Learning Arabic in Palestine is not only about the courses you’ll be taking, it’s an experience, and one you won’t forget. Not only do you get to learn a spoken dialect of Arabic, one widely understood throughout the Arab world, but you get to practice it every day when you leave the classroom. In addition to this you’ll get the opportunity to learn more about the culture here, something important to learning any language, but something which is imperative to learning. Finally, for someone learning Arabic the desire is usually rooted in an interest in the region. Coming to Palestine to study the Arabic language helps satiate these multiple desires, giving you a taste of not only the rich Arab language and the culture surrounding it, but also the issues facing Palestinians in their daily lives.
You may or may not realize that there are two different types of Arabic depending on your level, both formal and informal. Formal Arabic is used when reading or listening to the news in Arabic. Informal on the other hand is what you learn to converse with native Arabic speakers. The best part about learning the Palestinian dialect is that it’s so similar to Jordanian, Lebanese, and Syrian dialects meaning that other than a few nuances you will be able to understand them and they you. In the end the best place to study spoken Arabic is in the region, especially because it entails a culture very conducive to practicing it.
This is because it is a culture of warmth and hospitality. It’s difficult to walk down the street without someone stopping you to try and get to know you, help you, or ask about what you’re doing in Palestine. This makes learning the language much easier whether you’re staying with a host family or on your own because you can always find someone to speak with, someone to practice the Arabic language with. Also, don’t worry if you haven’t got any Arabic background because immersion is the best way to learn quickly, and if you ever find yourself lost or in trouble someone will always show up to help you. This could mean an elderly man taking you by the hand to help you hail a cab, or someone walking you halfway across town to his cousin’s shop helping you find what you’re looking for.
In addition to learning about Palestinian culture you will learn about their everyday struggle under the occupation firsthand. This is likely important to many of you who are studying Arabic out of an interest in the Middle East. A region where one of the largest problems facing it happens to be the conflict between Israel and Palestine. This is a conflict which you can only really begin to understand with firsthand, on the ground experience. While there is so much information about it coming out of governments, media, and research it’s difficult to really get a grasp of it unless you spend time here in Palestine.
When studying a language you need to study the culture as well, otherwise you’ll be missing out on some of its key components. This is especially important in Arabic, specifically the Palestinian dialect because the culture here is so conducive to learning it. Being here will also set fire within you, driving you to learn the language because after speaking to Palestinians and realizing just how helpful and friendly they are, in addition to the situation they find themselves in, you will want to be able to speak with them in their native tongue. While learning standard Arabic is important, learning a spoken dialect is much more rewarding and Palestine is the best place to do it if you want to embrace the culture surrounding it.