Unto the Breach

Hello readers!

This will appear whenever our internet at the flat works. Which could be a little while. This is Tuesday as I’m writing, just so you can get your bearings if this doesn’t publish until 2015. Not totally out of the question.

I won’t lie, I’ve never been enormously good at waiting. So today, for example, when we were stressing about it bring our first ever lesson etc etc and how apallingly we were going to do (it isn’t just me that’s had jittery first-day-of-term conversations right?), the teacher rocking up 10 minutes late and cool as a cucumber took a little getting used to. And the fact that this is what everybody does. Having grown up in a world of Give It To Me Fast Or I Leave And Take My Business With Me, living in a world that is more like We’re Academic But Only If I Can Take My Own Sweet Time So Chill Out is quite odd. Nevertheless, it makes it pretty fun! And, of course, it’s all part of the learning curve.

By some admin error, this morning I was in the Intermediate 1 class (and although I was meant to be 2 levels down, I survived pretty well! I am reliably informed that it got a lot worse mind you), we had to talk about whether or not travel is important. Naturally, it was a little beyond me to say “it’s absolutely necessary because otherwise we remain in a little bubble all the days of our lives and never experience the richness of sweet variety”, but I did manage “it is good because we study the world”. If, in semi-darkness, you close one eye and squint, I feel that sentence could almost pass as profound. Well done me.

Speaking of what I can say in Arabic…

Coming here is rather a shock after the super-sheltered tuition of one lovely teacher in a little class of 14 people that you all know. The main thing that is cramping my Intermediate 1 style is not having learned some things that other people think are very important. After 2 years of study, I find myself in Beginners Two (bearing in mind Beginners One learns the alphabet). And yet, after the initial surprise, I can see why. The thing is, you see, I could conjugate 27 verbs for you into every different tense, but I couldn’t tell you what the weather is like if it isn’t “sunny and hot”. Genuinely, our homework for tomorrow is 2 pages of the textbook about the weather, and I am so worried that I’ll make a complete hash of it. It’s really odd what people thing is and isn’t necessary to learn when starting a language. Having to pick and choose which bits of someone else’s mother tongue don’t matter and which are probably useful. And when you arrive in the country, it always feels like you learned the wrong bits. However, today we were all able to say to the waiters that their chicken skewers were better than Atlas Chicken (high praise indeed, considering Atlas is meant to be the best rotisserie chicken in the world. It’s not. Go to Tesco.) entirely successfully. But only because they spoke Fasah (classical Arabic). Heaven forbid any real people actually speak any dialects! It’s not like the English speak anything other than pure Windsor-esque anyway. Right?

Anyway, I need my beauty sleep to tackle the ultimate mission that is Beginners Two Homework in the morning.

“Stay tuned for more profoundly witty insights from the middle-England blogging wonder that is

Hannah McCallum”

I am a final year BA International Relations student at Sussex University, and I'm also studying the Arabic Language Elective Pathway. Alongside this, I am acting as a Student Language Ambassador, in hopes of convincing the world that a language is a beautiful thing :)

Posted in Uncategorized
One comment on “Unto the Breach
  1. Christine Ho says:

    Hope you guys are having fun! I felt so overwhelmed in Beginners 2, but it’s nice to be in such a challenging environment! Look forward to reading about the rest of your adventure 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *