Becoming completely immersed in Arabic
I never thought in a million years I would be studying Arabic in an intensive language program for six weeks in the Kingdom of Morocco.
During my freshman year when scheduling for the fall semester of my sophomore year, my sixth class at the time was Music Listening. Being a digital forensics major and criminal justice minor, I had the opportunity to talk to my good friend’s uncle, an FBI agent.
He recommended taking Mandarin Chinese or Arabic as a language, as it would look well on an application to a government agency, the FBI in particular.
Instantly after talking with him, I dropped Music Listening and enrolled into Arabic I for the fall. I was nervous, as I have never studied such a unique language, and I had believed it was going to be a gruesome mistake. However, it turned out to be the best decision of my life.
I fell in love with the Arabic language. The unique cursive-scripted alphabet in which it is written in fascinated me, which led me to also take Arabic II in the following spring semester. Nawal Bonomo was my instructor for both Arabic courses and she taught me a great deal in a short amount of time.
Unfortunately, Bloomsburg University does not currently offer Arabic language courses past Arabic II. Thus, this past year (my Junior year at BU), I tutored both Arabic I and Arabic II students, and tried to sit in on as many of Nawal Bonomo’s classes as I could to aid her students, as well as to keep Arabic fresh in my own head.
Originally, I had no big plans for this summer, except to work an arduous seven days a week. This study abroad opportunity came to me by email a couple months before the end of the semester from the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations (NCUSAR), because I had participated in the 2012 Model Arabic League at Georgetown University. I researched this opportunity and after much guidance from Bonomo and my parents, I decided to jump on it.
The Arab-American Language Institute in Morocco (AALIM) in the city of Meknes is solely where my Arabic courses will take place for the next six weeks starting Monday, June 4, and ending Friday, July 13. I will be primarily studying Modern Standard Arabic (Classical Arabic) or Fus'ha for four hours a day from Monday through Friday. I will also be taking an additional three hours a week of darija, the Moroccan Arabic dialect.
I am so excited to enhance my skills in Arabic, as well as, a little off topic, to hopefully ride a camel. I believe this learning experience will benefit me greatly and become an important contributive asset when the time comes to apply for jobs, in particular to government agencies.
Plus, it’s what I love. Who doesn’t enjoy doing what they love? That is what I am most excited about; simply being completely submersed up to my nose in Arabic ... for six weeks!
Until then, MaSalama.
— Michael Curry, junior digital forensics major, Middle East studies and criminal justice minor