Arabic Students Connect with the Community


On February 8, six students from Farah Combs’s (Arabic instructor, director of IPFW’s honors program) Elementary Arabic II class spoke at an event hosted by the Indiana Center for Middle East Peace.

Mobina Haq (mathematical sciences), Gina Chapa (business management), Brie-anna Coburn (political science), Bianca Barcenas (business), Olivia González Granados (international language and culture studies), and Elana Kayser (psychology) gave 5-7 minute speeches in Arabic at the event. Participants also listened to a presentation from the Mohammed Al-Hamwi family, who are Syrian refugees currently residing in Indiana.

Combs said that the event gave her students a chance to develop their public speaking skills and make connections in the community.

According to Coburn, the experience “made me so confident in my speaking, and also showed me that I have more to work on. I hope that there are more opportunities for us, and future classes, to be able to practice speaking in front of others and even native speakers.”

González Granados appreciated the chance to connect with local refugees and hear their experiences: “Coming from an immigrant family, some of whom also came as refugees, I know just how hard it can be to get a visa. It can be difficult to understand for someone who hasn’t experienced it… I think it was important to hear from the mouths of people affected [by] the situation in the Middle East.”

Want to hear what the students had to say? You can listen to the speeches of Haq, Chapa, Coburn, Barcenas, González Granados, and Kayser.

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