Meet TAU International's
Hanna Madsen

Joint Hebrew and Arabic language program alum aims to safeguard children's rights in the Middle East

Hanna MadsenWith long-term dreams of working with children and families in the turbulent Middle East, Rhode Island native Hanna Madsen, now a senior at the University of Delaware studying Public Policy, Community Leadership and Islamic Studies, knows that the right language skills are crucial building blocks to her future.

"I want to work and study in the region, and without understanding a language, you can't really understand a culture," says Hanna. To that end, she searched for language programs in the Middle East so she could combine her educational experience with her love of travel. "Tel Aviv University came up quickly because it brings together both Hebrew and Arabic, which is unique."

With five hours a day of intensive and immersive study, she says that the Combined Intensive Language Program is like being "married to the languages." Lessons include a variety of activities, including sing-a-longs, so the learning environment is always dynamic and absorbing. And more than learning in the moment, teachers work to give their students linguistic skills, helping them understand the process of language learning and continue their development once the program has come to an end.

After class, Hanna and her fellow students were able to take advantage of everything that Israel has to offer. Through TAU international, she went on trips through the country to places such as the Golan Heights, Eilat, the Ramon Crater, and Masada and the Dead Sea. "Israel has always been on the list of countries I wanted to travel to," she explains. "My Sunday School teacher taught us Bible stories, and this is the place where these stories come to life."

While learning languages and travelling the country, Hanna used her time in Israel to conduct research on the perception of children's rights in Israel and the US, and how children's rights in each country shape the citizens they become. She hopes to return to the region in the future to work with children who have been impacted by conflict, and pursue graduate studies in the field.

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