“Arabic itself is a very interesting language”

My name is Aladdin, like the Disney movie, my parents actually gave me this name because the Disney movie was published in 1990s and I was born after that. I’m originally from Syria, so I grew up in Damascus, and I’ve studied there, did my first bachelor of architecture design. Then I came here to the Netherlands because my parents live here, they came here before me and convinced me to come here. It was 2015, December 2015 I came here. I did a second bachelor here, it was architecture urban design and building design, at the technical university of Eindhoven. Currently I’m busy with my masters, also architecture design, at TU Delft, so I’ve been studying architecture for almost 10 years now.

Sustainability can actually touch many aspects, there is social sustainability, economical sustainability and ecological sustainability. People tend to think of sustainability as ecological, from that point of view, but I was trying to design something that touches the social sustainability point of view. The Netherlands is a great country however social interaction is not at it’s best, especially between neighbors and I have lived here for almost 4 years and I don’t even know the name of my neighbor. But in my home country I knew the whole street, when I was at Uni there I knew the whole year, we were like 400 and I knew them by name. That’s what I feel is really different between here and my home country. However, although the little social interaction we can consider a negative thing, now in corona times it can help us, sadly. So this negative thing could definitely help us through this crisis, haha.

I was also a student at Reach & Teach, that was not a long time ago, but over 3 years ago. By then my Dutch was good, and my English was good but the thing is in order to get accepted into a Dutch university you need a really high level of English. So by then I already knew about Reach & Teach, however, a friend also recommended it to me and said there is a B2 level of English so let’s go there. Also guess what, my English teacher back then, is now my student in the Arabic class, so I can like pay her back for helping me with my English. To be honest I didn’t have very high expectations but my students are so good, they pick it up so fast. Sometimes I have prepared a 2 hour class and then we are done in 1 and a half hours, so that is really good. I am happy when someone is willing to learn the language I am native in.

So now I started with teaching Arabic A1, starting with teaching the students the alphabet. Every student was supposed to pick their favorite letter, and in Arabic we have the letter “wow”, in English it’s literally wow. And they always pick this letter. In the first class, it was about “what do you know about Arabic”, and fun facts about Arabic.

Arabic itself is a very interesting language, and I would describe it as a really poetic language. Some people would find Arabic a very attractive language, I was telling my students that we have 14 words to describe love, just love. For example, you have 600,000 words, French something like 200,000 and in Arabic we have 12 million words, so imagine the difference.

We can describe things in many many ways. It’s a nice language and we also have a unique thing of writing from right to left.

Also personally, I hate online. But I agreed with my students that this is not just for teaching but also for fun, also to look after each other’s social lives and have conversations. Most student tend to dislike online education, and I’m a student myself and I also hear this from my classmates. Everyone lost a lot during this pandemic and its really amazing that Reach & Teach is still running trying their hardest. However I think that the events before were our specialty at Reach & Teach, it was very interested and I attended almost all the events. Sadly now we cannot do any events.

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