On learning Arabic in Britain


Ok, a little over halfway into the semester, and I’ve got the hang of the Arabic thing over here.

It’s strange because the amount of grammar covered in two years is about equal to the grammar covered over 3 or 4 years in my programs in the U.S. Weird.

But of course there is a catch, the classes are taught in English (as opposed to the U.S. where you’re taught in Arabic–in my experience anyway even when you don’t know what the freak is being said…lol). And more importantly the grammatical terms are learned in English so for a while I had no idea what she (my professor was talking about) as a matter of fact I still don’t always know what she means, but oh well. Furthermore, we don’t really practice listening, or speaking like we do in the states, (but since I have a good enough background I can handle it with a little help of BBC Arabic).

It’s been really helpful though. Having terms explained in English has its merits.

but more importantly, for once I’ve gone abroad to study Arabic and 1. have not been inundated with inadequate resources/teachers, racist/sexist epithets, or bed bugs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

both of my experiences in the Arabic speaking world: Morocco and Yemen were not without their merits either, but I’m done with trying to get at that Arabic in it’s natural setting. I actually enjoy Arabic class, and am not restlessly looking at the clock until the pain is over…lol.

I wish I had done this sooner and saved myself a world of grief (more so Morocco than in Yemen… but I digress).

It’s just amazing to me how much enjoyable a learning experience can be when your not borderline depressive, crying yourself to sleep at night as you shiver in the cold, praying the bed bugs don’t bite or that your host brother hasn’t rifled through your stuff or abused the peep hole in your door (yes all this and more did happen to me, so I got some issues to work out still, but I’m getting there….lol).

I like it. Let’s see if I like it enough to give Arabic one more push and go headfirst into a summer program.


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