Confronting Middle East prejudice

Four students from the School of Sociology and Social Policy spent a month in Jordan last summer teaching English to children and adults in community centres and refugee camps.

Ana Lessa, Alex Farrington, Rebecca Fowler and Naoko Takeda took part in the ‘Global Village’ initiative launched by the University of Nottingham’s International Office, intended to broaden students’ horizons with experiences abroad.

Despite being somewhat thrown in at the deep end on the teaching front, all agree the trip has been a positive step towards facilitating better relations between East and West, not least because they saw firsthand how debilitating Western perspectives of Islamic culture can be. Alex acknowledged how the citizens of Jordan were keen to distance themselves from blame in the aftermath of the London bombings, which has informed his final year studies of Islamaphobia.

Participation in a United Nations youth leadership conference that brought together students from 28 countries around the world has also been instrumental in expelling prejudices. A student told Rebecca, ‘I thought the British were a really cold race and you’ve really changed my opinion.’ Dr Christine Humphrey, director of the University’s International Office, told the SU: “this is such a positive example of what can happen when students get that chance and we are delighted with the outcome.”

Georgina Ripley


Leave a Reply