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    I'm studying French and Italian at Cambridge and this year wanted to start learning another language through evening classes at the language centre. I chose Arabic because I'm half considering a career in international development/humanitarian aid-y type things... I had the first lesson yesterday and it's so hard and I'm not sure I actually like the sounds of the language that much...

    Should I carry on with Arabic or change to Spanish?

    Other thoughts I've had:
    - Next year is my Year Abroad. I'm hoping to work in Italy, so am I likely to forget most of the Arabic anyway?
    - Spanish is a lot easier language (for me) to learn, and so in a year of evening classes I'm going to reach a lot higher level in Spanish than in Arabic.
    - But then if I don't persist with it now, am I likely to have the chance to learn Arabic again? Spanish classes/even self-teaching is a lot more likely to be an option later in life.
    - Am I definitely burning bridges by dropping Arabic? People manage to get jobs without it?

    Thanks, any advice - especially but not exclusively from people with experience of learning Arabic - would be fantastic.
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    Well I feel like if you already dislike it after 1 lesson it'll be really hard to stay motivated and enjoy it. Spanish fits into the languages you already know better so I say go for that I have a friend who self taught Arabic and she's studying English lit so it's possible too ^^
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    (Original post by Vernish)
    I'm studying French and Italian at Cambridge and this year wanted to start learning another language through evening classes at the language centre. I chose Arabic because I'm half considering a career in international development/humanitarian aid-y type things... I had the first lesson yesterday and it's so hard and I'm not sure I actually like the sounds of the language that much...

    Should I carry on with Arabic or change to Spanish?

    Other thoughts I've had:
    - Next year is my Year Abroad. I'm hoping to work in Italy, so am I likely to forget most of the Arabic anyway?
    - Spanish is a lot easier language (for me) to learn, and so in a year of evening classes I'm going to reach a lot higher level in Spanish than in Arabic.
    - But then if I don't persist with it now, am I likely to have the chance to learn Arabic again? Spanish classes/even self-teaching is a lot more likely to be an option later in life.
    - Am I definitely burning bridges by dropping Arabic? People manage to get jobs without it?

    Thanks, any advice - especially but not exclusively from people with experience of learning Arabic - would be fantastic.
    I'd say that Arabic is probably the next big language to learn after Mandarin and Spanish when it comes to usefulness in international business. But I'm not so sure what language would be useful since you're interested in doing humanitarian work.

    I'd say, go with Arabic since you can't really self-teach it, unlike Spanish.
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    You may regret it so I would just stick with Arabic,it not a language you can learn on your own.
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    (Original post by Vernish)
    I chose Arabic because I'm half considering a career in international development/humanitarian aid-y type things...
    There would be loads of opportunities to do humanitarian/aidy-y work in Latin America, so in that sense Spanish does fit in with the goals you have in mind. :-)
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    I'd suggest you stick with it. Remember you've only had your first lesson and it's normal to be overwhelmed, especially if it's non-European.

    Spanish is pretty easy to self learn once you've mastered Italian and French, Arabic on the other hand is almost like 'a one in a lifetime' opportunity since you do need expert tutors, which after uni, don't come freely.

    Plus, once you've learnt Arabic, you'll find languages like Hebrew and even Turkish have heavy Arabic influence in them.
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    You won't learn much if you're just doing it as an evening class alongside a language degree.

    (Original post by Bupdeeboowah)
    I'd say that Arabic is probably the next big language to learn after Mandarin and Spanish when it comes to usefulness in international business.
    It really, really won't be. Chinese and Spanish aren't really useful international business languages anyway.
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    (Original post by Snufkin)
    You won't learn much if you're just doing it as an evening class alongside a language degree.
    This is a consideration - and I'm likely to reach a much better level of Spanish from the same hours of work. But then I'm not doing a degree in Arabic at the end of the day, so this might be my best opportunity??


    (Original post by serebro)
    Remember you've only had your first lesson and it's normal to be overwhelmed, especially if it's non-European.

    Spanish is pretty easy to self learn once you've mastered Italian and French, Arabic on the other hand is almost like 'a one in a lifetime' opportunity since you do need expert tutors, which after uni, don't come freely.

    Plus, once you've learnt Arabic, you'll find languages like Hebrew and even Turkish have heavy Arabic influence in them.
    I agree with all of this (thanks) and Hebrew-Turkish factor is appealing, especially as I have in theory a lifetime to try learn Spanish afterwards; Arabic less so. But then the thought of the next Arabic lesson is kind of really not appealing....

