For many of us the idea of learning another language as adults is daunting and even deemed impossible.
But for a group of adults enrolled in Arabic language classes at the University of Sydney, learning a foreign language is exciting and within reach.
Led by enthusiastic Arabic teacher and renowned ethnic Journalist Chadia El Hage, the small dynamic group of life long learners is an inspiration.
Commuting to the university library every week after a long day at work – the dedicated students have come a long way from not even knowing a single Arabic word.
And while stereotypes circulated by the media often depict Arabic as an aggressive language with much spiting and gagging- these students perceive the language as their gateway into a world of opportunities and the best way to truly understand Middle Eastern culture.
For one adult learner enrolled in the course, the language is a great way to connect to the high school students he teaches in the Sydney’s south-west.
‘I work with many students who speaking Arabic at home andlearning the language helps me understand them better. I have also lived in Jordan so if I ever go back there to find work, knowing Arabic would be great,’ said Allen.
Nathan, another professional working in Sydney’s south-west perceives Studying Arabic has been an immensely enriching experience.
‘I’m glad that I’ve remained committed towards becoming more proficient in this language over the past year,’ said Nathan.
‘Since commencing lessons with Chadia, I’ve found myself able to demystify the writings and scripture, which has been very rewarding.
‘And in addition to this, I have come to realise the nuances and intricacies of communication in different cultures and this has redefined my long-held notions about human expression and the wonderment of how languages have developed over the ages,’ said Nathan.
According to Chadia, adults who are willing to learn can do great things with the language.
‘They work very hard, are committed and it pays off,’ said Chadia.
Chadia also runs Mirath in Mind, a not-for-profit organisation founded in 2010 to promote and keep alive the cultural legacies of the arts, heritage and culture of the Arab and Lebanese world in Australia.
Each year Mirath in Mind celebrates a different ‘living Arab treasure’, whether it is an artist, writer or musician.