Why Study Arabic?

Studying Arabic—whether toward a business certificate, a minor or a major—can have many benefits!

Learn about the Arab World and its Culture

The culture is steeped in rich history, a fascinating literature ranging from ancient poetry to cutting-edge modern novels, and of course the fact that every Muslim must know at least a little bit of Arabic in order to fulfill his/her religious duties and for gleaning a deep understanding of the sources of Islam, Arabic is essential. Arabic is also a very demanded skill in many professions. One of the recruiters at a Career Fair, speaking for a law firm, announced: “We can teach you law. Law is easy. What we need are people with a firm knowledge of Arabic.”

Connect with Other Countries

The Arab World, made up of 22 countries and the Palestinians, extends from the Arabian/Persian Gulf in the east to the Atlantic Ocean in the west and has a population of about 300 million, 25 million of whom are Christian Arabs. Literary Arabic is their dominant mode of formal expression, with a variety of spoken dialects. It is also an important language in many other countries of the world. Arabic is the liturgical language of Islam, and more than a billion people use it as a vital spiritual component of their daily lives. The United Nations adopted Arabic as one of its six official languages in 1974.

Give Yourself a Competitive Edge

The strategic importance of the Arabic world has made Arabic a “critical” language for the US government and military, creating a demand for its speakers and incentives for its learners. This surge of interest is the reflection of the awareness of the importance and complexity of the relationship between the West and the Muslim world, which in turn has increased employment opportunities in business and government for speakers of Arabic. One indication of the growing importance of Arabic is the amount of government resources available for students of Arabic. The U.S. Department of Education, The Departments of State and Defense and other federal agencies offer grants to fund Arabic programs in schools and scholarships and fellowships to encourage students to pursue the study of Arabic state side and abroad.

Career Possibilities

The diligent study of Arabic can lead to exciting careers in various fields. The following are only a few of the many positions open to those who have a high proficiency in Arabic:

  1. Communications: foreign correspondent, reporter, translator.
  2. International finance: international banker, international consultant, and political risk analyst.
  3. Industry: manager of government relations for oil companies, market analyst for export companies.
  4. Government: Foreign Service officer, development program officer, intelligence analyst, government relations specialist, translator or interpreter.
  5. Law: contractual and corporation consultant.
  6. Academia: teaching and research positions. The U.S. government currently considers Arabic a critical language and many scholarships and fellowships in Arabic studies are available.