Studies awards between 12-15 fellowships to UW students. Click here to learn more.
As a Master’s student in the School of Marine & Environmental Affairs, I am studying equity and social justice in marine industries with the goal of expanding my work into the western Indian Ocean. I learned Kinyarwanda as a Peace Corps Rwanda Volunteer, and am studying Swahili to expand my communication skills to include coastal East Africa, in the hopes of studying how marine tourism affects small, local communities. With my FLAS fellowship, I was able to participate in a nine-week, full-time intensive Swahili language program here at the University of Washington, and I will continue my studies throughout the academic year. I began the program knowing only a few words that Kinyarwanda and Swahili share, but by the end of the summer I was able to submit papers and have functional conversations in Swahili. I know that by the end of my academic year FLAS I will feel confident in my ability to conduct both research and professional work in the region.