Celebrating connections!

It’s been a while… The end of the Online Palestinian Arabic project has meant a flurry of end-of-project activities to promote the Online Arabic from Palestine (OAfP)  course at the Glasgow end of the screen, and the start of teaching for the Gaza team. A substantial number of people has already made inquiries on the OAfP course, and several learners have already started learning Arabic with our wonderful Gaza colleagues. You can watch here the latest promo video the Gaza team produced, to advertise the OAfP course and all the other Arabic courses they offer, which cater for all abilities and needs.

Meanwhile, a few days ago, at the University of Glasgow we celebrated all the collaborations between our institution and the Islamic University of Gaza. As well as the Online Arabic from Palestine project, which is based in the School of Education, two other important collaborations were also celebrated. One was the EAST project which, for the past four years, has been twinning overseas student-engineers in Glasgow (at UofG School of Modern Languages and Cultures) with engineers in Gaza over five weeks each summer, to discuss authentic engineering issues through the medium of English. The other cause for celebration was the arrival at the University of Glasgow of twenty Master’s students from the Islamic University of Gaza, most of whom managed to miss a lesson (thanks to their very understanding teachers!) to be with us and with their IUG colleagues on the other side of the screen.

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Celebrating Glasgow-Gaza collaborations

The Master’s students are in Glasgow on an Erasmus+ scholarship. Some will stay for the whole academic year, some can only study with us for six months. All tell long stories of hope, uncertainty, happiness and tiring journeys. Sandra White, the Member of the Scottish Parliament who represents the constituency for the University of Glasgow, was with us to celebrate all our great projects and the ongoing partnership between our universities, as were many of the people who have been (and still are) working on both sides of screens  – and through screens – to make these projects happen. No wonder there were so many smiley faces! 😊

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ps – don’t forget that you can register to learn Arabic with IUG teachers by contacting us through the contact link above or through the Arabic Center. Also, don’t forget to follow the Arabic Center on Facebook and/or Twitter for the latest news!

Online Arabic from Palestine course now launched!

The sun was shining in the Gaza Strip, yesterday morning, when the Online Arabic from Palestine language course for beginners was launched officially at the Islamic University of Gaza. The weather was much less kind to the Glasgow launch, yesterday afternoon, when people had to brave the Ali storm to come and celebrate the official release of the new course.

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As so many times before during the many months of collaboration that led to yesterday’s launch, the Glasgow team was in Gaza, speaking from a screen to a room full of proud people, while our Gaza colleagues were later a presence on a screen  in Glasgow, telling about their experiences and roles in the design and development of the Online Arabic from Palestine course. As so many times before, we documented the events, sharing the dizzying kaleidoscope of photographs of people on screens and in person in each other’s rooms from each other’s points of view…

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But sometimes miracles happen, and people manage to escape the confines of screens and meet in real life. Sahar, our IUG colleague (who is Sara in the course’s videos) arrived in the UK just a few days ago to study. Despite having a million things to do and having to recover from her long journey, she was willing – actually, delighted – to travel again to be with us, on this side of the screen, in the room she knew so well from all our Skype meetings over the years (“It’s much bigger than I thought!” was her first comment).

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So our colleague and friend Sahar was with us outside the screen, decorating with leaves the table for the post-launch celebrations, gifting Palestinian embroidery bracelets, slicing pomegranates, taking people through the course at the launch event, and being enthusiastic about everything (despite Ali!). And showing everyone that screens can be portals, through which flesh and blood connections can be made.WhatsApp Image 2018-09-19 at 10.50.57.jpeg

 

 

 

Mashallah! The Online Palestinian Arabic Course is almost ready…

We have now finished piloting the first two units of the Online Palestinian Arabic Course. There are adjustments we need to make, but we are well on our way to have the course ready for the end of June. Soon, Inshallah, the course will be available to anyone interested in learning Arabic with a Palestinian flavour, taught by experienced and trained teachers based in the Gaza Strip.

So, here are some details about the course (below we offer you the preview of one of the course’s videos!)

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Here are a few quotes from the evaluation questionnaire completed by the volunteer learners  who piloted the course:

“We were in Palestine, with Palestinian food, habits, accent and this made me [feel] very close to the people there.”

“I really enjoyed the one to one lessons with a lovely teacher and the opportunity to see a little bit of the life in Gaza”

“I really enjoyed the tailored approach of my teacher who sometimes added content when I was curious to learn but also brought me back to the main content of the class.”

“We got to speak a little about life in Palestine and my own life – though it wasn’t necessarily extending my Arabic, it humanised the whole experience and created a bond across borders, which for me, is one of the things that makes the learning experience so unique and valuable.”

“I really enjoyed the videos – I found them to be a great tool for focusing the lesson around.”

And now, to whet your appetite for this amazing new course, here’s one of the videos which introduces one of the latter lessons. In this video, Italian born Sarah and Adam, guided by their Gazan teacher Anas, take a look at some Palestinian artifacts, including a key, the symbol of Palestinian right to return.

As well as the key, the brother and sister also see a shawl and a dress decorated with the wonderful traditional Palestinian cross-stitch patterns.

By doing this course, you’ll be able to understand Adam, Sarah and Anas only after a few weeks! Get in touch and the admin team at the Arabic Center will tell you what you need to do to start this great adventure!