We met with Marvin, a PG Arabic student from Germany who is a Master’s student in in Middle Eastern Studies with Arabic at the Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies department, University of Edinburgh. In an interview with Marvin , we asked the following questions:
- Tell us about yourself (name, origins, current degree/studies, academic background, university & graduation year, professions, etc.)
I’m Marvin and am currently on the MSc in Middle Eastern Studies with Arabic programme. I’m originally from Germany and have spent the last four years at the University of Aberdeen receiving an MA in Politics and International Relations in 2017.
- How long have you been studying Arabic? What is your current level?
I have studied Arabic for two years and am now at an intermediate level in written Arabic.
- What made you decide to study the Arabic language and culture? What & who inspired you? What were your motivations?
My first encounter with Arabic was accidental. I had spare credits to fill in my first year of study and I decided to do “something different”. After a while I began to enjoy studying the language and realised how useful it could be when studying politics in the Middle East, an area where your research could actually make a difference.
- Have you had any ups and downs while learning Arabic?
Unfortunately, I have had a two year break in which I could only occasionally use my Arabic through self-study.
- What careers are you planning to pursue using your Arabic language skills?
I’m hoping to start an academic career focusing on the Middle East and in order to conduct original and independent research it is essential to have a high command of the language both written and spoken.
- What does it take to become an excellent student of Arabic? What recommendations would you give to anyone interested in learning Arabic?
If you’re interested in learning Arabic try to learn a dialect rather than MSA, find people you can practise your Arabic with. There is nothing more satisfying and motivating about learning a new language than applying it in the real world.
“My Journey to Arabic” is a blog to capture learners’ stories and their fascinating journeys towards mastering the Arabic language and culture.