!أَهْلًا وَسَهْل/Ahlan wa-sahlan! At an Al-Wāḥa Arabic Virtual Village, villagers will experience an oasis of cultural richness and diversity with counselors and teachers who speak a variety of dialects from across the Middle East. Live the language by virtually experiencing the sounds, sights and flavors of the world’s fifth-most populous language—right from here, there or anywhere!
Imagine reading in a totally different alphabet — and from right to left! With more than 350 million speakers over five continents, Arabic is the world’s fifth most-spoken language, and has influenced and contributed to many others, including English, with Arab cultures’ global and linguistic influences seen in astronomy, mathematics, medicine, art and philosophy.
Al-Wāḥa’s Virtual Village began in 2020 and allows villagers to learn Arabic all year round. From one-week sessions in the summer to club sessions during the academic year, villagers are able to be immersed in the Arabic culture and language from the comfort of their home.
At an Al-Wāḥa Virtual Village session, villages may virtually visit a museum in an Arabic-speaking country or cook authentic Arabic food. Activities are based in Arab culture and utilized to further villagers’ language acquisition.
Arabic Language Village scholarships are supported by the generosity of individual donors, organizations and companies; we are especially grateful to our premier sponsor, QFI.
Scholarships are based on a family’s adjusted gross income, the number of dependents and the length of the session. Need-based scholarships are available for Arabic Language Village sessions through the Passport Fund.
In order to best take advantage of this interactive experience, you will need the resources necessary for e-learning (reliable internet access, a device per villager with a webcam and microphone) and any individual adaptive devices needed; headphones are recommended but not required. Use of Chromebooks is not recommended as villagers cannot access all the features of the Virtual Village platform. As a program of Concordia College, we are coordinating our efforts with the college so that all virtual platforms will have the necessary and appropriate security features to protect the privacy of users, including compliance with FERPA and COPPA.
Ludmila Lujayn Zamah is the dean of Al-Wāḥa, the Arabic Language Village. Lujayn earned her Bachelor’s degree at the University of Pennsylvania in French, biopsychology and Middle Eastern studies, later earning her master’s degree in Religious Studies from the same institution and completing a graduate fellowship in Arabic at the American University in Cairo. Lujayn studied abroad in Aix-en-Provence, France, as an undergraduate student and in Fez, Morocco, as a graduate student, then later chaperoned a school trip to Rabat. Lujayn has been a Concordia Language Villages staff member for many years, including a summer at Lac du Bois, the French Language Village, and serving on the inaugural staff of Al-Wāḥa in 2006. Lujayn especially enjoys leading the Village in song, teaching yoga on the beach, dancing to cabin cheers before breakfast, teaching Arabic in each mughamara (“adventure”), learning words in different dialects from fellow staff members, and helping villagers make cultural connections in such a dynamic environment. She currently lives in Connecticut with her husband and twin sons, teaching Arabic and French at The Loomis Chaffee School and serving as residential faculty in an underclass boys dorm.
Meet the Academic-year Club Al-Wāḥa Lead Teacher
Kirsten سهام Siham Gassman
Club Al-Wāḥa is led by Siham, a K-12 Arabic language teacher and staff member at our Arabic Language Village since 2010.