Jun 242003
Authors: Shandra Jordan

The addition of an Arabic language course to CSU’s curriculum could open doors for students in business, travel and education.

“Learning the language will allow a better understanding between the West and the East in general,” said Mohammed Hirchi, the professor who will be teaching the new course. “It is also a way to introduce them to the culture where the language is spoken.”

There was originally one section for 25 students of L 180, beginning Arabic, but another section has since been added to accommodate demand. The class can be taken for four credits.

Arabic is added to the list of languages already taught at CSU bringing to total to nine.

Students have expressed interest in having Arabic offered for some time, said Sara Saz, the chair of the Department of Foreign Languages and Literature.

“Especially after the 11th of Sept. there’s an increasing interest in learning Arabic,” Hirchi said.

For now there is only one level of Arabic offered, but if students express an interest in continuing their studies advanced sections could be added, Saz said.

“There are so many millions of people in the world who speak Arabic,” Saz said. “There’s a need for students to get a closer understanding of the language and culture.”

Many universities teach Arabic as part of Middle Eastern studies or history, Hirchi said. A minor in Arabic could be created at CSU in the future, if there was enough interest, he said.

“It can offer a lot of professional opportunities for our students,” Hirchi said.

Shakir Muhammed, a junior executive committee member from the Islamic Center in Fort Collins said studying Arabic could help students in many ways.

“It will also help anyone who plans to do any international business,” Muhammed said. “With the rebuilding of Iraq and Afghanistan businesses are going to be getting involved and (students) can get the job just based on their language abilities.”

Hirchi expects that most students in the course will not have a background in Arabic. There are no prerequisites.

Hirchi has been teaching various courses at CSU for four years, including Business French, which he will continue to teach next semester. He has never formally taught Arabic in a university setting, though he has taught in informal settings. He is originally from Morocco.

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