Monthly ArchivesMay 2017

Arabs: A Fresh Perspective standard

By: Jonathan Henderson Ever been so embarrassingly ignorant about something or someone? If you have then you’re in good company. Before interacting and then befriending my first Arab friend in the States, I didn’t have much of a concept of Arabs. To me, they were all dark skinned, Muslim, ate weird food, and if they weren’t Saudi or a prince of some kind then they were poor and lived in tents. As you can imagine I was in for a few surprises. The first came in Michigan when I met a Syrian college student who was paler than any Scotsman I know. In my head, I thought, “Where’s my tutor?” Thankfully, I caught myself before I insulted my future language ...

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How has Interacting with Arabs Impacted your Time in Jordan? standard

By: Wesley Denham This is my first time in the Middle East.  I come from America, a wonderful country.  It’s also the land of a thousand stereotypes.  Arabs there are no different.  The images we see on TV are not always flattering.  To be fair, this is not specific to the US.  This takes place on television sets, and around dinner tables, all around the world, time and time again each day.  We fear what we don’t understand, and unfortunately, we don’t understand much of each other.  Stereotypes have power.  They can shape narratives, and narratives can shape the way we see each other, which can shape the way we relate. I walk into a shop.  The owner offers me ...

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Open the Window standard

By: Riley Wall A disheartened Iraqi refugee sat across from me in my office looking for help to find a job. Any job.  As a single mom new to America, Nadia was desperate to support her family. In very broken English, she told me how she could cook and clean and style hair. After 2 hours of fumbling a CV into existence, she left beaming with hope for a new beginning in a world entirely different from what she once knew.  I left the office wishing there was more I could do for her. Who were her friends? Who else could speak her Arabic heart language? Who would take the time to listen to her painful story of leaving Iraq, ...

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Finding Fluency through Friendship standard

By: Justine Jacob Studying Arabic is hard. Some say Arabic may even be one of the hardest languages to learn for English speakers. Because it’s hard, Arabic has developed a reputation for being anything but fun, especially after the first few “easy” years of learning the language. This reputation certainly doesn’t help curb the hostility that exists towards Muslims in America and the lack of familiarity most Americans have with Muslims and Arabs. In fact, it may even make divisions more pronounced because less people are inclined to study it.  I’ve been in and out of the Middle East for work and study since 2010, and have seen my fair share of Arabic students and Arabic language programs. I’ve studied ...

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