College Update

Summer Arabic Intensive 2021

August 2021

by Maryam Awwal

“This is an amazing group of students—highly motivated, and very eager to learn. We are cruising through the summer, not only learning but enjoying the experience and building a community despite the challenges of remote learning.”

Visit Ustadha Nawal Laymoun's faculty page.

Here at the College, we recognize that learning is not limited—neither to classrooms and books nor to the regular school year. While many of our students took recess for the summer, the incoming freshman and sophomore classes engaged in the pursuit of learning Arabic through our Summer Arabic Intensive. In its first level, taken the summer before freshman year, the program introduces students to Modern Standard Arabic, aiming to help students achieve basic listening, reading, speaking, and writing competence in the language. In the summer before sophomore year, the program centers on a systematic study of standard Arabic morphology (‘ilm al-taṣrīf) and grammar (‘ilm al-naḥw) through Al-Ājarrūmiyyah, a comprehensive classical text by Ibn Ājarrūm (d. 1323). Alongside the yearly language courses, the intensive forms the backbone of our curriculum, fulfilling the oft-repeated advice given to new students—study Arabic, and do it well.  

Twenty-one students—including thirteen from the incoming freshman class from across the world—spent the bulk of their summer studying Arabic grammar, speaking, and reading, preparing for a life of learning. “This is an amazing group of students—highly motivated, and very eager to learn. We are cruising through the summer, not only learning but enjoying the experience and building a community despite the challenges of remote learning,” notes Ustadha Nawal Laymoun, the Arabic instructor for level 1 students.  

Fondly called “the SAI” by most students, the impact of this Summer Arabic Intensive is undeniable: “I feel like I’ve learned more Arabic in these few short weeks than I could ever learn in two or three standard, year-long college classes,” shares rising sophomore Nabil Zaman (’24). “The SAI has challenged me to step outside of my comfort zone and look at the language through a more analytic, critical lens. Unlike anything before, it has renewed my zeal to learn and understand the language of the Qur’an.”

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