Why learn Arabic at UNC Charlotte?
1. Arabic is the 5th most commonly spoken native language in the world.
Spoken by over 300 million native speakers, Arabic is the official language in over 20 countries throughout the world. Learning Arabic will allow you to develop skills for living, working, and interacting with people in a multitude of countries and to focus on specific details related to your career choices.
2. There is a high demand and low supply of Arabic-speakers in the Western world.
Because Arabic is an official language used in the United Nations, the Arab League, the Organization of Islamic Conference and the African Union among other world organizations, the need for speakers of Arabic in the U.S. government is important. Over the past 12 years, issues addressed through U.S. engagement in the Middle East and North Africa have intensified the need for Arabic speakers to conduct relations across a broad spectrum of needs.
The current situation is that very few Westerners pursue learning Arabic language and studying Arabic culture. An extreme shortage of individuals from the West who are well-versed in these areas has created a demand. Distinguish your professional abilities by learning a language that can be crucial to economic, political, and military demands in the 21st Century.
Less than 1 percent of U.S. college students will study Arabic language and culture. That is just 32,000 out of 21million total students. Be the student who stands out from the others, no matter your choice of professions. The fields of banking and finance, translation and interpretation, journalism, business, education, foreign service, consulting, industry, and even intelligence benefit from those who are able to comfortably navigate Arabic culture and language.
Private and nonprofit businesses as well as U.S. government agencies seek people with skills in Arabic to better understand and work with institutions working to improve economic development and the education of future generations. However, in the U.S., there are very few Arabic-speaking professionals. Learning Arabic will boost your professional credentials and enlighten your personal knowledge.
3. Arabic-speaking nations are a fast growing market for trade.
Opportunities in the 21st century to open the global economy to the Arab world thrive. The growing populations and needs for good and services enhance the potential for business development in Arab-speaking regions. This region with over 600 billion dollars annually in GDP has a multitude of prospects on the world market. Understanding the culture and the language of the people will strengthen the ability to conduct business and trade successfully.
4. Encourage a greater understanding of Arab culture in the U.S.
A 2010 Gallup poll found that in the U.S., many Arab-Americans have “personally experienced racial or religious discrimination in the past year,”—the highest percentage of the ethnic or religious groupings surveyed. As recently as 2014, only 32 percent of Americans polled view Arabs favorably.
While events in the Middle East have the ability to affect our daily lives, misinterpretation and miscommunication create a false and negative perspective of Arab people many Americans. These negative views of Arabs are likely formed by Americans’ limited exposure to the realities of Arab culture and stereotypes of Arabs portrayed in films, the media, and other sources.
Learning the Arabic language and about Arabic culture builds a deeper understanding and acceptance of the Arab world. The rich cultural, political and religious that embody the Arabic people provides a chance to view the world from a profound perspective. This stance will assist in bridging the cultural and linguistic differences, avoiding intercultural misunderstandings and successfully engage in international endeavors.
5. The Arab-speaking world has a rich cultural heritage
For centuries, the Arab culture has given the world exceptional music, mathematics, art, literature, cuisine, and a unique way of life. People in the West have read or heard the story of 1001 Nights, tried Middle Eastern foods like falafel or humus, and even know of belly dancing. These experiences are just the surface of a rich cultural heritage of which many Westerners are unaware. By learning about the Arabic world, you will explore distinct cultural products and practices and values crucially important to Arabic people—honor, dignity, and hospitality.
6. Gain insights into the second largest religion in the world
The most-practiced religion in the Arab world, Islam, informs its practitioners in their daily lives. They see the world through the teaching of Islam and conduct themselves according to its ideals. By studying Arabic, you will explore many Islamic beliefs and traditions that will then provide a foundation for creating stronger and more effective communications in your endeavors as well as sustaining deeper relationships.
7. Study abroad through scholarship opportunities
Students benefit from scholarship opportunities to study Arabic abroad at little or no cost. The Critical Language Scholarship Program, Arabic Overseas Language Flagship Program, and the National Security Education Program’s Boren Awards each provide focused, immersive experiences that enable you to reach much higher levels of linguistic and cultural proficiency than is achievable through U.S.-based study alone.
For more information, contact:
Department of Languages and Culture Studies
9201 University City Blvd.
Charlotte, NC 28223