When Aviselle Diaz, 19, saw something in the news about Jordan, she wanted to find out more about the country and learn Arabic. As a Cuban American, Diaz was always interested in culture and people.
“I became fascinated with the Arabic language and the culture and the people. As I was doing my research, I came across King’s Academy and I thought that this was the perfect opportunity to not only learn Arabic, but to also gain a more well-rounded perspective as I’d be surrounded by people around the world,” Diaz said.
Following a story published in the Miami Herald, Diaz received enough donations to make it to King’s Academy for her sophomore year of high school, and she spent three years studying in Jordan. Previously, she was a star student at the International Relations Preparatory Academy in Coral Gables.
In 2015, Diaz graduated from King’s Academy, where the king of Jordan, Abdullah II Ibn Al Hussein, awarded her The King Abdullah II Ibn Al Hussein Award of Excellence and the King’s Academy Global Citizenship Award.
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“[Attending King’s Academy] was a truly unique experience. I was able to learn so much about the region through my teachers, through my classmates and our excursions outside the classroom. It felt like a second home because everyone was so close and everyone was there to support one another,” Diaz said.
After graduation, Diaz went back the states to attend Georgetown University, where she is studying international affairs and continuing her Arabic studies. Diaz will start her sophomore year this fall, and she hopes to declare a major in regional and comparative studies, with a focus in comparing the Middle East with Latin America
Because of her time at King’s Academy, Diaz was compelled to return to Jordan. This summer, she interned at the Jordan River Foundation, a nonprofit organization focused on helping Jordanians reach full economic potential along with empowering women.
Also, at Summer Enrichment Program at King’s Academy, she taught English grammar, reading and writing to eighth grade students from public schools in Jordan.
“The children were so sweet and so curious. It was a very rewarding experience to hear the stories of how they had changed — some of them coming in knowing no English when they came in as sixth graders and now being able to read and write very well,” Diaz said.
Part of the curriculum included teaching a book — Diaz chose “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coehlo — and creating a project on a problem they saw in Jordan and how they would solve it. The students chose water pollution and presented solutions at their graduation.
Diaz plans to do a similar program and head back to Jordan next summer. Diaz hopes to use her inspiration from immersing herself in Jordan’s culture in her career.
“In the future I’d like to work with the United Nations, with a focus on [Jordan] and on how to not only improve access to education, but also how education can be used to establish peace in the region and the world,” Diaz said.