Arabic class full of enthusiasm

Savannah Gillam
Savannah Gillam

I can’t believe how much progress our Arabic students have made. The class has displayed a level of fluency even higher than that of many students in an Arabic 101 college course. They quickly mastered the Arabic alphabet within a few days, were able to write their names on the second day, and even discussed basic facts in Arabic about many Middle Eastern countries last week. We’ve also completed many projects, including family trees, calligraphy, and skits.

With every unit, we find a new song for the class to sing along together and help them remember their vocabulary. Often they’ll continue singing these songs as they go to lunch or their dorms, enthusiastic and full of energy. We’ve even begun watching simple cartoons in the language, and they understand the majority of what is being said.

Another exciting opportunity for the students is Skyping with teenagers at the American Embassy in Tunisia. Last Friday, we discussed Ramadan and Eid, the celebration after Ramadan. Even though the two classrooms were located on separate continents, the students were able to connect through discussion of hobbies, movies, and current trends — even Tunisians dab and have fidget spinners. This Friday, we’ll be discussing the Fourth of July and other American holidays with them.

Also this week, we will learn about popular Arabic food and traditional clothing. In order to help solidify their knowledge, we’ll be bringing in clothing for the kids to dress up in if they wish. We will also take a field trip next week to an Arabic restaurant and market in Nashville. I’m very excited!

I absolutely love how passionate the students are. They are constantly asking questions about the language as well as Arabic culture, and I’m so happy that they are genuinely interested in their studies. This is my first year as a teaching assistant at VAMPY, and I’m very thankful to have such a great group of kind, enthusiastic, and intelligent students.