• A politics major.
  • Fascinated by infamous people in history.
  • A traveler.
  • From Troutdale, Ore.
  • An ultimate Frisbee player.

Arianna enjoys the discussion-oriented nature of her Willamette classes.


Arianna Alibabaie’s studies have focused on politics and international issues.

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Committed to a Global Education

Arianna Alibabaie blends her interests in politics and global cultures as she learns both on campus and abroad.

Academic Life

Politics major Arianna Alibabaie likens Willamette classes to round table discussions — where the students engage in dialogue on a topic with their professors and each other, rather than just sitting through a traditional lecture.

"Your professors facilitate the discussion and help you see the greater meaning of the topic, but at the same time, they listen to your ideas and feedback.

"My favorite thing is when your professor helps you see connections between topics that seem unrelated. I'm in this challenging politics class called ‘Explaining Nazism' with Professor Sammy Basu, where we're exploring history and rhetoric to understand how this totalitarian system came about.

"He had us read a Wagner opera, and I was wondering, ‘What does this have to do with Nazism? This was written way before Hitler came along.' During the hour and a half, Professor Basu proceeded to show us correlations between the two subjects, and I was amazed. I love having my eyes opened like that." 

Why I Value Willamette

"I appreciate all the resources Willamette offers to help you have a better experience, like the politics internship program at the Capitol, the Lilly Project, Zena Forest and the Student Academic Grants & Awards office. And if you want to do something outside of these established programs, you can easily write a proposal and Willamette is happy to sponsor you."

The Future

During the summer after her sophomore year, Alibabaie worked as a field manager with the Fund for the Public Interest in Portland. She organized teams to go door-to-door talking to constituents about the work of Environment Oregon and the Oregon State Public Interest Research Group.

While she enjoyed the experience, she also learned that this type of political work wasn't for her. Instead, she has her sights on combining her politics major with her interest in global cultures, potentially by working for the U.S. Department of State at an overseas embassy. 

Beyond the Classroom

Alibabaie plans to expand her global perspective by studying in Prague, Czech Republic, for a semester.

She also took a semester-long leave of absence during her junior year, along with several of her fellow students, to travel for three months through Peru and Bolivia.

The students learned about South American cultures by visiting famous sites and meeting local residents, along with volunteering at orphanages and schools.

"I find other cultures fascinating, and I love studying the international relations between countries' political systems," Alibabaie says. "Americans often wonder about the rationale behind other countries' policies, but if you can learn those people's mindsets, you can understand where they're coming from."

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