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NC State Arabic Club Helps Break Down Linguistic and Cultural Barriers

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Arabic students in front of Alumni Gateway. Photo by Roger Winstead.

 |  Rachel Hill and Hiral Patel  | Foreign Languages and Literatures

Regardless of the language you study at NC State, you have surely experienced times of struggle. From endless vocabulary lists to verb conjugations, learning a new language takes dedication. Fortunately, the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures believes learning extends to outside of the classroom. Connecting with other students by joining one of the many foreign language clubs on campus is a great way to start.

For those studying Arabic, the Arabic club offers students a relaxed environment to practice the language. “Arabic club offered an opportunity to test our Arabic skills in a chill environment without being judged for how much Arabic we knew. Through the different games and activities we did, I felt my skills being tested and I was able to create more of a community with my classmates,” stated club member Doha Medani. The group has certainly exposed students to the Arabic cultures. Various events from a live Quran recitation, a calligraphy presentation, and a Dabke dance session give students a firsthand look into the cultures. Topics of discussion have covered the political climate as well. A Middle Eastern political analyst attended a meeting to discuss the events of the Arab Spring. Tutoring sessions for students of Arabic in need and study abroad. Q&As are also organized by the Arabic club.

Faculty advisor and teaching assistant professor of Arabic and French, Dr. Inas Messiha, mentions that the club is not just for students studying Arabic, but also for those on campus who are interested in the language and cultures. After adopting the role of advisor in 2013, Messiha played a large part in managing and planning events for the club in its early stages. As it became widely recognized around campus, students have taken over the day-to-day functions. “It is completely led and managed by its president, Rana Barakat, and the different officers of the club,” expressed Messiha. The officers meet to discuss meeting times, meeting places, and what activities members would want to partake in. “They even promote the club and bring food for the participating students to munch on,” said Messiha.

Students’ interests are the driving force behind each meeting’s agenda. “Every semester since the inception of the club, I have been polling the students attending the club to find out what activity they enjoy the most,” said Messiha. Results continue to reveal that students enjoy practicing Arabic conversation skills more than other activities. Every meeting incorporates these conversations into the schedule, helping members to immerse themselves in the language.

The efforts of studying a new language, such as Arabic, can be supported by the help of peers and advisors found in a supportive group environment. In our increasingly globalized world, learning a second language is a smart investment to make. Make sure to take advantage of fun opportunities, such as this, to create a close-knit community with classmates while working on language proficiency at the same time. If you are interested in joining Arabic club, please visit our website for more information. Don’t miss out!

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