Written by Hannah Mouradian, (American University), Student Correspondent for CET Jordan: Intensive Language, Spring 2020
I take Arabic very seriously and sometimes—and by sometimes, I mean most of the time, I get frustrated with myself easily and obsess over my mistakes. As a language learner, this part of my personality is a blessing and a curse. It is a blessing because I spend time dissecting readings, practicing my pronunciation, and one of my favorite feelings is the sense of accomplishment after finishing homework. However, it is also a curse because when I make a mistake in class I will think about it all day and it will weigh on my confidence.
A few weeks ago, I was feeling quite overwhelmed and disappointed with myself in class, so I decided to have a night in my room instead of going out with friends for dinner. Later that night when I was in bed with the lights turned off, I heard a knock on my apartment door. Shortly after that, my friends proceeded to come into my room and give me my favorite flavor of wafers. Similarly, my friend and I had a page of our final paper due on the weekend and we decided to go to a cafe to work on it together. When we finished, I asked her if she wanted kanafeh, which is a very popular dessert in Jordan. We took a taxi to the closest kanafeh place and as soon as we got in line she decided to tell me she did not want any kanafeh in the first place.
If you know anything about me, you know that I love learning grammar. In the Arabic language, there is sentence known as the noun sentence and it consists of two parts: the subject and the predicate, or in Arabic, المبتدأ والخبر. After class one day, one of my closest friends told me I was the خبر to her مبتدأ, in English, the predicate to her subject. The main point is in this grammatical structure the subject and the predicate are inseparable; where there is a subject there is always a predicate. If I could give one piece of advice to anyone studying abroad, I would say that is important to find people who will always support you and are a source of positivity. True friends are refreshing and force you to realize that you are more than a student studying a language, rather, that is just a part of you and your mistakes and struggles in and outside of class do not define you. So ultimately, find people that will buy your favorite snack because they know you are feeling anxious despite having a long day of studying. Find someone who will go downtown with you for kanafeh just because they know you want it. Find the predicate to your subject, find the خبر to your مبتدأ.