Hundreds of students across Tucson Unified School District are learning to read, write and speak in Arabic.
For nearly the past decade, Cholla High School and Safford K-8 have offered Arabic, in addition to Spanish, French, German and American Sign Language.
Cholla High School teacher Nour Jindali, a native of Syria who moved to the U.S. in 1994, said it's time for young people to learn about Middle-Eastern culture, which at times can be misrepresented.
"Very important, especially right now with the critical issues like what's going now in the Middle-East. People need to start understand the other people. We have to have some way we can bridge and connect to the other world. "
Qatar Foundation International awarded TUSD a $111,000 grant, allowing the district to expand its Arabic program to three schools, Dwight Elementary, Doolen Middle and Catalina High.
A number of students noted the benefits of learning Arabic and exploring Middle-Eastern culture.
Preciosa Orozco, a Cholla High sophomore, aspires to join the U.S. Armed Forces one day.
"It'll be beneficial because the Marines, we are based in a lot of Arab countries so there's a lot of different places where I can use the Arabic language to help me in the process of getting to certain places I need to be."
Jose Garcia, senior at Cholla said the class has educated him on the realities of Middle Eastern life.
"There's no religion where you won't find somebody who takes it to the extreme. Of course there's always going to be generalizations but you just need to educate yourself on it and not fall victim to ignorance."
TUSD's Arabic language program is supported by the U.S. Department of Education and Qatar Foundation International.
TUSD is the only major public school district in Arizona that offers Arabic.
More than 600 students are enrolled in the program within TUSD.