The Catholic University of America

Nora Conley

Internships Lead to Middle East Experience


One of the main reasons that Raymond Magorien chose to study at The Catholic University of America was the University’s central location in Washington, D.C. By going to school in the nation’s capital, Magorien, who graduated in May with a bachelor’s in politics, knew he would have access to a wide variety of internships and job opportunities.

What he didn’t realize when he enrolled was just how far his college career would take him beyond Washington. After taking classes in international politics and the Middle East, Magorien became fascinated with that part of the world. Now, four years later, Magorien has not only learned Arabic and studied Islam, but he also spent five months living and working in East Amman, Jordan.

From the beginning of his freshman year, Magorien knew he wanted to study politics. He got an internship the second semester of that year, working in a congressional office.

“That was my first real internship in college,” Magorien said. “That kind of got me into the life of interning.”

During his sophomore year, Magorien became more interested in international politics, especially the Middle East. He began an internship at the Embassy of Jordan in D.C., working in the information branch.

“I would gather international stories, mostly pertaining to Jordanian news, and send them off to our branch in Amman,” Magorien said. “The Jordanian embassy is where I got a lot of hands-on work. I was more involved there and felt like what I did had some kind of impact.”

As he learned more about the Middle East, Magorien began taking Arabic as an elective during the fall of his junior year. During the spring semester, he took a job in Jordan interning with the marketing sector of an organization that helps support new businesses in Amman. As part of his job, Magorien researched the various start-up firms in Jordan and helped teach macroeconomics and the economics of start-ups at Jordan University.

“It was so cool to learn Arabic and to be a part of an Arab culture too,” Magorien said. “It really helped my vocabulary and I saw my Arabic get dramatically better.”

Magorien stayed in Jordan for five months, during which time he traveled to Israel, Turkey, and Qatar. Through his job, he worked with students from other U.S. universities, including Penn State, Georgetown, American, and West Point Military Academy.

“There are definitely a lot of differences from Jordan to America,” he said. “I lived with a Palestinian family that didn’t speak any English so there was a cultural barrier, but I could get around with my simple Arabic and people were very accepting and open.”

Magorien is now pursuing another interest — law. During his senior year, he took a job working at the Council of American Islamic Relations, a firm that helps Muslim-Americans dealing with workplace discrimination. Come this fall, Magorien will begin law school in D.C. After that, he’s hoping he can take his logical thinking and analytical skills into a career in international law.

Looking back on his time at CUA, Magorien said he is most grateful for his professors in the language department.

“In general, the professors at CUA have gone above and beyond anything I’ve expected of them,” he said. “They really helped me out personally with letters of recommendation and job career paths and getting me interested in international relations and issues abroad.”

This summer, Magorien is working in the president’s office at Catholic University while continuing to take more classes at the Arabic Institute. Though he’s not quite sure what he would like to do after he graduates from law school, Magorien hopes to maintain his Arabic and one day return to the Middle East.

“Working for the Jordanian embassy and taking a couple of classes on the subject really broadened my horizons and made me look toward doing something with the Middle East,” Magorien said. “There are so many current issues to learn about and I think it’s very interesting. There is always something more to learn.”


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Raymond Magorien

Hometown: Columbus, Ohio

Degree: B.A. 2015

Favorite class at CUA: Nationalism and Islam taught by lecturer Julia Lau Bertrand. "Really interesting and different than what you would expect."

Best memories at CUA: The Mistletoe Ball and enjoying the different seasons on campus.

Favorite place to travel: Petra in Southern Jordan. "I got to ride a camel through Petra. It's probably my best memory."