Studying Arabic in America

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So I want to do another intensive Arabic program… but I certainly do no want to do it in the Middle East.

But at the same time, doing it in the U.S. will be weird. Arabic in the Middle East comes with a host of cross-cultural issues that I frankly don’t want to deal with until my Arabic is On point: staring, random comments/threats, not drinking the tap water, the different smells (good and bad) and الغربة : Loneliness. I don’t want to inject myself into another society. I just want to get some decent Arabic instruction!!!

Arabic in the U.S. means running water that I can drink, keeping in touch with my family on my cell phone instead of Skype, food that (for the most part) will not make me sick etc.

But it also means none of the cool stuff: the idiosyncrasies that I miss, even if I hated the experience: Ragheb al-Ama’s newest video being overplayed on the music video channels, Nancy Ajram’s pictures everywhere, little quips particular to that region: Ay Wa in Yemen or La Shukran ‘Ala wajib in Morocco. Oh and what about all the new scarf trends I won’t even be aware of this summer? and new head wrap styles?

and no more funny encounters with random men in the street-

Yemen
“Wow that’s something you don’t see every day!”
– random man’s reaction to my and my Korean friend walking down the street.

“Chocolate and Vanilla.”
– random man’s reaction to me and my German friend

Morocco
“I like black girl.”
“I like black woman”
“Hey, white chicken” (this was obviously not a comment in reference to me).

the list goes on and on.

But, the fact of the matter is I can only be amused by these things now that the experience is several years passed.

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2 thoughts on “Studying Arabic in America

  1. Margari Aziza

    I was cracking up! I like Black woman! That is so Morocco. You can still get random sketchy Arab guy encounter in Arabic programs. We had a concert at Middlebury. The Moroccan musician was all, “You know, my grandmother was Black. My mother is Black too. It is very common in Morocco. Are you married?” haha
    But I’m still dying over the hey white chicken. Moroccans are crazyyyyyyyyy!

  2. Gazelle du Sahara

    It’s funny how no matter what time you were there, you can still totally relate to the “Moroccan experience.” Some of them were so off the wall.

    I guess I can’t hate, the brothers are trying to practice their foreign language skills… lol

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