After just 5 years, Annie accomplished what so many of us who live and work in the UAE never do – learn the language. And all it took was determination, time and little help from her friends.
Ever since moving to Abu Dhabi from India, I’ve been fascinated by the Arabic language and culture. But I found that, because English is so widely spoken, I never had the chance to learn the language. I decided that if I was to be able to speak and read Arabic, I’d have to set time aside to
When did you decide to make the change?
My husband and I were camping in the Liwa desert. One night an old Bedouin man suddenly appeared at our campfire. He had a huge pot of Arabic coffee which he graciously offered to us. I dearly wanted to talk to him and find out more about his life in the desert, but he spoke no English. The next day I booked my first Arabic class.
How did you make the time to pursue your goal?
I went to evening classes, right after work for a while. That gave me the basics. But I found that 30 minutes study during lunch time at my desk helped me even more. I also told all my Arabic colleagues to only speak to me in Arabic. It’s the quickest way to learn the language. After 18 months I was fluent. My reading and writing is also coming along well.
What would your advice be to others?
You don’t need hours and hours a day to learn something new. Just 5 minutes here and there quickly adds up. Just do it consistently and always get help from others.
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