As a freshman in college, I actually had no intention of learning Arabic. I knew the Middle East was where my interest lay; but I just figured learning French and speaking like a neo-colonialist (as a friend who studied abroad in Senegal pointed out) would get me by in an Arab country. After two semesters responding to my French professor with ‘Si’ instead of ‘Oui’, pronouncing every French word with a Spanish accent and being forced to sit through an embarrassing lecture (inspired by me) of how Spanish is taking over the world and more people need to be dedicated to French; I decided learning Arabic, the universally utilized language of my region of interest, was clearly the best route for moi.
I was very fortunate that, at a school mixer, I was introduced to a student who had just finished studying abroad in Syria and Jordan. Not only was he gorgeous, but he was very much interested in creating and teaching a Jordanian/Syrian colloquial Arabic language group. And so the club was born. After a full academic year of meetings I can manage some words and phrases. Unfortunately, my gorgeous co-president and our de facto professor was a senior and has since graduated to join the ranks of the 99%, leaving me and the rest of the attendee’s to figure out how keep the club going on our own.
The situation hasn’t been as bad as it appeared at first as one of the regular attendee’s is actually a grad student from Syria and I’ve been put in contact with a student who will soon be returning from her study abroad in Jordan. They are both committed to helping teach us Arabic even though they have their plates full.
A huge challenge our club faces today, other than working around our schedules to actually meet, is organization. Last year, there was no real lesson plan; we learned whatever we felt like saying that time (mainly Arabic curses, to each other). This year, with a lesson plan and structure in place, I’m much more confident that there will be a productive increase in my Arabic vocabulary.