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Kyle WelchAn Interest in Languages Blossoms into a Passion for Arabic

Kyle Welch, a sophomore majoring in Arabic and French with a linguistics concentration, has long had an interest in language. But how did that interest become a passion for Arabic? To hear Kyle tell it, it started when his high-school French teacher suggested he explore other languages - not just French - in college. That way, he'd be more competitive when it came time to look for a job. Which got Kyle thinking, What languages give you a professional edge? Often, they're the ones that not everyone studies but are much in demand. So Kyle thought he'd try Arabic. And after taking a non-credit course at a local community college, he was hooked!

The next chapter in Kyle's story was his decision to attend Binghamton University. Why Binghamton? Because Kyle wanted to major in Arabic, and Binghamton is the only SUNY school with a major in the language. That plus Binghamton's reputation for excellence and affordability sealed the deal.

And it's been here at Binghamton that Kyle has had a chance to explore Arabic the way he wanted to. In the process, he's discovered another passion: linguistics. Explains Kyle, "I found academic research to be interesting, and that has become my focus" – he's strongly drawn toward the academic study of Arabic. But Kyle knows there's work to do: "I've always liked research. But at the moment, the most important thing for me is just learning the languages." Kyle says "languages" because Arabic isn't one but several closely related, yet still diverse, tongues and dialects. And the best way to become fluent in them is to go abroad. For Kyle, one program in particular stands out: "I'd love to do something like the Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant program," which sends graduate students to other countries to teach and to study. Indeed, the Fulbright FLTA program "seems one of the best ways to become familiar with the culture, to hone teaching skills, and to perfect the languages."

What do we learn from Kyle? That pursuing your passion can help you find your way to a personally and professionally satisfying career. And that being practical about planning for college and careers can help you discover your passions.

Last Updated: 8/2/16