Sunday, September 30, 2012


I am taking Arabic this semester. Why?

I get this question a lot.

"Because I want to live in Africa and it is spoken in a lot of the northern African states."

This is usually followed by something like, "Why would you want to go there? You know our ambassador was just killed- where was that?"

"Libya." I say. "I'm not saying I want to go to Libya. I'd prefer not to, really."

Uhmm who knows?

I think what it gets down to is this- I love this country. I have always wanted to give back to America, because I feel so blessed to be born here. I love that I had a good public school education and that I have nice roads to drive my cute car on. I love that I can continue my education and that I am encouraged to. I love that I can practice my religion and my friends can practice theirs. I love that when I told my friend Gina that I was going to learn Arabic she told me within ten seconds of a friend of ours that speaks Arabic, and that that friend was so nice about helping me to learn and that she wasn't the only one. I love all the opportunities that are at my feet because I was born here at this time. I love all the people who made that possible.

I love so much about America, and I have always known that I wanted to do something for America. I considered all sorts of options, but none of them seemed like something I could do or would remotely even like doing. Then last year, I was talking to my sweet friend Rachel and she said, "You know, I want to learn Farsi. If you learn Farsi, you're set for life."

Farsi is one of the main languages in Afghanistan, Iran, Tajikistan, among other countries. If you know this language, that's like your golden ticket into a good, government job, which is what I want. I would like to note, however, that if there is one place in the world that I never wish to go to, it is Afghanistan. I think I would almost rather walk into a shark tank with a billion papercuts. Anyway.

Unfortunately, very few people know Farsi in the United States. That's why it's such a good thing to know. Merg. I learned more about this language in Intro to International Studies. When I came to class with my fact sheet, my professor paired me and the other girl who had written a brief on Farsi with the kids who did Arabic.

Now, Arabic and Farsi are not the same thing, but they are spoken in some of the same parts of the world, and the cast of people speaking either language is similar. So, when I heard that BYU-I was going to start offering Arabic, you can bet that I was all up on that.

With Arabic I can
  • Live in Africa
  • Live in DC
  • Communicate with more people
  • Participate in the CLS program
  • Go to BYU-Jerusalem

Did you know that in 2011 there were 440 million native Arabic-speaking people in the world? That's like, 1 in every 14 people. Did you know that standard Arabic is an official language in 26 countries?? That is the 3rd most after English and French. Think about that. More than Spanish, even (21 countries).

Arabic is tough for sure, but someone told me that it isn't harder than any other language, and I believe them. I can do this. I can learn Arabic. I want to, it's needed, this is how I can help my country. I think I've finally discovered how I can do all the things that I want to do.

I didn't know it two months ago, but it looks like Arabic is the ticket to my dreams :)


  1. You are a lovely person, Nicole. I love that you are taking Arabic. I was considering it. However my language skills are just not so terrific. I am impressed, and I absolutely love your goals.
    Although I don't have much experience with Africa, I have some with Kenya. My advice? Live there. It is such a stellar country.
    I love you!

  2. You totally can learn Arabic! I BELIEVE IN YOU!! I learned some in my Middle East class and by some I learned my numbers and basic words like hello and goodbye... I think I am going to take this class too!! You're such an inspiration :D I LOVE YOU!