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In summer 2014, the CLS Arabic immersion program will offer courses in first-, second-, third-, and fourth-year Modern Henna Painting at the ArabesqueStandard Arabic. Arabic was one of the first languages offered in our program in 1983; however, it was dropped in the late 1980s due to low enrollments. We revived the Arabic program in summer 2002 in the aftermath of 9/11 by offering a small course in first-year Arabic. Since that time, Arabic has grown into one of our strongest programs, with two sections of first-year Arabic and one section of second-year Arabic offered in summers 2007 and 2008. The STARTALK grant awarded in those same summers has not only supported high school students to learn Arabic, but has also provided additional funding to enrich the cultural aspects of the program. If you doubt the ability of a high school student to perform well in a college-level, fast-paced course, then please take the time to read Rachel Friedman’s story.

While a wide range of students have participated in the Arabic program—high school students, undergraduates, graduate students, professionals, and retirees—a strong desire to learn Arabic and a commitment to help each other achieve this goal have persisted in the Arabic program over the past seven years. Students play an active role in the language tables, study together in groups, and highlight their artistic or culinary talents during the evening of international poetry and song or the international dinner. Arabic None of these goals—high-level, fast-paced language acquisition and cultural enrichment —would be possible, however, without the fine instructors of Arabic whom we have had over the years. Students consider their instructors’ talent and creativity, willingness to help students, and dedication to the teaching of Arabic language and culture to be some of the greatest qualities of our program.


View the Arabic Curriculum Information 



Rachel Friedman

Rachel Friedman began her study of Arabic at CLS in summer 2005. Three years later, she returned as a TA to teach the same class in which she had studied. We present two perspectives of our program from her, one as a student and another as a teacher (click on either to read the complete text):

A benefit that I hadn't foreseen before Rachel in 2005studying at Beloit this past summer but that I now appreciate: it gave me direction. As a high school student, teachers and parents often have pressured me to decide what I want to study and major in when I get to college. Before studying Arabic, I had almost no idea. Now, however, I plan to study Arabic language and literature. Because I came to this realization while still in the process of looking at colleges, I have been able to narrow my search to those colleges that have good Arabic programs. Returning to Beloit as a Rachel in 2008 graduate teaching assistant this summer was very rewarding. Teaching Arabic gives me the opportunity to spread my enthusiasm for the language and its cultures. Some of my favorite memories from this summer are of students asking questions and starting discussions about aspects of Arab culture that interested them. [...] As an instructor, it is fulfilling to teach students who have dedicated their summer to focus solely on Arabic and are committed to spending the amount of time necessary to learn it successfully.