Classes of 22S!
About halfway through each term, I've made a habit of writing a blog post breaking down my classes of the term and what they're like; I think that this detailed look at one specific course load doesn't necessarily represent what Dartmouth is like for all students, but can definitely be one window of insight as to what classes are actually like at Dartmouth. So, in this post, I'll be breaking down my three courses of spring term!
First, I am continuing studying Modern Standard Arabic with Arabic 3. Through this course, I am continuing to expand my vocabulary and grammatical knowledge of Arabic, as well as being exposed to more cultural aspects of the Arab world, such as presentations about holidays and cuisine. The course includes 4 hours of Arabic drill per week, which is a student-ran timeslot where I can actually practice speaking and pronouncing different phrases in the language. Overall, I am amazed at how much Arabic I've learned so far at Dartmouth; it is regarded as one of the most difficult languages for English-speakers to learn, but I find that I am able to understand about 20% of Arabic news channels. To continue improving my Arabic, I watch lots of Arabic TV outside of class. I'm eager to go on the Language Study Abroad to Morocco this summer, where I will have tons of opportunities to improve my Arabic. Overall, I love the language and I am sure that I will continue to study Arabic throughout my four years at Dartmouth.
My next class is my first-year seminar, History of the Arabic Language. First-year seminars are required to be taken by freshmen in either their winter or spring terms, and they do not count towards any additional credits; therefore, it's best for freshmen to take seminar courses in subjects that they are actually interested in. The course focuses both on cultural and linguistic trends of the Arabic language throughout time, and the real substance of the course is writing papers and discussion posts about these trends. This course is lots of fun, as the professor selects readings that are both informative and fascinating. The class is a mix of discussion and lecture, which is really representative of many humanities courses at Dartmouth.
My final class is Arab Political Thought. This is a really intensive course that tracks the development of political theory since the death of the Prophet Muhammad. The course is really intense, with about 100-120 pages of reading per week. However, I'm never left feeling like the readings are a waste of time, and I'm really able to use the content in class discussions with my peers to better my understanding of the subject matter. The classroom is organized with all of the students sitting in a circle, and the professor lets us lead and carry discussions while chiming in every once in a while to guide and inform us. This practice lends itself to a very interesting classroom environment, where I'm really able to learn from both my peers and the professor.
Entering week 5, I'm really happy with the courses I've selected for the term, and I'm eager to share more details of my academic life on the blog.