Arabic is a very beautiful and
interesting language to learn. It’s really rewarding, so in itself it’s a
very enjoyable thing to do. As a language it’s one of the six United Nations
languages and it’s spoken by about 250 million people as a native speaker
language so it’s a hugely important language. The
Islamic Studies is quite a unique place, not just in Britain, but also in Europe.
It’s a concentration of specialists who work in all aspects of the study of
Arabic, of Islam, of the Middle East from various different disciplinary
formations. We’ve really listened to our students when we were
designing the new MArabic. It’s still a four-year programme but what
you get for those four years is instead of a BA in Arabic is a genuine Masters in
Arabic. Your main focus of study will be Arabic in a very small group of Arabic
students. In addition to that you will have the opportunity to study
Middle East history, Middle East politics, security studies, Islam and many other
areas and aspects of the region. Another element of this new MArabic degree
programme which is unique, and is also unique I think in comparison to most
language degrees, is that students will actually go abroad twice. They’ll spend a whole year in their second year and they also spend a term in their fourth year.
Going abroad really transforms your learning of Arabic. We arrange for
all students to go to a partner Institution in the Middle East,
currently it is Jordan. There they have intensive Arabic teaching of
several hours every day during the course of the year that they are abroad.
The Institution there takes great care of our students and they arrange
accommodation, they arrange social events and they look over the students
to make sure that everything is going fine. I recommend the year abroad
because there’s really no better way to pick up language skills, to improve
language skills, to be able to take your language to a high level. I also
think it’s really important to experience the culture of the
language that you’re studying and the year abroad gives you that opportunity.
You basically get to go aboard twice. That’s, that’s like a no-brainer as far
as I’m concerned. You get to go aboard twice in an Arabic speaking
environment. Students in the past have always loved their year aboard.
They always say to us that’s why we want to degree we want to go abroad as part
of it. We’re sending students twice, simple!