March 7, 2016
I am writing to introduce the Palestine and Arabic Studies Program (PAS) at Birzeit University. Over the last couple of years, we have been working very diligently to restructure our program to offer the maximum benefit to international students seeking to learn the Arabic language and Middle East political science. We, here at PAS, are very excited by our most recent improvements and the opportunities that we have to offer students.
Our language program consists of four levels of Modern Standard Arabic and three levels of colloquial Arabic (Jerusalem Dialect). This intensive program is taught four times and eight contact hours per week. Depending on the level, we explore cultural, political and day to day language use as we encourage our students to not only study Arabic but to live Arabic. Key goals for our students is the ability to read news articles, comprehend TV and radio broadcasts, explore the long and rich history of Arabic song, poetry and art as well as comfortably navigate daily living within an Arabic speaking community. These courses are taught by talented and experienced professors, most of whom have earned advanced degrees in teaching Arabic as a second language.
Our political science courses are geared towards understanding both the history of Arab society, the formation of the modern Middle East and specific topics within Arab society all which lead to a more complete understanding of current events and facts on the ground.
We offer three distinct semesters throughout the year. Our Fall and Spring semesters run for three months a piece along with a summer intensive program for two months. All of our courses are internationally accredited, allowing students the opportunity to condense a full semester’s worth of work into a shorter time frame, giving the added opportunity for travel and further exploration of the Middle East.
Throughout each semester, we organize several field trips and additional lectures to round out the student experience and immerse our students into the culture, giving them first-hand accounts of daily life told by the people who live here. In addition to these activities, we offer an array of extracurricular activities that range from cooking to traditional dance as well as sports activities on campus. Our goal is to provide our students with the most potential for immersion and opportunities to use their Arabic language in a wide array of circumstances.
In addition to our scholastic programs, we have developed the first International Day exposition, inviting consulates and foreign dignitaries to come to the Birzeit campus for a cultural exchange between countries. This event hosted many booths from countries around the world as well as performances from local and international artist. We are also in development for our first international conference slated to take place in 2016. I personally will be making tours to the United States and European countries within the coming year.
Tina Rafidi, Director
Palestine and Arabic Studies Program, Birzeit University