LingoStories – Personal Interview with Haya Amzalag-Bahr

Learn about the personal experience of Haya Amzalag – Bahr, 53, owner of an organizational review institution, who studied Spoken Arabic with Dor:

Why were you interested in learning Arabic?

As part of my profession in the field of organizational review, I work with a wide variety of groups on assimilating methods of self-evaluation in their workplace.
I begin by finding out why it is that they’re interested in reviewing their work, emphasizing the importance of this process and teaching them how to carry it out.
I work with the group on the various issues they’re looking to assess, showing them how to perform the review, and examining its consequences together.
Certain groups include Arabs. Therefore, being able to speak Arabic was important to me in order to improve communication, which is certain to enhance co-operation.

online arabic course

How did you hear about LingoLearn?

I was looking for Spoken Arabic lessons on the internet, after initially seeking a course in my area of residence, which didn’t yield any results. In the meantime, I found out about LingoLearn, and decided to sign up for a trial lesson.

How was your trial lesson?

I had my trial lesson with Ishmael, and was very satisfied with its intensity, depth, and customization to my interests.

How did you feel about the concept of learning in a virtual classroom? Did you view it as a disadvantage?

Not at all!
I’ve actually been familiar with distance education for many years, having experimented with it myself in my profession.
The ability to have the lessons in the conditions most suitable to me, wasting no time on dressing up, leaving the house or driving somewhere on the expense of my busy schedule, was ideal for me.
Furthermore, had I registered for a regular course, I would’ve had to wait much time until a study group opened, whereas with LingoLearn, it took less than two weeks to get started.

What were your expectations coming in to the course?

I didn’t expect to be able to speak fluently. I had hoped I would be able to understand certain parts of conversations, and have the capability of conveying general ideas using a combination of my native language and Arabic.

Did you have any reservations?

It’s been some time since I last tried learning a new language, so I wasn’t sure I’d be able to put together sentences correctly, and feared that the process would turn out to have been in vain.

Tell us about your impression of the teacher.

My initial interaction was with Ishmael, during the trial lesson, by whom I was greatly impressed. When I came to realize that the course itself would be instructed by a different teacher, who’s relatively young and is not a native speaker (specifically in the Palestinian dialect, which was important to me), I had some doubts.
In retrospect, those doubts weren’t justified at all!
First of all, Dor has a very good grasp on the methodology of teaching. He displays impressive knowledge and understanding of the materials, differentiating between the different dialects throughout the lesson. He’s not afraid to admit when he’s not certain of something, and makes sure to thoroughly research it and provide an informative answer during or after the class.
Despite the age difference, there’s never an awkward feeling – Dor handles himself gracefully, granting personal attention, being open and sharing details of his own personal life.
Looking back, if I had to choose between a native-speaking teacher and one who isn’t, I would’ve actually chosen the latter, since he would be better equipped to understand my point of view. Eventually, what seemed as a reason for concern turned out to be an advantage.

What does a typical lesson look like?

We start out by reviewing the main topics from the previous lesson, or by engaging in a casual conversation in Arabic. The main subject of the current lesson, which at times stems from the discussion or the homework assignment, is then brought up. The lesson enhances different skills and teaches diverse vocabulary, including enriching extra-curricular content. All throughout the class, Dor makes sure that topics are well understood, and reviews them one last time before its end.
Finally, homework assignments are given, and the date and time for the following lesson is being agreed upon. Time goes by very quickly, sometimes exceeding the allotted one hour – there’s never a sense of pressure of any sort.
After the lesson, I receive a recorded version, allowing me to review the material once more. Dor does his best to remind us to look back at the lesson, welcoming any questions and always providing answers.

How much has the course contributed to improving your level of Arabic?

It had a very significant effect!
I had no prior knowledge of Arabic, other than some words which are also used in my native language. Nowadays, while not being able to understand every conversation, I manage to figure out most of what is said around me, articulate my thoughts and speak what’s on my mind, albeit in a limited fashion.
My level improves with every lesson, thanks to the practice of vocabulary and conversational skills. I never believed I would be able to construct an entire sentence by myself.

Were the logistical conditions satisfactory?

Definitely – communication during the lesson itself was easy and simple. The course was held in fixed hours, and when a situation arose in which Dor or I needed to have them changed, it was done properly and considerately.

What would you say to someone who’s considering learning languages with LingoLearn?

I would wholeheartedly recommend it!
As a matter of fact, I’ve already done so to a number of people – it is simply the most convenient solution.

Tell us about a memorable experience from the course.

I’ve had many:
When the course first started, Dor suggested I send him a certain phrase in my native language, which he would then translate into Arabic. I asked him to help me with a sentence from my work in the field of professional guidance, and ended up using it in front of one of the groups.

Later on, I prepared an entire paragraph in Arabic, which I wanted to recite in front of the group. Although some of it was in my native language, and small mistakes could be noticed here and there, I managed to put it together completely by myself. When I eventually used it in front of the group, they were amazed and gave me many compliments – it turned out I was using some very formal words, some of which they barely knew themselves! This entire situation induced much laughter and affection within the group, and was delightful.

Additionally, when I recently had to send Dor an e-mail, I decided to do so in Arabic, transcribing it into my native language. Dor commended my effort, replied in Arabic as well, corrected my mistakes and gave me certain tips on how to improve my articulation. It made me feel great.

These days, I’m able to sit in the meetings I’m holding and understand what is said around me. Even if it’s only partial, I’m able to relate to it and respond in the relevant context.
Plus, it feels pretty nice to be able to understand Arabic when it’s spoken around me in the supermarket, or at a nearby table in the coffee shop…

LingoLearn is an online language school which offers beginners’ level language courses, as well as intermediate and advanced level courses. Learn a language with our experienced teachers and excellent learning materials, in a state of the art virtual classroom!

online arabic course

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