Arabic is spoken in the area stretching from Morocco in the west to Oman in the east, from Syria in the north to Sudan and Yemen in the south – the Arab world is a region inhabited by more than 250 million people. However, Arabic speakers are also found outside this region with populations in the United States, across Europe, West Africa and Latin America. And because of its religious significance to Islam, Arabic is widely used among Muslims all over the world. In fact, Michigan is home to the nation’s largest Arab American community with a diverse mix of Christians and Muslims.
In the tradition of education in Modern Languages and Literatures at Grand Valley State University, courses in this minor teach different ways to reach linguistic proficiency and cultural competence in Arabic. The ability to listen, speak, write and read in Arabic expands the range of students’ communication skills and extends the breadth of students’ world views.
The minor in Arabic concentrates on the two main vernaculars of Arabic, the standard language (Modern Standard Arabic) and some regional spoken varieties. However, proficiency can only be reached when students are competent in the culture as well. In response to this call, the Arabic minor offers course work that specifically targets cultural aspects and encourages students to immerse themselves in Arabic culture. GVSU offers a faculty-led study abroad program in Amman, Jordan, where students can study Arabic language and culture for four weeks.
Arabic minor students are encouraged to participate in the Model Arab League simulation held annually in February and in field trips to points of cultural interest locally and in the Detroit area.
Students come from anthropology, area studies, business, communications, criminal justice, geography, history, and international relations - indeed, from all those disciplines where there is increasing need in foreign language proficiency with languages from the non-Western world. Arabic minors have many employment opportunities. Professions with international and global orientation are seeking Arabic speakers. Government agencies, NGO’s, media companies are urgently looking for fluent Arabic speakers with cultural expertise to meet a growing demand for political, economic and social interaction with the Arabic speaking world. In addition, the Arabic minor prepares students for graduate school opportunities as well.
The following program is available: