Dear Birzeit University Guests and “PAS” Website Visitors,
Throughout your tour at Birzeit University campus (BZU) or its website visit, you might notice the acronym “PAS”. Have you ever asked yourselves what it represents? Or, why is it beneficial to join PAS Program? Have you ever wondered if it is vital to speak Arabic? If not, please think seriously about these questions. This essay will hopefully help you find proper answers to these questions.
Well, PAS refers to the Palestine and Arabic Studies Program. PAS is a comprehensive program that does not only teach Arabic, but it also comprises social science courses The principal mission of PAS program goes in accordance with Frank Smith’s’ saying, “One language sets you in a corner for life; two languages open every door along the way . PAS is a cultural transmitter that aspires to educate and empower students of various nationalities and backgrounds through learning the Arabic language and the Palestinian culture at home.
It is worth learning Arabic since it is one of the world’s most spoken languages. Through a number of courses, PAS aims at providing students with the knowledge and skills to communicate across international borders. Being able to communicate with people in their language is a great advantage. Therefore, speaking the Arabic language enables students to understand the Arabic-speaking communities and build lifelong friendships. Therapists believe that to get along, good communication is key (https : //www. pandatree.com/ reason_ foreign_ language). This is a great incentive for joining PAS.
Moreover, studying Arabic at PAS actually boosts cross-cultural understanding between the international students and the Palestinians. PAS develops students’ cultural awareness through participation in community activities and interaction in and outside BZU. Since language and culture are intertwined, the Palestinian culture and social science classes are integrated in PAS. Knowledgeable, experienced and open-minded teachers, who accept different opinions, beliefs, and behaviors and have tolerance for people of different nationalities and races, teach them. This provides international students with the opportunity to recognize that Palestine is characterized by its active and vibrant culture.
Related to this, PAS Program deepens the understanding and appreciation of the Palestinian traditions and customs. Through participating in several leisure activities like Palestinian Dabka, field trips, movies and lectures on a variety of topics, international students can foster their understanding of Palestine and its culture. This can also shed light on Palestinian music, art, cuisine, literature, and the real living conditions and sufferings. Therefore, students could express emotions and form either positive or negative attitudes towards various aspects like economic, social and political living conditions. This, in turn, could be advantageous for international students to appreciate their original cultures and lifestyles. As Goethe said, “Those who know nothing of foreign languages know nothing of their own” (https:/ /www. pandatree. com/ reason_foreign_language)**.
To sum up, through learning Arabic and social science courses, besides socializing with the Palestinians at BZU and in different regions in Palestine, not only can PAS students speak Arabic, but they can also develop cultural understanding. Don’t you believe, dear guests and website visitors, that you have much to gain when learning Arabic? Aren’t these reasons convincing to join PAS Program? Is it seriously worth making up your minds for filling in the application forms?
*The psycholinguist Frank Smith and Kenneth Goodman are founders of the whole language approach for reading instruction.
**15 Reasons for Kids to Learn a Foreign Language. Retrieved July 24, from (https: //www. pandatree.com/reason_foreign_language)
Dr. Tagreed Abed
July 24th , 2019