Whether you’re a retiree looking to learn, a working professional looking to get ahead, a college student looking for a language elective or a parent looking for a way to enrich their child’s education, a new language is typically the answer. When people choose a language to study, often, it isn’t Arabic. Arabic, however, is a great language to learn now. If you’re still on the fence about learning Arabic, here are 10 reasons to learn it:
1. Arabic is in high demand.
U.S. government agencies are seeking proficient Arabic speakers now more than ever. Learning Arabic won’t only get you ahead in a government career, but it will also give you a leg up in any industry in business, engineering, medical, nonprofit and international relations. Knowing Arabic can help you build valuable business relationships with business people in wealthy Middle Eastern countries like Qatar and United Arab Emirates. Currently, the demand in the U.S. for Arab speakers far exceeds supply. If you’re a college student, learning Arabic will easily let you stand out from other job applicants. In fact, less than 1 percent of college students study Arabic.
Arabic is the native language of the region that shaped many world events and international policies. Arabic is also spoken by 300 million people spread all over the world. It is one of the top 5 most spoken languages.
2. Gain valuable language skills in a variety of Middle East countries.
Some languages are widespread such as Spanish and French that allow you to travel and work in numerous countries around the world. Other languages, like Chinese, force you to concentrate and work in only a handful of countries. Arabic is a blend of the these. There are 20 countries in the Middle East where Arabic is the national language. It gives you travel and work opportunities to different countries, yet it is still specific to not be widely spoken by your peers.
3. Get international experience in important countries.
Traveling and study abroad is an option available to students studying a language. While many go to Europe or Latin America, few go to countries such as Morocco, Egypt, Jordan or Lebanon. These countries, among other Middle Eastern countries are of great importance and interest to US businesses and government. With few Americans in the Middle East in a language program, the local context, culture, business practices and the formation of key relationships are struggling to be realized.
4. Learn about the world’s second largest religion.
Islam is the second largest religion in the world, and the first largest religion in the Arab world. Islam is not only a religion to many Arabs, but also a lifestyle. When studying Arabic, you are not only learning a language but you also gain insight about Islamic beliefs and traditions.
5. Help create a better understanding of Arab culture in the United States
Learning Arabic can help you better communicate with both Arabs and other Americans. In studying Arabic, you’ll have a better grasp of the Arab culture, including its religion: Islam. The more you know about these, the better equipped you’re apt to educate people about Arabs.
6. Allows you to act as an ambassador.
Just as there are negative sentiments among Americans towards Arabs, Arabs tend to have a negative view of Americans. Knowing both English and Arabic will help you spread awareness and more accurate view of both Arabs and Americans toward each other.
7. Offers greater travel opportunities.
No matter if it is through school in the form of a study abroad or language immersion program or simply business travel, knowing Arab will expand your travel horizons to include the Middle East and Africa.
8. Choose the dialect that most interests you.
Arabic has many different dialects, each with its own unique flavor and style. Instead of learning the basic Modern Standard Arabic which is the formal Arabic spoken all over the world, choose the dialect most frequently spoken in the country you’re most interested in. Learning a specific dialect will make learning Arabic even funner.
9. Exciting and unique language immersion opportunities.
Language immersion is fun and exciting. In the Middle East, there is no such thing as a boring day. Arabs are very hospitable and are eager to be your friend. Being immersed in the culture and traditions of an Arab country will give you a bigger picture of viewing the world, others and yourself.
10. The Arab language can help you earn money.
The economy in the Middle East is growing. There are also many job opportunities. Knowing Arabic will help you learn the Middle Eastern business culture and equip you to make strong, key personal business relationships.