The Arabic program at Middlebury takes pride in its close relationship with the Middlebury Summer Arabic School, and it is our hope that each of our students will take advantage of this intensive nine-week program while he or she is at Middlebury. We also try as much as possible to mimic the intensive atmosphere of the summer program during the academic year. We insist, for example, that students of all level attend Arabic table on a regular basis. We also offer programs and events through the Arabic House, where students may live with the Arabic Teaching Assistant in language.
To approach fluency in Arabic, one must become conversant in at least one of its dialects, and this cannot be achieved without study abroad. This can currently be undertaken at the C.V. Starr-Middlebury School in the Middle East, located in Alexandria, Egypt. Students at the School in the Middle East study Egyptian colloquial Arabic, (commonly referred to as ECA), as well as the language of Media Arabic, and traditional Modern Standard Arabic. Living abroad is an invaluable cultural experience, as well as the best way to learn to speak and comprehend the language as it is spoken by native speakers.
At Middlebury we firmly believe in the bond between language and culture. Thus we always strive to expose students to the cultural side of the Arab world in our language classes, in extracurricular activities, and in culture courses offered in English. We like to consider culture a fifth skill in addition to the four mentioned above. One reflection of this belief is the structure of our first year Winter Term course in which the instruction of language and culture both receive equal time and attention. Outside the class we expose our students to culture through musical, filmic and gastronomic activities.