Hello! As I am writing this it is almost the end of my 7th week in the CET virtual Arabic program!
This week I struggled with the demands of my coursework, specifically the five-page paper I am required to write by the end of the term. One of the most difficult aspects I’ve had with this program thus far has been struggling with sometimes feeling like the focus of my learning has been more so on how much material I can complete rather than developing a concrete foundation of Arabic.
Writing this paper has been one of the hardest assignments I’ve had to do for this class as my grammar and vocabulary is still very elementary which I recognize is completely normal and even a great accomplishment after almost 2 months. I have also been dealing with a lot of anxiety related to the language evaluations I have coming up during my last week of class. I am quite nervous to speak to other native Arabic speakers (aside from my two teachers). However, I am very grateful for the practice and the chance to improve my language skills in this way.
Next week my classes and academic meetings will amount to approximately 20 hours of instruction which has also been a source of stress and nervousness for me. While I am so very appreciative of this entire experience I am going to work on taking things one day at a time and work on leaning into my nervousness and my anxiety by recognizing that once again, these feelings are normal and experiencing them does not make me any less of a student. After all, the program is designed to be intensive.
In terms of what I learned this week, I worked with one of my instructors to discuss Jordanian etiquette when out in public. Everything from ordering at a restaurant, asking for directions, going out on the town, etc.
With Jordan being a country heavily influenced by Islam, I have learned more about American and Jordanian cultural differences in this course than in any other class I have taken. For example, I have learned a bit about Islamic holidays and their traditions, most recently the celebration of Eid and how it marks the end of Ramadan. During Eid, many family and friends gather together to pray, share gifts, and break their fast with delicious meals central to Jordanian culture.
Overall it is a very joyful and colorful holiday. As someone who practices Christianity, I have appreciated all of the aspects of Islamic culture in Jordan that I have learned about up until this point. Despite some of the difficult moments I have had these past 7 weeks I am still excited to see what this last week of class has to offer.