Classes Have Begun

Hello friends and family,

Classes begun on Sunday! (It is Tuesday, 5th February at nearly 3 PM as I write this). So far I have taken my formal Arabic and spoken Arabic classes, as well as a course on intercultural communication. Tonight will be my first class on “Islam in the Modern Context.” I’m currently sitting in a cafe with my friends studying, as most of us had class from 11-1, then have class tonight from 5-7:30.

Formal Arabic class is going to be a challenge for sure. There’s a significant gap between what I learned at Temple so far and the curricula that I will be studying in Advanced II class (which is the name of the class I would’ve been taking at Temple had I stayed). Nonetheless, I expect it to be very productive – the professor pretends she doesn’t speak English at all, sort of a trial-by-fire approach.

Otherwise, I am having a wonderful time! I have settled into the sleep schedule fine, and while everything is different, it is not unmanageable. One of the harder barriers I’ve encountered is communicating with my friends and family in the US, because I get messages when I’m sleeping that I can’t respond to immediately when I wake up (around 3 AM in the US).

It’s necessary for me to speak Arabic frequently, a great deal of the people I encounter do not speak English. I often translate for friends who are earlier on in their Arabic careers. The immersion has already improved my language skills immensely, I can’t wait to see how much I’ve learned by the end!

Erik

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