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Seth Thomas - World Languages and Literatures
Seth Thomas - World Languages and Literatures

B.A. Arabic and International Studies

Employed with Muslim Housing Services, King Co. Washington (previous)

Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Jordan (upcoming)

 

While studying Arabic is not a direct requirement for teaching English in the Middle East, it has been immensely valuable to me both professionally and personally. It has broken down barriers between local and foreign staff and has allowed me to make friendships in the community that just wouldn't have been possible otherwise. I’m not particularly talented at language learning, and Arabic has been at times hugely challenging and rewarding on a personal level. I know there are parts of Arabic that I will never really understand, but I also love that it is a lifelong aspiration. I hope to continue living and working in the Middle East throughout my life, or with Arabic speaking populations in the US. Academically, I’m mostly interested in colloquial Levantine dialects, and how they are being used today and evolving (in comics, online, mixing of English and Arabic, etc.). Dr. Hanoosh's course on translation was revelatory for me because it revealed how fraught translation is, and as a result how ethically complex learning another language can be. There are always political, social, and economic layers present within a translation, whether it's reading subtitles or translating in your head what someone is saying, and becoming aware of those issues is critical.