My Journey Learning Arabic!
Let us hear from people outside the UAE, how they have managed to traverse through different courses and life experiences to learn what they have learnt. Our today’s blog post is about a young mom in Singapore. As you read her story, reflect on the persistence, the going back to the learning, the experimenting. Let us know in the comments if you share her thoughts.
My Journey Learning Arabic!
I became interested in learning the Arabic language at the age of 17 years old. I started to find interest in the Arabic language while I was reading the Quran. As a Muslim, I want to understand the words of Allah. I want to know more about the religion and I felt that by learning Arabic I can do that. In shaa Allaah.
During that time I was a full-time student in a technical institution. I started looking up Arabic classes online and I saw an Arabic conversational class advertisement so I decided to sign up and give it a go. It didn’t look intimidating for beginners so I thought, why not? I really enjoyed the conversational class because it felt like I achieved part of my dream. I was able to speak and my vocabulary of words increased. I was happy but I knew I didn’t want my journey of learning Arabic to stop there. I wanted to know more. After graduating from the technical institute I was studying at, I decided to take a turn to pursue the Arabic language even further. I was actually able to continue my studies to get a diploma in social services but I felt like that was the only chance I had. I made that big decision and I never once regretted it.
I searched online for a full-time course for beginners. I found a suitable course and I immediately applied. It was a preparatory class for students who want to pursue a diploma in the Arabic language. I continued my studies until I reached a diploma in the Arabic language but I decided to stop halfway through the course due to a personal matter. Before I ended my study at the college I took an online Arabic class while I was on a school holiday break. I decided to give it a go because it was taught by a native speaker and I thought that would be interesting. The center, Markaz Ibaanah is in Egypt but the center also held online classes for those who couldn’t travel to them. I registered myself through their website. The class left an impact on me because it improved my reading and I was more confident in conversing. In the online class, we learn Arabic in Arabic. We had to do a test before we were admitted to the level which was suitable for us.
Surprisingly, even though I was in a diploma course I got admitted to a beginner level. The test was completely in Arabic and even though I was in a diploma I had difficulty reading Arabic without the harakat. I had trouble answering as I didn’t understand most of the questions fully. I realized that I wasn’t confident in reading without harakat and my writing skills weren’t that good. At the college, we learn Arabic in English and most of the time in our own mother tongue language. Don’t get me wrong, I learned a lot from the college and I enjoyed my days there but what I felt was missing was that I wasn’t getting exposed to the language enough. I knew nahw, sarf and my favorite homework was i’arab but I wasn’t confident at reading and talking. I was doing good in class and I was one of the top scorers in the college but I felt silly that I couldn’t read and talk well.
After a semester with them, I was more confident to speak and I was able to read an Arabic text without harakat more confidently. In my own time, I listen to Islamic lectures which are in Arabic. Alhamdulillah by Allaah’s will I was able to understand about 60 to 70 percent of the audio. Learning a new language takes patience, commitment, and practice. One important thing in learning is to not be afraid to make mistakes. When you make a mistake, that is when you learn something too. A lot of practice helps as it will give you confidence in shaa Allah. Another thing I learned while I was in college and also the online class was that learning has no age limit and it knows no background. I had classmates who were as old as my grandparents and were working as taxi drivers, some were busy homemakers and had children running around them. I remember one of them was a doctor and she attended class while she was at work. They diligently did their homework and were enthusiastic as I was in studying.
For now, I would not say that my learning journey has stopped. It has only paused because having a toddler around definitely demands a lot of energy and attention. In shaa Allah in the future, I would definitely continue the online course and very soon introduce Arabic to my one-year-old.
- Umm S
(By Umm S, is a mother to a 15-month-old toddler and in her spare time, she likes to read. She has been studying the Arabic language since she was 18 years old and loves the language ever since.)
Are you an expat living in the Middle East with a story to tell? Share your living experience with the Arabic Language at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to feature it on our blog.