What comes in to your mind when you think about learning the Arabic language?

Oil? Horses? Coffee? Deserts? Bedouins?

The Arabic language has just got a lot more interesting at La Academia, as we warmly welcome our new Arabic teacher Warka Ali Al Wandawi.

We’ve wasted no time in grabbing her for a chat about what Arabic language students can expect from her committed and unique teaching style.

Q. It’s great to meet you, Warka. First off, the Arabian Peninsula covers a massive area, doesn’t it? So, tell us a bit about where you come from.
A. I lived for over 10 years in the UAE (Dubai and AL-Ain) during my childhood. It’s actually what inspired me to become an Arabic teacher.
The way they teach and the resources they use over there encourages students of all abilities to do well. I’ve always wanted to be a part of that.
Back in my younger days though, nearly every day was adventure filled. It was extremely normal to go to the beach and swim in the ocean after school or go canoeing in a canoe my Dad built from scratch.
I really enjoyed climbing on the sandy and rocky mountains of Al-Ain in the dessert. It was a highlight of my time in the UAE.
I have a love for sport which developed there. I was part of the national volleyball team even though I wasn’t a national.

Q. We expect you’ve missed it a lot during the past 18 months when it’s been more difficult to travel?
A. I haven’t actually had the chance to return since I left. So, I haven’t suffered like many other people. But the UAE will always have a special place in my heart and I yearn to go back one day.

Q. You sound like you had an idyllic childhood there. Is there anything else about the culture that makes it so special for you?
A. I love their generosity and attitude towards life. They always have time for adventures and fun. I also admire the respect, love and care they have for their own country. It really reflects the beauty of the place.

Q. And, of course, the Arabic language played a part in shaping your career?
A. My expertise in Arabic has been fuelled by my passion towards the Arabic language.
I graduated from Salford University with a Masters in law, interpreting and translating, and I also took a PGCE in Arabic teaching at the University of Bolton.
Since 1998, I’ve taught the Arabic language to a range of abilities and nationalities, from nurseries, supplementary schools and primary up to high school and A-Levels. And I tutor in the Arabic language for all ages.
My career has developed in such a way that I feel obliged to spread my passion. So, I’ve adopted creative methods and I’ve even come up with my own tools to teach the Arabic language.

Q. We can’t wait to learn more from you as we get to know each other better. It’s all a bit full on at the moment, settling in to your new role at the start of a busy new term. But, what do you get up to during your down time?
A. I love going to the beach to swim, regardless of the weather, it just makes me happy.
I also enjoy watching action-packed tv series and movies with my family, having barbeques and going for walks.
Watching TikToks on Arabic history is fun.
And I love poetry, so in my free time I write Arabic language songs to teach my students.

At La Academia, we take enormous pride in making ALL languages accessible to our amazing students. To this end, we can’t wait to welcome a new intake of Arabic language students to the school and watch them come on in leaps and bounds in Warka’s classes.

ARABIC FOR ADULTS | Fridays | 10.00am-12.00pm | 6 Weeks | £100 | In school | Beginning Friday 5th November