At the suggestion of community members, a new language class has been added at Arizona Western College.
For those interested in learning Arabic, there is now an opportunity to enroll in an introductory course on the language. Registration recently opened for Arabic 070, a late-start course that will begin Oct. 9. There are no prerequisites, and it will meet on AWC's campus Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:55 to 7:15 p.m.
Students will be introduced to various facets of standard Arabic, including the alphabet, vocabulary terms, grammar and syntax, said Nicolas Hanhan, who will be teaching the course. Hanhan is also AWC's Distance Education Department instructional coordinator.
"The course is designed for students to develop a solid foundation for listening and speaking basic words and phrases used throughout the Arab world," stated AWC officials.
Hanhan said Arabic was his first language. He is from Lebanon, where Arabic is the official language.
Before students begin Arabic 070, Hanhan suggested they research the language to see if it's something they would be interested in.
"I started a Spanish class last semester and I took an introductory French class. I think (Arabic) language is like any other language, maybe a little bit different, but anyone who has the commitment to learn I think will be successful."
Dean of instruction Linda Elliott-Nelson said this course is one of six languages taught on campus. AWC currently offers courses in English, Spanish, American Sign Language, French, German — and now Arabic.
"Once the U.S. became more involved in the Middle East and because the Yuma area has such a significant military presence, there were more and more questions coming in from the community if Arabic was something that we'd be able to provide," she said.
Elliott-Nelson said the process to offer the course in Yuma has taken several years as it was difficult to find someone to teach the language. She added that they also are looking for a part-time instructor for their German course.
Arabic 070, as well as other language courses at AWC, can be taken individually, not as part of a degree. As an instructor of a conversational Spanish course herself, Elliott-Nelson said she has many community members taking her course out of personal interest to be able to speak and understand the language.
"Sometimes if someone takes a foreign language course like that, they have family or they want to travel or they've maybe always been fascinated by the culture."