Throughout August, AKU-ISMC’s students travelled to a number of countries to complete their Language Immersion Programme which forms part of the Institute’s Master’s Programme. Students studying Arabic travelled to Tunisia, while those studying Farsi travelled to Iran.
Students in Tunisia studied at the Institut Bourguiba Pour les Langues Vivantes, Tunis and students in Iran took courses at the Dehkhoda Centre for Languages, Tehran. Students participated in intensive language classes at their respective schools and had the opportunity to engage in activities that immersed them in the local cultures.
Classes were held in Arabic or Farsi on subject matter as diverse as cooking and music. Students stayed with host families during the programme, thus having an opportunity to experience the family life of another culture first hand.
The study abroad programme is part of the student's language training during their Master’s degree and involves a four-week intensive language course and the completion of a language-based assignment.
This is an important feature of the Institute's MA in Muslim Cultures as it exposes students to cultures, communities and ways of life different from their own. Through their time abroad, students are able to experience language in its social and lived dimensions while furthering their understanding of diversity and pluralism.
Belkais Rouched, who studied in Iran, noted that the depth of experience that studying in another country can bring is of great importance. She also commented that the language school and its teachers were of a very high standard, assisting greatly with her acquisition of the Persian language.
“It was wonderful to be in Iran. The people were very friendly and nice, the landscape was fantastic and so were the monuments. It was wonderful to feel history in almost every site one visited and to know that one may be treading on the same ground as some of the great heroes of history."
"The language school was very good. The teachers were of an outstanding level and they helped us appreciate even more the beauty of one of the most beautiful languages I have ever come across.”
Fayaz Noormohamed expressed the enjoyment that he experienced participating in the programme, saying that both the teaching style of the language school and level of interaction with local people was an enriching educational experience.
"Our one month language immersion programme in Tunis proved to be both a linguistically and culturally rich experience. The Bourguiba Institute is renowned for its teaching style, which prides itself on instructing its students without using any language in the classroom other than Arabic. At first, I wasn't sure I would be able to cope, but the teachers make it feel relatively easy to learn fully in Arabic. Living and travelling around the country also gave us the invaluable opportunity to practice Arabic with each other and with Tunisians.”
Students participate in the Language Immersion Programme in the summer of their first year of the MA Programme. This element, along with various academic and cultural excursions, allows students to study other cultures and languages in a diverse, practical and exciting environment.
Coordinator, Planning & Academic Development
Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations