Jack Crabb

Credentials: 2022 WISLI Elementary Arabic Student

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Language Institute and Level: APTLI / Elementary Arabic

Why did you choose to study a language through WISLI? What attracted you to our program specifically? I am a UW-Madison student so I found out about WISLI through the university, and I was really interested in the program because I knew there was a really big emphasis on the cultural aspects of language learning. I also knew that it wouldn’t just be class for four hours a day and that I would be getting a lot out of the program.

How has studying a less commonly taught language enriched your life? Even though I am just an elementary Arabic learner I already feel like I’ve learned a lot academically as well as culturally. I’ve met a lot of cool people and I think that studying a less commonly taught language like Arabic, even though it’s spoken by millions of people, will open up a lot of new opportunities for me and allow me to communicate with more people. 

What makes studying a language at WISLI/UW-Madison unique to you? I think that it’s great that this program takes place in Madison, it’s a great city. Taking Arabic through WISLI, and I’ve also studied Spanish at UW-Madison, I feel like I’ve gotten a lot out of it just because of how much emphasis is put on communication. It’s not just memorizing the vocabulary and writing it on the test, we do a lot of talking in the classroom. We also do a Conversation Hour where we just practice conversational skills with our classmates.

How do you plan to use the language you’re learning in your personal/professional journey? I’d love to travel to the Middle East or North Africa, but also as a Linguistics major, knowing another language like Arabic would give me a lot more opportunities professionally as it is less commonly taught. 

What are you most looking forward to in your language program? Or events that you have already done? I loved when we had an Arabic Breakfast, and that was really fun and I would love to be able to do that every week if it were possible. I really enjoyed getting to meet the other Arabic language learners and their instructors.

What has been the impact of the  WISLI Tuition Scholarship for you?  What would you say to other students who might be interested in applying for the scholarship? The scholarship was one of the main reasons that I was able to attend WISLI, and if somebody is on the fence about applying, I would definitely say go for it. You never know if you are going to get it or not if you don’t try first.

Do you have any advice for students who are studying the same language as you? At least for Arabic learners, I think getting the script down, even though it may seem like common sense, is very important because the easier it is to read Arabic, the easier it’ll make everything else seem. And because Arabic has a different writing system, it’s good to spend a lot of time on learning the script.

What is your favorite word/phrase/proverb in your language? The word that I probably use the most is ان شاء الله (Inshallah), which means “God willing”. I like it a lot because in Spanish the word “ojalá” is a direct adaptation of “Inshallah”.