University of Alabama at Birmingham junior Yoonhee Ryder is studying Arabic culture this semester at the American University in Dubai through a prestigious William Jefferson Clinton Scholarship granted by the Clinton Presidential Foundation.
“I feel extremely honored that AUD is allowing me the opportunity to experience and live in the Middle East and study at their university,” said the 20-year-old Huntsville native.
Ryder, a student in the University Honors Program, is a double major in biology and anthropology with minors in Middle Eastern studies and chemistry. She is one of as many as 10 U.S. students chosen by the Clinton Presidential Foundation to expand educational and cultural horizons by studying in the Arab world. Preference is given to students who show an interest in being exposed for the first time to Middle Eastern or Islamic culture.
“I am thankful to UAB for creating an environment where they encourage students to reach past what they think is possible, as well as the University Honors Program for providing an interdisciplinary approach that I have fully taken advantage of,” Ryder said.
This summer, she spent time in Fiji as part of a group of mostly UAB students who conducted an archaeological excavation on the island of Vanua Levu.
“It was an absolutely amazing experience,” she said. “It was the most I ever learned in a six-week period, including how to dig, do lab work, camp, cook over a campfire, take ocean baths and more.”
After graduation, Ryder plans to spend a couple of years doing humanitarian work abroad, then pursue her dream of becoming a doctor.