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Language Intensive Courses are Great Option for New Learners

After their 5-week Arabic intensive, students Evan Martin and Jasmin De La Sierra share their experiences with learning a new language.

To the regular student, taking an intensive course in a language they have no familiarity with might seem like a daunting task–but according to the students who took the 5 week Arabic intensive course in the Department of World Languages & Cultures at NC State, it’s among the best options for new language learners.

Evan Martin was completely new to Arabic when he took the intensive course in summer 2023, and even the alphabet is different, so he and other students were truly starting a new language from scratch. He told me at first it was intimidating and he looked at this new alphabet and asked himself “what have I done?” But he said that quickly changes and he now feels comfortable with the letters and sounds. Now he feels inspired enough to look into study abroad programs in Jordan or other places where the language is spoken.

Evan says: “Trust the process, it really works. You’ll look back on it months later, as I am, and think, “wow, I know Arabic. I can read right to left now, I know all of these letters. It all starts to have meaning.”

Jasmine De La Sierra was also very new to Arabic and described the beginning as “intense,” a common reaction when beginning a new language, particularly in the summer. “[But] It’s worth it, it’s better than taking it in a regular session. You think you’re not soaking it in, and looking back on it now I thought to myself “there’s no way,” but seeing now and practicing everything I learned–I feel confident. It’s definitely worth it.”

Jasmine wants to continue taking Arabic classes as far as NCState will let her, and she knows it will help her achieve her goals of getting into the FBI, and she urges any student that is nervous about taking a language class to go the intensive route and to surprise themselves. In the future, she hopes to travel with her classmates and to go on to bigger dreams of career success. “My curiosity with the Middle East and my career field of Criminal Justice is what interested me in Arabic, and having this under my belt will definitely help me,” she explained. “The Professors were really helpful too, they’ll help more than you think they will. They make you feel included, and are welcoming to questions.”

Come see what doors can be opened for you in World Languages & Cultures!