Middle East Studies

Student Spotlight: Max Schindler '16.5

Name: Max Schindler

Hometown: Mountain Lakes, N.J.

Concentration: Middle East Studies

What was your focus, and why, during your studies at Brown?

I've changed my mind often when deciding what to study. The Middle East fascinated and beguiled me, specifically Israel-Palestine. Yet I first opted for political science, then for comparative literature. I was hesitant about getting sucked into a never-ending vacuum of geopolitical conflict and military occupation.

You recently took a gap semester and were in the region - can you tell us a bit about your work during that time?

I've taken off time from college twice, and in both instances I spent much of the bulk of my time in Israel and the Palestinian territories. I've worked both full-time and freelance for a few publications, including Haaretz, the Jerusalem Post, the Christian Science Monitor and +972 Magazine. For most of 2016, I resided in the West Bank, specifically in Ramallah and I volunteered for a few months in a small Palestinian village south of Hebron named Susyia.

What are some thoughts on Brown Middle East Studies that you'd like to share as a graduating senior?

What a robust department. Make sure to take Arabic. Also, buy and study from a colloquial Arabic workbook (because Modern Standard Arabic won't help you speak to locals.)

Nicola Perugini (a post-doctoral candidate who left this spring) blew my mind away. He's my thesis advisor, mentor and all-around mensch. Find a faculty or post-doc figure with whom you relate and imbibe from their milk of wisdom.

And finally, any idea as to your post-graduation plans?

I'll be headed back to Ramallah in January, already bought my ticket. Looking for a full-time job as a freelance journalist isn't ideal. If you know of any media outlets or NGOs hiring in the West Bank, holler!

Interview by Kutay Onayli '17