The Office of Global Affairs launched Arabic Lessons funded by UW Tacoma’s Strategic Initiative Fund in fall of 2017, with the assistance of international student Shooq Alhathelool.
Every Monday and Tuesday from 1–2 p.m. in JOY 001, Alhathelool hosts informal 30 minute lessons for anyone who stops by. The information given on both days is the same any given week to allow more students the opportunity to participate.
Cindy Schaarschmidt, director of Student Fellowships & Study Abroad and Office of Global Affairs, hopes that these lessons can go beyond just this academic year.
“We, the Office of Global Affairs, wanted to create an opportunity for students to learn foreign languages in an informal setting. In conversations with students, Arabic came up most often, and so we decided to launch informal Arabic lessons,” Schaarschmidt said.
The UWT Strategic Initiative Fund financially supports this project to provide more cultural opportunities on campus.
“In addition to studying a language, students also learn about cultures and countries where Arabic is spoken in these weekly 30 minute lessons,” Schaarschmidt said.
In each lesson, Alhathelool covers Arabic language and writing skills, along with cultural aspects such as greeting rituals, culinary rituals and religious practices.
“Learning to communicate in another language makes it possible to engage with speakers of that language and to learn about their cultural backgrounds,” Schaarschmidt said. “Now, these lessons are aimed at beginners, but even being able to greet someone in Arabic and carry out a basic conversation creates trust and opens up opportunities to learn about the other person’s cultural background.”