Why I’m Studying Arabic

As some of you may know, I’ve been living in Cairo for more than three months now. I’ve explored 14th-century souks, gone camping in the Saharan Desert, and swam in the Red Sea. I’ve had some of the most magical experiences of my life with friends that I’ve learned to love after only a few months. I know this is going to be a time in my life that I look back on and reminisce, with longing and happiness sitting warm in my heart.

 

However, I haven’t really talked about what I’ve been doing here. Since October, I’ve attended about three hundred hours of Arabic instruction. I study Fusha and Ameyya. Fusha is the Modern Standard form of Arabic, otherwise referred to as Quranic Arabic. Besides being the oldest spoken form of Arabic, Fusha is the language that is spoken on news channels, written in books and religious texts, and is widely understood throughout the Middle East and North Africa. It is also one of the six official languages of the UN.

arabic letters

Ameyya, or Masri, is the Egyptian Colloquial Arabic. This is an important dialect to learn while one studies Arabic, as Egypt, Cairo specifically, is the “Hollywood of the Arab World.” Most major films, songs, and television shows are all shot and recorded in Egypt. This has led to the Egyptian dialect, Ameyya, to be almost entirely understood throughout the entire Arab world. Considering that there are twenty-six countries with Arabic as an official language, you could see why this would be so valuable.

ameyya

After Egypt, I’ll leave for Italy and then Germany. I’m keen to be back in Europe and to see some old friends while sticking to my usual tune by the name of language schools. I’ll be studying Italian in Sorrento, after a short trip to Rome to see my friend Diana from Brussels and my dear old host mother from my last stay in Rome. Then I’ll head to Berlin for a month, where I’ll be staying with a host family and studying German at a school in Berlin Mitte.

If it’s not obvious by now, languages are my thing. I speak French, German, Italian, and Arabic. In the future, I hope to complete my knowledge in Spanish and to pursue Portuguese, Russian, Korean, and Japanese. It’ll probably take me decades, if not my whole life. So why Arabic? Why now?

Well, I’m a media kind of girl. I love my Netflix and my iTunes. With Praxis, a business school I’m in, I’ll be set up to work in marketing for a few years. But after that, I’m going straight to LA or New York to pursue my lifelong ambition of making movies. I not only want to act in them but also produce, write and direct television and films. I know I’m going to do it too. Because I’m am determined and ambitious; not one to be content sitting in an office for the rest of my life knowing that I could have accomplished something but didn’t.

So that’s where Arabic comes in. Actually, that’s where all my languages come in. I want to make foreign films. I was inspired by Blue Is The Warmest Color, Amélie, Pan’s Labyrinth, Il Postino, La Dolce Vita, Spirited Away, Life Is Beautiful and countless others. I was changed by them. I want to show other cultures and ways of life through cinema.

So in the end, I will shoot a kick-ass movie in Egypt, show what Egypt actually looks like. Because, no, it is not a desert where old men in turbans ride camels all day. This is a complex and diverse country with so much emotion and culture that has been overlooked through Western media. I will bring it justice.

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