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Lauren Billet Video Transcript

[Interviewer] Welcome to the University of North Georgia Political Science & International Affairs department's YouTube channel, where we present interviews of our students, past, present, and future, to highlight their accomplishments and insights. In the coming minutes you will get to meet Lauren Billet, one of our newest members of our PSIA alumni family. Lauren has just finished six years with us, beginning as an undergrad, and receiving her Master of Arts in International Affairs, or MAIA degree, just a few short weeks ago on August 2nd, 2019.

Good morning Lauren.

[Lauren Billet] Good morning.

[Interviewer] Before we go any further Lauren I've GOT to ask: How does it feel to be done?

[Lauren] Amazing!  Naturally.

[Interviewer] Was it a long six years?

[Lauren] Actually, no. It flew by.

[Interviewer] Before we get into more details about your, your studies, I'd like to know a little bit about you -- Who is Lauren Billet?

[Lauren] Well, I'm now a graduate, twice over, at the University of North Georgia, with political science  degrees.  I was born in Columbus, grew up in, Hamilton, Harris County.  Graduated from Harris County High School. I enjoy cooking and studying my Arabic and reading books and listening to NPR.

[Interviewer] There you go. What brought you to the University of North Georgia in the first place?

[Lauren] It reminded me of my parent's home with the mountains in Pennsylvania at first and foremost, and then I started looking at the university itself, and the programs that it offered and the student life that it offered, and all the experience I could gain, and decided it was best for me.

[Interviewer] Sounds great. Why international affairs?

[Lauren] Well, I actually started as an English major and then realized that I liked political science and history and international relations and everything that goes into it.  So I switched majors and, international affairs specifically, I actually got interested in with my international relations theory class in my undergrad.

[Interviewer] Ok. Since you just finished with your MAIA degree, you obviously continued your studies in the same broad field. What did you, or do you now that it's behind you, expect that MAIA degree will do for you and your future?

[Lauren] It will do a lot for me regardless if I stay in the field of international relations or political science as a career or kind of take the knowledge that I learned and apply it to business. I can use those skills and the knowledge in any career.

[Interviewer] I understand that last Fall, so your second Fall of your master's program, you did not spend in Georgia. Is that correct?

[Lauren] Yes.

[Interviewer] If not in Georgia where were you?

[Lauren] I was in Amman, Jordan.

[Interviewer] In Jordan! What brought you to Jordan?

[Lauren] Arabic. I won the Boren Fellowship from the National Security Education Program, an entity of International Education, to study Arabic in Jordan. And the Fellowship itself is all about sending students to under-represented areas of the world to study critical languages like Arabic.

[Interviewer] Was there anything special about you winning that fellowship?

[Lauren] I was the first Masters student at the University to win the Fellowship.

[Interviewer] Well, awesome! Now that you're back and, what did  you spend, six months, give or take, in Jordan?

[Lauren] A little over four months.

[Interviewer] What did you gain from your experiences in Jordan?

[Lauren] I gained a lot of wisdom and knowledge in addition to my Arabic skills. I progressed pretty quickly in Arabic.  It's a pretty difficult language, so, I'm still on the lower, beginning end, but I gained a lot of knowledge about the area and the people and the culture and the politics and economics and just seeing how it is there with my own eyes taught me more than I could read or learn in this country.

[Interviewer] Great Lauren -- I appreciate the answers there.  Quite the experience, to spend that amount of time in a foreign country. You were by yourself, I presume.

[Lauren] Yes. There was another student from the university in that city that also won the Dav, I'm sorry, the David L. Boren Scholarship for undergraduate students.  So she was there with me.  But I was more or less by myself.

[Interviewer] And you were tied to a university in Amman?

[Lauren] I was tied to a Arabic teaching institute, so not university, but an office whose sole mission is to teach Arabic.

[Interviewer] Great. In closing Lauren, do you have anything that you'd like to pass on to either prospective students that are thinking or contemplating coming to the University of North Georgia and particularly our department, the Political Science & International Affairs department, or graduates of our undergraduate program?

[Lauren] I would tell prospective high school students or anyone looking to come here for their bachelor's degree that it's an amazing university. And this department itself is the sole reason that I really enjoyed my time in college at both levels. 

For anyone that's considering the MAIA, I would say go for it. It's very cost effective. It's very flexible. It's very challenging. It's very educational. Everything that you want from a graduate program. And the faculty is amazing and they teach you so much and they're extremely helpful and dedicated, and it's a phenomenal program.

So I highly recommend it.

[Interviewer] Great. Thank you for your time Lauren. 

[Lauren] Thank you.

[Interviewer] I definitely appreciate it, and again, all the best in your upcoming adventures.

[Lauren] Thank you.

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