Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

Elias Shakkour: A Passion for Language from a Master's Degree in Conference Interpretation to Ph.D in Linguistics

Elias Shakkour

Even with two Master's degrees to his name, Elias Shakkour (MACI '10) has dreamed of pursuing a Ph.D in linguistics since his days as an undergraduate student at Colgate University.

October 7, 2010

Elias (MACI '10) begins his first year as a linguistics Ph.D student at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaigne.

Although he doesn't have to choose a Ph.D specialization until his second year, Elias is eager to explore the field. He's considering delving into sociolinguistics and analyzing how dialects are perceived in the Arabic and German speaking worlds. Hoping to help bridge cultural divides, he also dreams of writing an Arabic dialect textbook someday.

Growing up in Jerusalem, Elias attended an American school and spoke both English and Arabic from an early age. When he was about thirteen, he began studying French and discovered his passion for languages. He took his first German class at Middlebury College while he was an undergraduate student at Colgate University.

He earned a Master's degree in German fromĀ Middlebury College before pursuing a secondĀ MA in Conference Interpretation at the Monterey Institute. Elias completed translation and interpretation coursework in both German and Arabic. "It wasn't random that I went to Monterey; it was a career-oriented choice. Although maybe I should start working because I've been in school forever," he jokes.

Always conscious of his career options, Elias hopes that his doctoral studies will open more doors to academic research and university positions: "This degree will increase my credibility so that I'll be in a good position to choose my professional path." Whether he becomes a professor or a freelance interpreter, you can be sure that language will be the heart of the matter.

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