Francesca Speed – Studying at Sultan Qaboos College, Oman

In Case Studies, Uncategorised by General Account

I was lucky enough to get a scholarship from the Anglo-Omani Society to study Arabic in Oman for two months during Summer 2019. This once-in-a-lifetime trip gave me the opportunity to discover Omani culture and history and develop my Arabic language skills. I am very grateful for this fantastic experience and would encourage other Arabic learners to apply for the scholarship.

Some highlights from my time in Oman:

I met like-minded people. We shared ideas, language tips and many discussions over the dinner table.

We discovered a beautiful country. The friendly team at the college organised fantastic trips each weekend. From the mountains, desert, coast and cities to the small villages, historical forts, and places of natural beauty; we met different people, saw many terrains and different animals.

We visited the Souq. My knowledge of Oud and dates definitely improved!

I loved the ornate decorative doors – there were many!

We met weekly with local language buddies. We could practise what we had learnt in class and perfect our speaking abilities. We discussed many different topics and discovered cultures together. We were lucky enough to get invited to a family wedding.

The study programme was intense with daily homework and exercises. We covered different topics and worked on all four disciplines during the 2 months (reading, writing, speaking and listening). The programme was well organised, the class size was perfect, not too big or small, allowing each student time to follow and contribute. The teachers were committed, enthusiastic and knowledgably. I started as advanced beginner and felt that I came home with a strong intermediate level of Arabic that I have been able to put to good use both professionally and personally! We had various additional sessions throughout the programme, a highlight being the calligraphy workshop!

The trip was an unforgettable experience of discovery, learning and self-development. The overall highlight of this trip was the story I told as part of our final oral exam in the last week. We each had to deliver a ten-minute presentation in Arabic in front of the class. I drew on everything we had learnt and wrote a story about the class, using the grammar and case endings learnt whilst mentioning funny anecdotes from the group’s adventures. I’m not a natural public speaker so this was a challenge in itself and I tried to emulate the poetic intonation employed by accomplished Arabic writers that we had listened to and studied throughout the programme. I got some laughs but more importantly there is a sense of achievement I feel now when I watch the video of me telling the story that continues to fuel my desire to learn and use Arabic.