We met with Maria, a recent PG Arabic graduate from Italy who has just completed her MSc Advanced Arabic at the Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies department, University of Edinburgh. In an interview with Maria, we asked the following questions:
- Tell us about yourself (name, origins, current degree/studies, academic background, university & graduation year, professions, etc.)
My name is Maria Stella Dodaro and I’m from Italy. I obtained a BA in Arabic and Islamic Studies from SOAS, London, in 2016. After finishing the MSc Advanced Arabic at the University of Edinburgh in August 2017, I immediately started my current job as a Re-settlement Co-Ordinator for Syrian refugees resettled in a London borough.
- How long have you been studying Arabic? What is your current level?
I have been studying Arabic for five years and although my level is advanced and I am now into work, I am still learning something new everyday.
- What made you decide to study the Arabic language and culture? What & who inspired you? What were your motivations?
I have a natural incline towards the studying of languages. Back in Italy I studied ancient Latin and Greek, then English and some French. I felt like I was in need of a new challenge, and in 2012 we started to hear more and more about the Arab uprisings and what is now known as the “Arab spring”. It was then then I decided I wanted to know more about those countries and thus the Arabic language. Also, I decided to study Arabic in the UK because of the excellent quality in UK higher education and in order to improve my English.
- Have you had any ups and downs while learning Arabic?
My love relationship with Arabic will never end 🙂
- What careers are you planning to pursue (or have embarked on) using your Arabic language skills?
I am now supporting some of the Syrian refugees resettled in the UK, thus using my Arabic on a daily basis. My dream is to become an Arabic interpreter for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
- What does it take to become an excellent student of Arabic? What recommendations would you give to anyone interested in learning Arabic?
Take the first two years of Arabic studying very seriously. And make the most out of your time spent learning Arabic in Arab countries.
“My Journey to Arabic” is a blog to capture learners’ stories and their fascinating journeys towards mastering the Arabic language and culture.