Today's global climate has garnered heightened interest in the Arab World in general and its language and culture in particular. To meet the demands for Arab language specialists to work in the public, private and governmental sectors, The University of Mississippi has established an exciting Intensive Arabic Language program, which also offers students the ability to minor and/or major in Arabic.
The Arabic program at The University of Mississippi is founded on the functional approach to language learning providing the greatest number of contact hours with the language as possible through practice with native Arab language partners, Arabic Language Clubs, visiting speakers of Arabic, and weekly one-on-one 30-minute sessions with an Arabic instructor.
Inspired by US Army’s combat readiness training (a type of experiential learning conducted at the Fort Irwin National Training Center in California that involves full-immersion cultural simulations), the Intensive Arabic Program at the University of Mississippi annually participates in an interdisciplinary experiential live exercise. A tactical maneuver exercise that involves around 300 students from three different disciplines (i.e., the Intensive Arabic Program, ROTC, and the Meek School of Journalism and New Media), places students of these three disciplines together in a simulated real-world scenario, shedding light on the role each field plays to the students of the other fields. This effort is predicated, after decades of teaching Arabic at the college level, on the effort to divorce the ever-present notion that second language learning is a purely academic endeavour whereby the student of the language merely substitutes foreign words for their English equivalents; rather we aim to effectively marry the learner to the second language through situated, in-context, experiential language usage--such that the language becomes 'real', and its power can be felt not just in what is said, but how it could be said to bring about the desired result.