Jessica O’Higgins (4th Quarter, 2005)

by Josh Barsch on August 20, 2010

4th Quarter, 2005
Liberal Arts Scholarship Winner
Jessica O’Higgins

Jessica is a double major, majoring in international relations with a concentration in Middle Eastern politics and psychology, both going towards her liberal arts degree. In the spring of 2006 she will be in Amman, Jordan for five months studying Middle Eastern politics, Arabic and Islam.

Aside from academics Jessica is involved with the Student Government Association as a senator and membership officer. She is also the head delegate for Model United Nations representing the Syrian Arab Republic this year at the conference.

A Portion of Jessica’s Winning Essay:

Jessica O'Higgins

Guten Tag! Ich heiߥ Jessica O’Higgins und ich bin eine Amerikanerin. Hello, my name is Jessica O’Higgins, and I am an American. In order to contribute to the world, you must first be able to understand it; understanding both the languages people speak and the culture they call their own. Language and culture form the foundation of our world, and as such it is our responsibility as humans to take every opportunity possible to further our understanding of our world.

I am a third year student at Central Michigan University persuing a degree in International Relations and Psychology, putting them towards my Liberal Arts Degree. I am a motivated individual who strives to live as optimisticly as possible. I am involved in my community and on my campus. On campus I am a member of the Student Government Association as both an elected senator (elected by the student body) and the membership officer. My duty, in my opinion, is to motivate people to be involved with their campus, be involved with their community and be involved with their world. In the words of Gandhi, “We must become the change we want to see in the world,” and I want to be that change, even if it is just one person I am still a success.

I chose a liberal arts degree for the reason above, that we must change, therefore, I must be the change that this world needs. It all comes back to the language and culture idea. No one can expect to make change and follow through with it if you walk into a new culture and cannot understand what the people are saying or why they are doing the things they are doing. Learning their language and culture is the only thing that breaks down the barriers that make us all different. For me a liberal arts degree lets me incorporate my interests with a different cultures interest into one perfect accomplishment that I can say I am very proud of.

To fulfill my language requirement I am taking German and as an extra cultural experience I will be traveling to Jordan where I will be studying the ancient language of Arabic for four months in the spring of 2006. This is one opportunity I refused to miss out on. The Jordanian culture along with the Middle Eastern culture is not understood, and I want to start the ripple that will change the perspective from not understanding to a complete understanding; starting with learning the Arabic language. With any language learned it is assumed that you will learn a culture right along with it, in my opinion that is the point.


I want to change the world by understanding the people of the world; that is their language and their culture. A liberal arts degree allows me to do that very thing; learn the language and culture, understand the language and culture and finally teach the language and culture.

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