At Al-Mashriq, we are firm believers that much of language acquisition takes place outside of the classroom. For this reason, our programs include a wide array of activities that supplement formal instruction and aim to immerse students as completely as possible into their surrounding environment. Below are some examples of these extra-curricular activities:
Each student at Al-Mashriq is matched with a language partner, most of whom are recruited from neighboring university campuses. These native Arabic speakers play a critical role in creating an environment of full cultural and linguistic immersion for Al-Mashriq students, offering them a window into the lives of young people in Jordan. Students meet their language partners for a minimum of two hours per week, half of which is spent speaking only Arabic. The second half of this time is dedicated to speaking in the students' native language. We make every effort to pair each student with someone who is learning their native tongue. In cases in which that is not possible, students will generally be paired for Arabic-English laguage exchange.
Many students who come to the Middle East are not solely interested in studying Arabic – they also want to get involved with the local community. At Al-Mashriq, our students have the opportunity to volunteer with a number of different non-profit organizations working in Amman and the surrounding regions. Working mostly with refugees and underprivileged children, these organizations offer everything from food voucher programs and English classes to children’s activity days and sports leagues. Below are a few institutions through which Al-Mashriq students can engage the Arabic-speaking environment that surrounds them:
Depending on their level, some students will go on field trips to various destinations within the city of Amman, where they will meet and/or interview key individuals working within each institution. In some classes, students will then be asked to write a report on the experience and deliver it either in writing or orally. This will be a regular assignment and be part of students’ overall performance. Below is a list of institutions that students may visit during their program, though the possibilities are not limited to those listed here:
Al-Mashriq organizes a number of major trips during the instructional period on which students will get the opportunity to explore major centers of Jordanian culture, history and tourism. This type of trip might be a weekend excursion to Petra and Wadi Rum in the south, or a journey to Jerash and Ajloun in the green north. Generally, regional travel will be “front-loaded,” meaning trips organized by the Center will take place early in the program, and students will be encouraged to organize their own adventures and explore as much as possible as their language skills progress. As educators, we have found that leaving students to plan and execute their own expeditions is critical for confidence-building and self-reliance in a foreign language environment, not to mention giving them opportunities to use the skills they acquire in class.