Farhiya Shaban - Arabic
Pronouns: She / Her
Year: Senior, graduating in 2022
Minor: Arabic & Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies and Humanities
Awards & Accomplishments: Dean's List fall 2018, 2019 & summer 2020; Dean Scholar spring 2020 & fall 2020; Porter Award; Kniffely Award; Psi Chi Chapter Award.
Clubs & Organizations: Porter Scholar; Psi Chi; Spava (Society for the Prevention of Aggressiveness and Violence amongst Adolescents); RaiseRED Service Ambassador; TRIO, President of honor mentorship program.
How has your language learning experience benefited you and how do you feel Arabic will help you in your future?
Learning Arabic has given me vital language skills. It challenged me to think critically in every aspect of what I do. In the west, we have accepted many misconceptions about Arab communities due to biased media coverages and the stereotypical depiction of the Middle East we continuously see in movies. Studying Arabic has increased my awareness in discriminatory acts directed to the Arab community. It has also influenced my interested in advocacy. In the future, I would like to work and advocate for children in refugee camps. Arabic will aid me in this career path because the majority of refugees today speak or understand Arabic. Learning a language has opened up many opportunities for me. Two years ago, I would have never thought to continue my language studies abroad. However, once you get a grasp on a new language you broaden your perspectives and your ability to empathize with others who are different from you.
What tips or advice do you have for other students learning Arabic or any other language?
I highly recommend minoring in whatever language you are pursuing. This will enable you to create a relationship with your professors and get an in-depth understanding of both the language and culture of your studies. If you are struggling remember that there are many outlets that you can utilize to become successful. My experiences with my Arabic language professors were nothing short of amazing. The class is not all about receiving a passing grade, the Arabic professors want you to learn and take something from your experiences from the course. With that being said your professor, tutors, and fellow classmates are excellent resources if you are struggling.
What is your favorite thing about the Arabic Program at UofL?
My favorite thing about the Arabic program would be the structure of the course. Students know what to expect in the upcoming lectures. The courses are also heavy on class participation. Even though speaking in class may be difficult for most, it is the best way for students to retain information and learn from their professors and peers. I believe the my public speaking is much better due to my Arabic courses.