Ahla! So I am almost a week into classes and I feel I can now give an adequate explanation of each class. My schedule is as follows:
Monday & Wednesday: Intermediate Lebanese Arabic 2-4 pm
Tuesday & Thursday: Comparative Politics 8-9:15 am; Arab Culture & Society 9:30-10:45 am; Formal Arabic IV 2-4 pm
Friday: Intermediate Lebanese Arabic 2-3 pm; Formal Arabic IV 3-4 pm
So basically what we have here is a doo doo schedule. I was hoping for Mondays or Fridays off and I was certainly neverrrr planning on taking another 8am after freshman year’s Calculus encounter. Big mistake. BIG.
Alas, I have realized I am here to learn sooo I bit the bullet and signed up for the classes I both need and should take when in Beirut.
What’s really nice about Politics, Arab Culture, and Formal Arabic IV is that by taking these classes I will have completed my Arabic and International Affairs minors. Yay! I have a feeling senior Hayley will really appreciate this thoughtful junior Hayley deed. And then there’s Lebanese Arabic. Really hard, but I am in Lebanon and feel it would be a total waste to not take this course. Plus, it came so highly recommended! Thanks, Alli!
Comparative Politics – This is the last class needed to fulfill my International Affairs minor. I thought it would be boring because it’s the sort of intro type of class they offer at universities far and wide, but the first few classes have been pretty exciting. It’s so interesting to be in a class of Lebanese students (aside from me, one other American girl, and an Italian boy – a molto cute Italian boy btw) and hear opinions about political systems and governments. Today, our professor told us how Lebanon would never have mass protest like the other Arab countries and this made many of the students upset. “WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT, SIR??” and “I HAVE NUMBERS TO PROVE TO YOU WE COULD DO IT, SIR!” No matter how much the students disagreed or clearly thought the professor was out of his mind, they were always polite enough to add a “sir” at the end as if that negated any disrespect. “THAT IS COMPLETE AND UTTER BULLSHIT, SIR!” Well, that last one hasn’t happened, but we’ve only had two days of this class so far.
Even though America certainly has it’s own problems (i.e. unemployment, hefty deficit, Lindsay Lohan), I feel really proud to be an American when in this class. The professor is always talking about our sturdy political system. On a side note, it’s weird stepping back and thinking about living in a place with no government. No head leader. Yet, everyone goes about their business. It’s a strange thing. People just want to lead normal lives, politics aside.
Arab Culture & Society – Yay! Another requirement fulfiller! This class is actually an anthropology class which requires we take field notes while in eating in cafes, taking cabs, etc. to really learn about Arab culture. I am really excited to be here taking this requirement because I think it will be so much more effective than taking it at Northeastern for obvious reasons.
Intermediate Lebanese Arabic – This class is going to be a challenge. The professor is both warm and kind, yet regimented. She has expectations, but promises a 200% improvement in our speaking skills by the end of the semester. I thought about not taking this course, but I’ve heard such wonderful things about the professor and the course that I could not resist. Plus, I thought it rude to avoid learning the language of the country I now inhabit. For God’s sake, they don’t have a government to unify them, but they do have a language and as God is my witness, I will struggle to speak that language!
Formal Arabic IV – This fulfills my final requirement for my Arabic minor, inshallah! Completing Arabic I-III at Northeastern has been no picnic in the park so I am quite frightened for this next level. It is going to be a lot a lot of work and studying, but if I can pull it off it will be so worth the work.
All in all, classes here seem to be much more rigorous than classes at Northeastern. They really expect a lot in terms of reading, self-study, participation, and ambition. It’s both inspiring and panic attack-inducing. So I’ve bid ado to my dreams of an easy semester abroad coupled nightly bar crawls and new countries every weekend. Still, this semester has already proven to be an amazing experience. I guess I’ll just have to except it as educational as well. Gee whiz.
Sorry for this exceptionally boring post. Life can’t be all fun and games STEP OFF