One of the best perks of the grants I received is that they both emphasize further study of a foreign language (in my case Arabic). So for the next few months I'll be doing intensive Arabic training at the Qasid Institute in Amman. Today was the first day, and I can tell already that it will be a wonderful place to advance my knowledge and abilities in Arabic.
The institute is also just a 15 minute walk down the hill from our apartment, so it's very convenient since I will be there daily for the next few months (and perhaps longer if I continue into the winter term).
My courses are solely in Arabic, so that really helps with refining my ear for the language spoken at its usual (fast) pace. I will do three hours each morning of core coursework, and two days a week will take two supplementary classes. I'm pretty sure the two extra classes will be 'ammiyya (colloquial speaking) and an intensive grammar seminar (it's been quite a while since I paid any attention to grammar, so by all accounts this will be a great review).
We also get funds for private tutors, so I hope to identify one in the next week and start that as well. By the way, Johanna will also be getting an Arabic tutor a couple times each week to introduce her to some basic speaking skills and vocabulary… very excited for her!!
Qasid trains all levels of Arabic learners, so any of my students interested in doing this should get in touch with me and I will tell you more about it.