Reham Mohsen, a Fulbright scholar from Egypt, is bringing her culture to SIUE.
After the popularity of teaching Arabic classes last year, SIUE is now offering a more advanced class for students this fall.
The classes were first taught on campus last year and International Admissions Specialist Sandra Tamari said they were a success.
"The university would love to hire a full-time Arabic professor. There's a lot of interest in the course," Tamari said. "Arabic is one of those critical languages and cultures that people are interested in. It's in demand in businesses, the military and in government."
Director of International Programs Ron Schaefer said it also helps students connect on a global aspect.
"It's extremely valuable because it gives us a broader range of languages and that is important as far as recognizing changes in the world," Schaefer said.
The professors currently teaching the courses come from the Fulbright program, which Tamari said is set up like an exchange program.
"It's a program run through the state department," Tamari said. "The U.S. sends scholars around the world and it brings in international scholars."
Schaefer said having someone who is actually from another country is for the students' benefit.
"It's not like reading a book on the Arabic language," Schaefer said. "You actually get to meet someone from that country."
Mohsen is currently a graduate assistant in the Foreign Languages and Literature Department. She first taught the course last year and liked it so much she applied for her master's degree in curriculum and instruction in the School of Education so she could continue to teach.
"I was a teacher back in Egypt and it is great to teach my language at SIUE," Mohsen said. "The dean told me they were interested in teaching Arabic so I applied for my master's. I'm grateful to everyone here."
Mohsen said she is aware many Americans may have a different perception of the Arabic culture, especially after the attacks of Sept. 11.
"It's sad, but it's time we need to get this misunderstanding clear," Mohsen said, "and by teaching Arabic we can get it understood."
Mohsen said the Fulbright program helps her to get her message across.
"It's fantastic, in my experience here I've learned a lot," Mohsen said. "I've experienced a different life, and that's what I try to relate to my students. Americans are fascinated by different people and I try to bring my culture here."
Junior biomedical sciences major Anthony Abdo of Harrisburg said the class is not one that would help him with his major but he recommends it to everyone.
Abdo said the class helps with the perceptions of Arabic speaking countries since the instructor takes the time to speak about the regions in which the language is spoken. He took the introductory class last year since it is part of his heritage.
"I speak Arabic at home with my family," Abdo said. "I just didn't know how to read or write it so that's why I'm taking the class."
Abdo said he plans on going overseas next summer as part of an exchange program.