Thursday, 25 November 2010

I've started tutoring a few of the Arab students in my dormitory in English, and discovered that almost none of them knew I could even speak English. I'm one of only two dorm dwellers this semester who isn't Saudi; the other is a Turk who speaks fairly fluent standard Arabic and studies with the Arabs in the regular college programs.

The Saudi girls seem to have just grouped me with all the other pale people with funny accents - Zarqa has a lot of Chechnyans, and quite a few Russians, Bosnians, and other Eastern Europeans. Hardly any of them knew where I was from, and even fewer of them know where Canada is. If they think Canada is one of the little Eastern European countries, it's no wonder they didn't realize I spoke English.

It's true they've never heard me speak English before, there is no one here for me to speak it with, but still, how do you live with someone for a year and not even know which country they are from and what their native language is?

Immigrants in Canada must feel even more invisible and insignificant - one more foreigner with an accent, not really an individual with a past and stories of their own.  But nobody here looks down on me.


  1. People tend to think I am Omani now, unless I talk to them alot.

    You still must visit dear! I am married now and have a house. Also, if you ever want to study as SQU, we can find you a scholarship too;)

  2. I would love to visit you, I miss you a lot. Alf mabrouk on your marriage :D

  3. I miss you too alot. You inspired me to ACTUALLY practice my Arabic;)

    BTW, awesome pic on the latest post. I love ancient ruins.