Arabic Boot Camp

I have been thinking recently about how this Arabic study abroad (and learning Arabic at BYU in general) is kind of like boot camp, at least for me. Boot camp is long and miserable and hot, and no one signs up for the army thinking, "I want to go to boot camp!" At least, no one "normal."

Anyway, most people in the army think back on boot camp as a miserable time and love to complain about how awful it was. (I might be overgeneralizing here, but I am just making a point.) But no one tells them that they just should have had a better attitude and they would have loved boot camp! It is miserable on purpose. It is a means to an end--and not the end in itself.

Anyway, that is how I feel about this study abroad. For all intents and purposes, I really don't like being here. Learning Arabic is hard and tedious and dreadful, and it is so hot and everyone stares at me. And I am sick of people telling me that I should have a better attitude.

Just to clear up the question, in case you think I am the only one with feelings of dislike toward this country/language/study abroad, let me just say that many, many people here have complained some of the same things to me, including the director of the program and his wife, one of the American grad students/teachers here, and most of the girls and even some of the guys. Which made me think (side note)--does this happen with every study abroad and every language, or just with Arabic? Do people come back from Germany hating everything German, or do they come back fluent? Is there a correlation? Because, according to Dil, this happens on every Arabic study abroad to the Middle East.

Anyway, this study abroad is a means to an end--I just don't know what the end is! It is ok if I didn't enjoy my experience here and if I want to go home. Don't fault me for not enjoying boot camp! I am just happy that I have survived and that one day I will realize what the purpose of learning Arabic was for me--whether for the language or for the things I learned, like patience and humility, that will help me on my mission.

So, if you are going to do this study abroad and get scared from reading my blog, just remember that it is a means to an end--and everyone has their own "end" to figure out! And don't be afraid of being miserable--it is only four months, after all. :)


The Paradox said...

You're amazing.

Chicken Dust said...

That sounds terrible. I'm glad I didn't sign up.

The Paradox said...

I like the picture you added!

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