27 Nov Learner Spotlight: Diana Atanasova
Meet Diana Atanasova, a 24-year-old advertising professional, originally from Bulgaria, who studied in the Netherlands, who has now settled in Dubai. We talked about how her interest in learning Arabic grew into a newly found passion.
Marhaba, Diana! Tell us about yourself and what made you choose Arabic?
I have a passion for traveling and immersing myself in different cultures. Even when I am visiting a place just for a vacation, I like to do everything the local way and learn from their traditions, how they live and think. This helps me broaden my perspective. I think that, if you are staying in a specific country for a long time, you should study its culture. This is what I felt when I arrived in the UAE. Plus, I have always been fascinated by the Middle East, so it was not difficult for me to start feeling at home. After being here for two years, I managed to become an Arabic food expert, surrounding myself with a lot of Arabic-speaking friends.
How did you find Eton Institute?
It happened very spontaneously and intuitively. A few months back, I was at home one evening and the question hit me: “Diana, why don’t you know how to speak Arabic yet?” I opened my laptop, searched for Arabic courses in Dubai and after 10 minutes (literally!), I found Eton Institute. I was easily convinced by its multiple good reviews online. The next thing I know, I was already starting my first class with Salma – an amazing teacher, by the way! She gave me a very good foundation of the language, and now in level A1.1, I’m building it up with Saad – who has a very fun and effective teaching approach.
“I was easily convinced by its [Eton Institute] multiple good reviews online.
The next thing I know, I was already starting my first class...”
How important is learning Arabic in the UAE?
I think it is of key importance both professionally and personally. Of course, you can use English and still have a very good working and living experience here, but knowing the local language definitely opens more doors and helps you establish better relationships with people in the UAE.
What have you found the easiest and the most challenging part of learning the language?
Since I have always loved the sound of the Arabic language, I have secretly wanted to be able to speak it. I started off with a great enthusiasm which made the whole learning process smoother. I keep getting surprised by some of the similarities Arabic has with my language, Bulgarian –two very different languages, yet so similar in its structure and flow.
I would say the pronunciation can be a bit challenging, especially when I have only experienced learning Slavic and Germanic languages. In the beginning, it seemed nearly impossible to recreate the difficult sounds, but now I definitely have improved. I got so good at the “Kh” sound that my friends are joking with me for saying “Khow are you?”
“Dedication is really important. It will not always be easy,
but great things happen to those who are passionate and dedicated.”
What motivates you to learn more?
Seeing the results of my efforts is definitely satisfying and very motivating. Who would’ve thought that I would be able to read and write this sophisticated script! Also, the encouragement of my Arabic friends keeps my enthusiasm high. My best friend even promised to take me on a vacation to an Arabic-speaking country when I can have a proper meaningful Arabic conversation with her. So, that is speeding up the process!
Do you plan on learning any other languages, or will you work to improve your Arabic skills?
For now, I want to fully dedicate myself to Arabic. In the future, I would love to learn Greek because my grandmother is Greek.
What’s your best tip for people who want to start learning a new language?
Go for it! Languages connect you to more people and more opportunities. It is an exciting and fun journey that enriches you as a person. Dedication is really important. It will not always be easy, but great things happen to those who are passionate and dedicated. Lastly, learn a language that you are truly passionate about and personally interested in. It makes the whole experience much smoother and enjoyable.
Are you ready for a life-changing experience? Check out our Arabic classes here.