Ahlan wa sahlan! I’m 3laa’. Benjamin is the original Organizer for the group, and Islam (Sam) allowed me to take the lead after he moved away from Washington.
This group is created as a way for those who are studying and have a good foundation in Arabic to come and practice their speaking and listening skills in lively conversation. This means that the group would NOT be a good fit for the following:
***Those who have little to no prior knowledge of Arabic and would like to be taught the language. There are many excellent tutors and computer / app programs to help give you the basics in the language. Without this foundation, participation in the group would be very difficult.
***Those who are native speakers who do not have a genuine interest in and patience for helping non-native Arabic speakers improve their listening and speaking skills.
***Those who are native speakers of Arabic who are seeking to learn/practice English. There are several clubs and associations around the Seattle area for improving one's English, yet unfortunately there are very few clubs like this which afford the opportunity to practice Arabic for free in a fun and social setting.
That being said, we are flexible to different levels (advanced beginner/low intermediate up to advanced) and different eastern dialects (Levantine and Egyptian primarily). If you are a beginner and only have sufficient ability to understand a conversation (or a decent portion of it) and would like to attend for listening practice, you’re more than welcome.
Of course, we all make mistakes and we are able to learn from those mistakes in conversation and patience with one another. That is the natural process of acquiring proficiency in a language. We continually refine our objectives, but they all serve the greater purpose of being able to have meaningful connections with the Arabic culture and with each other! Insha'allah we will achieve this ma3an!