Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants


Reasons for Investing in and Continuing the Study of Arabic for Non-Native Speakers: Opportunities and Challenges


Modern Languages & Literatures Department


College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Date Range



Arts and Humanities


The number of students who are taking Arabic in universities and colleges across the United States has increased significantly over the past decade. Most major universities and many smaller colleges and universities are now offering Arabic compared to the nineties, for example, when the number of colleges/universities was rather limited. The substantial increase in the number of students taking Arabic has presented opportunities for students, but it also presented many challenges facing teachers and students of Arabic alike. The purpose of this paper, then, is to explore these opportunities and challenges by examining data from the Modern Languages Association and studies on teaching Arabic in American colleges and universities. The paper will focus on one sample, Grand Valley State University as an example of a public institution, by circulating a survey among our students, then examining and analyzing the data. The goal, in the end, is to understand the reasons for why students invest in taking Arabic and how that data can help us channel the program toward such goals, arguing that such study not only benefits the student, but it also builds linguistic and cultural bridges between Arabs and Americans.

Conference Name

Third International Conference On the Arabic Language

Conference Location

United Arab Emirates, Dubai

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