Arabic (Elementary): Julia Preston

Julia, a member of the public, studied Elementary Arabic at the University Language Centre (ULC).

Why did you choose to study a language at the University of Manchester?

Julia Preston

I enjoy language learning and had some free time, so I decided to take a course.

I had also been thinking about postgraduate study and wanted to return to a university environment to see how that felt.

Apart from class time, how much time did you spend a week on your studies?

About two to three hours, maybe a bit more in the first term as I had more free time then.

How did you find your course in terms of level?

It was okay for me, because I had studied Arabic briefly before, I picked up the alphabet again quickly.

As I have studied other languages at degree level, I probably found some of the grammar concepts easier than other students did. However I still had to make time to study each week.

What did you most enjoy about your course?

The mix of students and non-students on the course was good, and I liked being challenged each week as you had to keep up with the course material.

I was really pleased that by the end of the course I could write an A4 page in Arabic script- I didn't think I'd be able to do that.

Have you been able to put your newly acquired language skills to use outside the classroom? If so, please tell us how.

I've enjoyed trying to work out shop or cafe signs in Arabic when I've been in Preston or Manchester. A couple of times I've picked up a snippet of conversation or a spoken phrase, which is fun.

Just after I finished the course I went to an international multi-day event called the Polyglot Gathering, which is for anyone interested in different languages and cultures, at any stage in their language learning. There were loads of talks based around languages, workshops and social events. I enjoyed a workshop on ‘Intro to Levantine Arabic’ and also met someone who has published several Arabic regional phrasebooks, so I gained some great ideas and motivation to continue with my study.

What advice would you give to someone intending to study a language at the University Language Centre?

Make sure you spend some regular time outside of class to go over the materials, find extra learning resources you can use such as websites or other books, and don't be afraid to make mistakes as everyone else is learning too.