(As-salamu Alaykum: a common greeting meaning "peace be upon you"). Okay, so I'm officially settled into college life and college Arabic-learning. We've made our way through the first 6 sections, learning everything up until ghayn (Which looks like: غ ). I'm actually using a different edition of the textbook than I thought I would be. They've updated Alif Baa since last year. For the connoisseur of Alif Baas, this book is much more user-friendly. The vocabulary actually relates to one another, and the drills/listening exercises seem to help a lot more than they did then. (Although, this may be because I hardly ever did them last year). The CD that comes with this is kinda crappy though. It doesn't have as nice of an interface.
Anyways, enough of the boring logistical stuff. I really have gotten into the swing of things again with writing in Arabic. Being able to read things, like-
It says "Coca-Cola." Pretty cool, huh?
I've also decided to apply for the Arabic Critical Languages Scholarship. It is a long process, and they only accept like 10% of the people who apply, so I'll just have to cross my fingers. If I don't do that this summer, I'll go teach abroad/ work on development issues through AIESEC. I'm not sure if I'll go to the Middle East or not though. I'm not sure if I'll get much out of it after just one year of Arabic. How much will I know after a year of college Arabic? Enough to hold a full conversation? If that is the case, then I'd definitely go to somewhere within MENA. AIESEC has a great program called Salaam that works in many countries throughout the region. I'm super excited! :) I'll be upset if I end up at home for the summer.
I'll have to ask my Arabic professor for a recommendation letter when I apply for the CLS. He's such a funny man. It is his first year teaching in Champaign, and he's all about taking us out to coffee and talking about cultural topics. He wants to take us to a mosque and out to a Middle Eastern restaurant. He is Muslim, and has no qualms about explaining details of his culture to us. After we asked where he was from, he launched into a talk about the recent history of Palestine and what brought him to leave. He has really grown on me a lot.
After that discussion, I talked to several of my classmates. Many of them (over half, at least) have Arabic speaking parents. Three-fourths are Muslim or half Arab. Parents are from Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Sudan, Malaysia, and Syria. The random non-Arab, non-Muslims (like me) are mainly in the class for career-related reasons (like me). It makes for an interesting mix of people! I enjoy having that class everyday.