With the world becoming an increasingly interconnected community, Centre College is ever more committed to providing its students with a truly global education.
With this in mind, Centre added Arabic to its course selection beginning with the 2019-20 academic year, an addition that complements the array of Asian language courses currently presented at the College.
The sequence—110 and 120—is offered in both the fall and spring semesters, giving students the opportunity to expand their linguistic and cultural horizons. If there is demand for upper-level courses, they will be offered in the 2020-21 academic year.
The beginning course introduces students to the vocabulary and grammar of the language and helps develop their interpersonal skills with group discussions and one-on-one conversations. By the end of the semester, students will have a working knowledge of Arabic and be able to formulate their own thoughts and opinions in an entirely new way.
Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College Ellen Goldey acknowledge’s the importance of adding this course, citing the language’s relevance in art, politics and values.
“The opportunity to study Arabic will bring even more into the lives of Centre College students.”
Sami Sweis, a visiting instructor of history who is teaching the new courses, notes that students from various academic disciplines are enrolled in the beginning course to broaden their horizons.
“It complements the Asian languages already offered and will be a wonderful addition to the Asian studies minor,” he explains. “Yet, here at Centre, Arabic will actually be part of the French department to support Franco-Arab studies.”
Sweis says this supplement to the French program highlights the historic ties Arabic has to Europe through the Middle East and North Africa.
“Being connected to both Asian studies and French is exciting, because the configuration mirrors how historically the Arab world bridged three continents (Europe, Africa and Asia).
“The fact that so many different fields are eagerly finding ways for Arabic to complement their studies nicely illustrates how naturally Arabic fits into Centre’s curriculum,” he says.
According to Sweis, Arabic is also the only Semitic language offered at Centre, which attracts linguistics majors as well.
“Language learning is a crucial aspect of a liberal arts education, because it opens students’ eyes to new worlds, ideas and sources of knowledge that are not typically at their disposal.
“At a time when it feels as though the world fits into the smartphones in our pockets, Centre’s world just keeps getting bigger and bigger,” he concludes.
by Centre College News
December 5, 2019