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Anyone doing a degree in Arabic?

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    Heya! Just wanted to know if there's anyone here who's currently doing a degree in Arabic? I applied for Arabic and International Relations at Leeds and I have some questions that I really really hope you guys can help me with!

    1) Did you have any knowledge of Arabic before starting your degree?

    2) Is Arabic really as challenging to learn as people make it out to be? I'm personally a little worried that I might find Arabic tough and struggle with it. Would love to hear you guys share your experiences of learning Arabic!

    3) THE YEAR ABROAD! This sounds like an amazing opportunity but at the same time, I'm also a little apprehensive about living on my own in either Egypt or Morocco for a year. Firstly, how safe would it be for a foreign female, taking into account the political and social situations of these countries? Secondly, I would be studying at a language institute instead of a partner university. Would this make the learning environment less appealing? (eg; no student or community vibe so you're kind of all on your own in the deep end!) Thirdly, I'm an international student so the year abroad will be pretty costly!

    If you guys have studied abroad before, especially in either Egypt or Morocco, please tell me more about your experience and whether you found it hard to adapt in a foreign country! Thank you so much
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    Hey,
    I'm going to be!
    I can't really help much since i'm not there yet; but I was worrying about the year abroad too also being female. I've been to Morocco and it was absolutely amazing however.
    Do you reckon everyone off the course goes and lives in nearby accomodation?

    thankss
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    (Original post by jymdr)
    Heya! Just wanted to know if there's anyone here who's currently doing a degree in Arabic? I applied for Arabic and International Relations at Leeds and I have some questions that I really really hope you guys can help me with!

    1) Did you have any knowledge of Arabic before starting your degree?
    There's generally three categories of students when you start Arabic at university: those with a Muslim background who can generally read and write it and know some vocab but not much; those who've been on a gap year and actually know some Arabic, and those who start completely from scratch, knowing very little about Arabic. Whichever category you belong, you can definitely catch up with those who've learnt Arabic before.

    (Original post by jymdr)
    2) Is Arabic really as challenging to learn as people make it out to be? I'm personally a little worried that I might find Arabic tough and struggle with it. Would love to hear you guys share your experiences of learning Arabic!
    Arabic is one of the hardest languages to learn and it will be a challenge, you will have ups and downs, but at the end of the day, it only depends on how much work you put into it. Just a tip, whatever you do, learn your vocab by heart as soon as you're given.

    (Original post by jymdr)
    3) THE YEAR ABROAD! This sounds like an amazing opportunity but at the same time, I'm also a little apprehensive about living on my own in either Egypt or Morocco for a year. Firstly, how safe would it be for a foreign female, taking into account the political and social situations of these countries? Secondly, I would be studying at a language institute instead of a partner university. Would this make the learning environment less appealing? (eg; no student or community vibe so you're kind of all on your own in the deep end!) Thirdly, I'm an international student so the year abroad will be pretty costly!

    If you guys have studied abroad before, especially in either Egypt or Morocco, please tell me more about your experience and whether you found it hard to adapt in a foreign country! Thank you so much
    Muslim countries are, I find, safer than Europe, people are more respectful, and regarding the political situation, I wouldn't worry too much. Your university will take care of that, but my coursemates were in Egypt and Syria when the revolutions started and it was fine. As a girl in the Middle East, just remember to be modest and try to avoid guys, as they may have a different conception of friendship and often think Western girls are "easy". Moroccan speak a lot of French and their dialectal Arabic is VERY different from that of the rest of the Middle East, so bear that in mind when choosing where to go. Egyptian Arabic is a lot more widespread as series and films often use it.

    I don't see how it would cost you more than it would cost a home/EU student though. It also is a cheaper place to live than Europe, so the year abroad would probably be cheaper than an actual year at uni! As for accommodations, people tend to live with families or share flats the same way you would with friends at uni.

    Hope this help, I'm finishing my Arabic degree on Wednesday and although I'm at Manchester and went to Syria, I may be able to help!
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    (Original post by Anatheme)
    There's generally three categories of students when you start Arabic at university: those with a Muslim background who can generally read and write it and know some vocab but not much; those who've been on a gap year and actually know some Arabic, and those who start completely from scratch, knowing very little about Arabic. Whichever category you belong, you can definitely catch up with those who've learnt Arabic before.



    Arabic is one of the hardest languages to learn and it will be a challenge, you will have ups and downs, but at the end of the day, it only depends on how much work you put into it. Just a tip, whatever you do, learn your vocab by heart as soon as you're given.



    Muslim countries are, I find, safer than Europe, people are more respectful, and regarding the political situation, I wouldn't worry too much. Your university will take care of that, but my coursemates were in Egypt and Syria when the revolutions started and it was fine. As a girl in the Middle East, just remember to be modest and try to avoid guys, as they may have a different conception of friendship and often think Western girls are "easy". Moroccan speak a lot of French and their dialectal Arabic is VERY different from that of the rest of the Middle East, so bear that in mind when choosing where to go. Egyptian Arabic is a lot more widespread as series and films often use it.

    I don't see how it would cost you more than it would cost a home/EU student though. It also is a cheaper place to live than Europe, so the year abroad would probably be cheaper than an actual year at uni! As for accommodations, people tend to live with families or share flats the same way you would with friends at uni.

    Hope this help, I'm finishing my Arabic degree on Wednesday and although I'm at Manchester and went to Syria, I may be able to help!
    I say if you want to study in Morocco go for it. Morocco speaks their own dialect of arabic which is called "Darija" but they also speak classical arabic. Remember that Morocco as well as being arab cultured, they are also African, so their language is a blend of Arabic, French, Spanish and Berber. According to the person that I've quoted has said to bear in mind that Moroccan Arabic is VERY different from the middle east, well what do you expect Morocco is in Africa not Asia. Morocco is a melting pot of ethincities from Sub-saharan Africans to Europeans and Arabs etc. Don't be worried by this it only sets Morocco apart and makes it that more interesting.
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    (Original post by zubairelouali)
    I say if you want to study in Morocco go for it. Morocco speaks their own dialect of arabic which is called "Darija" but they also speak classical arabic. Remember that Morocco as well as being arab cultured, they are also African, so their language is a blend of Arabic, French, Spanish and Berber. According to the person that I've quoted has said to bear in mind that Moroccan Arabic is VERY different from the middle east, well what do you expect Morocco is in Africa not Asia. Morocco is a melting pot of ethincities from Sub-saharan Africans to Europeans and Arabs etc. Don't be worried by this it only sets Morocco apart and makes it that more interesting.
    Morocco is far from uninteresting, but let's be fair, the dialect isn't the most useful at all, and limits a student more than it helps them by being so geographically restricted. It's a great dialect to learn for fun, but if someone wants a job, Egyptian or Levantine Arabic (or Gulf, if business is to be made) are more useful.

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Updated: June 8, 2012
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