Help me work/study/volunteer in North Africa.
December 7, 2006 10:01 AM   Subscribe

Help me find opportunities to work/volunteer/improve my Arabic in North Africa.

I've been before as a tourist; now that I've got a few months to kill before grad school (Ph.D. program in linguistics) I'd like to go again in a more structured way. I'd also like to do it in such a way as to learn more colloquial Arabic. (I speak a little Modern Standard Arabic, and the tiniest bit of Egyptian dialect. I figure I can learn more MSA in school, and more Egyptian from TV, but nobody offers classes on the more far-flung dialects, so I'd like to get some first-hand experience with one.)

Ideally I'd like to find some sort of job or volunteer project that would give me things to do and ways to meet people. Barring that, I'd like to take some classes. What I don't want is to spend my time sightseeing or just bumming around; I'd like to get out and talk to people, and I'm too shy to meet strangers — (even in English!) — without some kind of structure.

If it matters, I'm a US citizen, 25 years old, non-Muslim, and already out of college for a while.
posted by nebulawindphone to Travel & Transportation (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Doctors without borders is always looking for help. You’ll meet a lot of people and get lots of language practice as a translator.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:13 AM on December 7, 2006

Response by poster: (Maybe I've overstated my skill in Arabic. I can buy a cup of tea and find out where the bathroom is. I might be able to make small talk. I am totally unqualified to be a translator, especially not on in an important and technical subject like medicine.

Still, I'll take a look at their site and see if there's anything I am qualified for. Thanks!)
posted by nebulawindphone at 11:33 AM on December 7, 2006

Sorry, assumed since you were headed for a PhD...
posted by Smedleyman at 12:44 PM on December 7, 2006

Response by poster: It's in linguistics, not Arabic specifically. Still, I appreciate the suggestion.
posted by nebulawindphone at 3:43 PM on December 7, 2006

Oops, I missed this one. If you take classes at ALIF in Fes, or the ALC in Marrakech, you'll be meeting plenty of locals - so you'll have lots of opportunities to practice without busting out of your shyness zone too much.

posted by Liosliath at 9:19 PM on December 8, 2006

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