UTICA - The war in Iraq is opening doors to a number of top employment opportunities. According to an instructor at Utica College, the federal government is always looking for translators, and some students are challenging themselves to learn the Arabic language.
"The opportunity is there now for high position, high pay position, to know Arabic, whether to be in the middle east or in the state department, of course, to be employed with the State Department or the United Nation," Professor Kamil Rahme said.
Kamil Rahme teaches Arabic at Utica College. Some students take the class for its culture. Others are aware of the benefits that come with learning it.
"If they know...if you know Arabic...at least write it or understand it a little bit, you have the opportunity to get the job," Rahme said.
Rahme would know. Six months ago he was offered a job as a translator in Iraq. A position that paid a quarter of a million dollars. He didn't take it, but criminal justice students took note.
"I think as the word gets out and students are better educated in terms of what studying Arabic will actually entail, the enrollments will continue to increase," said Linda Zee, head of the foreign language department at Utica College.
Brace yourself though - Arabic is challenging to say the least.
"It's not an easy language," Rahme said. "I believe it's the second hardest language in the world."
It might have something to do with the 28 character alphabet. Or maybe the fact that you read it and write it backwards.