Thursday, January 28, 2016
Growing up in the small conservative town of Hanover, Pennsylvania, I did not know much about the Arab World. I had never met an Arab, nor had I ever heard a word of Arabic. All I heard about the Middle East and Islam had to do with terrorism and September 11th. I did not view the Arab World in a positive light due to my surroundings and lack of knowledge. Then I came to McDaniel College, and my curiosity led me to take Basic Arabic with Carol Zaru. From that point forward, the language, accompanied by my desire to learn and work ethic, has played a major role in my life. I am currently an Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies major, and even had the privilege to travel to Doha, Qatar last year with classmates and professors from McDaniel College. My experience there and the subsequent exposure it gave me to the Arab World and the culture within it has sparked my fascination. Whether it be making labneh for my family, listening to Arabic music, or learning some new vocabulary words, everyday I want to learn something new and unmask the rich culture. Even if the Arab World class was not a requirement for the Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies major, I would still be taking it. I am not taking it for my major, I am taking it to gain a better understanding of the culture, people, customs, and politics that surround the language I love. I watch the news and read stories about the Middle East and Arab World on a regular basis, and I hope to be a part of the solution to end the United State’s misunderstanding of the region. I want to gain knowledge of the history and culture of the Arab World and of Islam. I do not know a lot about Islam and what it means to be a Muslim, but I hope to learn more in order to better grasp all that is the Arab World. I am confident that Dr. Esa and my fellow classmates will help me to accomplish these goals.