Press Releases

May 13, 2005

Long Island Native Experiences Middle East Culture Through Friends World Program at Long Island University

Amanda Olsen(

Southampton, NY —Kristin Weider of Islip, N.Y., is anything but a traditional college student. A transfer student from Suffolk Community College, she has spent her college career in 6 different countries and learned two different languages. On May 22, she will be accepting her B.A. in Social Sciences from the Friends World Program of Long Island University at their World Headquarters at Southampton College.

Through Friends World, Weider was able to become familiar with other cultures first hand, studying at the Program’s European Center in London, learning Italian as a result of a trip to Florence, Italy, and a total immersion experience in Middle Eastern culture by living in an Arabic community for the past two years.

"All of my stereotypes have been broken," said Weider. "Friends World has given me a rare opportunity."

Inspired by her education through the Friends World Program, Weider is looking forward to a productive future at the American University of Beirut.

The Friends World program, founded by the Quakers in 1965, is based at Southampton College of Long Island University and has centers in China, Costa Rica, England, India and Japan. Students in the program develop skills and competencies in a major academic field by combining research, hands-on experience and analytical writing under the guidance of the faculty. The program also requires classroom study, immersion language training and independent fieldwork in at least two foreign cultures. This year, 47 students will earn their Bachelor of Arts degrees.