    Eeek decisions!
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    (Original post by Vernish)
    This is a consideration - and I'm likely to reach a much better level of Spanish from the same hours of work. But then I'm not doing a degree in Arabic at the end of the day, so this might be my best opportunity??




    I agree with all of this (thanks) and Hebrew-Turkish factor is appealing, especially as I have in theory a lifetime to try learn Spanish afterwards; Arabic less so. But then the thought of the next Arabic lesson is kind of really not appealing....

    Eeek decisions!
    I would suggest you to drop it. The best way to learn Arabic is to visit an arab country and join a course. I did this back in 2005 where I visited Yemen and decided to stay there for a year. This was before the war. The reason is if u want to become fluent in any foreign language, you have to practice it on a daily basis.
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    (Original post by Vernish)
    This is a consideration - and I'm likely to reach a much better level of Spanish from the same hours of work. But then I'm not doing a degree in Arabic at the end of the day, so this might be my best opportunity??




    I agree with all of this (thanks) and Hebrew-Turkish factor is appealing, especially as I have in theory a lifetime to try learn Spanish afterwards; Arabic less so. But then the thought of the next Arabic lesson is kind of really not appealing....

    Eeek decisions!
    on Arabic:

    it is a difficult language. Starting with the alphabet, the defective scripture (or abjad), the complex grammar. However, it will give you access to an entire historical and cultural world

    keep in mind that you will be learning Modern Standard Arabic - not the language most Arabs speak in their daily lives (e.g. spoken Moroccan and Lebanese are next to mutually unintelligible)

    also, while Turkish does include many loan-words from Arabic (less however after Ataturk's reforms) the structure of the language is entirely different, and Arabic will not be a great help in learning Turkish

    on Spanish : it is true that, if you know French and (especially) Italian well, you will be almost directly able to read simple texts in Spanish, and to speak (horrible) Spanish without great effort

    With regard to international business, it is anyhow conducted, to a wide extent, in English.

    However, if you want contact with people, both Spanish and Arabic will put you in contact with hundreds of millions of people.

    My advice : learn Arabic if your motivation is strong (it will take you years to reach a decent level, and even then you will have to tackle with local varieties)

    Learn Spanish if you want quick results and do not have the time or motivation for a struggle with Arabic which would last for, say, a decade.
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    (Original post by serebro)
    Plus, once you've learnt Arabic, you'll find languages like Hebrew and even Turkish have heavy Arabic influence in them.
    Learning Arabic might help you recognise a few words in Turkish (much in the same manner that an Englishman will be familiar with some words in French), but beyond that the languages are completely different (more different than French is to English as Arabic and Turkish, unlike French and English, are of mutually exclusive language groups).
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    (Original post by Donsal007)
    I would suggest you to drop it. The best way to learn Arabic is to visit an arab country and join a course. I did this back in 2005 where I visited Yemen and decided to stay there for a year. This was before the war. The reason is if u want to become fluent in any foreign language, you have to practice it on a daily basis.
    (Original post by mariachi)
    on Arabic:

    it is a difficult language. Starting with the alphabet, the defective scripture (or abjad), the complex grammar. However, it will give you access to an entire historical and cultural world

    keep in mind that you will be learning Modern Standard Arabic - not the language most Arabs speak in their daily lives (e.g. spoken Moroccan and Lebanese are next to mutually unintelligible)

    also, while Turkish does include many loan-words from Arabic (less however after Ataturk's reforms) the structure of the language is entirely different, and Arabic will not be a great help in learning Turkish

    on Spanish : it is true that, if you know French and (especially) Italian well, you will be almost directly able to read simple texts in Spanish, and to speak (horrible) Spanish without great effort

    With regard to international business, it is anyhow conducted, to a wide extent, in English.

    However, if you want contact with people, both Spanish and Arabic will put you in contact with hundreds of millions of people.

    My advice : learn Arabic if your motivation is strong (it will take you years to reach a decent level, and even then you will have to tackle with local varieties)

    Learn Spanish if you want quick results and do not have the time or motivation for a struggle with Arabic which would last for, say, a decade.

    Thanks so much, I think you're both right. Thanks to all other repliers too. If I had more time on my hands I think I probably would persist with the Arabic, but as that's not the case I think I'll put it on hold for a few years...

    Thanks so much everyone
 
 
 
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