Thursday, May 5, 2016

Reflection 8 - Final Thoughts

As the spring semester comes to an end, I've come to reflect on all the things I've learned and read throughout the duration of this course. I initially took this course wanting to studying something I had little knowledge on but a subject that is often discussed about within the international community. As a student and as well as a global citizen, I firmly believe in the need of learning and teaching of the other cultures of the world other than one's own. I am happy to say that this Arab World course definitely exceeded my expectations and taught me to look at the world in a new perspective. I have learned a tremendous amount of new knowledge about a totally different culture and people that the world usually looks at in negative way, and to learn that the realities of the Arab world is not how its portrayed by the Western world. While much of the topics and discussions relating to the Arab world is mostly of political affairs and issues, it was refreshing to learn about the actual culture and the people of this area of the world. I did not realize before of the great contributions by the Arabs into math and science and how without those contributions, the world would not be for what it is today. Learning about the art and traditions of the Arab world was incredibly fascinating as we looked at Arabic calligraphy, the intricate geometric designs, and learned about the Islam religion. It is unfortunate that the media and education institutions only mainly cover the political instability or terrorism currently in the Arab world so that the majority of the world only knows the negative side of the Arab world rather than the Arab world as a whole. I am grateful for taking this class that now I understand more of the Arab world other than just the impact of 9/11 and how "horrible" Muslims and Arabs are portrayed to be. Everything that was taught and learned in this class does not have about the Arab world, but also should be applied to any other country or culture in the world. A particular culture or people should not be judged so quickly for what a small percentage of people from that group did, but people should first learn and be educated on the facts before making any decisions about those people. When the class touched on the subject of Arab stereotypes in the media, the class learned that Hollywood and the entertainment industry have continuously portrayed Arabs and the culture in such a negative light and this stereotype of Arabs has taught the majority of the Western world to see Arabs in this way. Very little of the population is willing to go farther to educate themselves on real truths of Arab matters than just what the media presents, which can be a very dangerous way of thought. But even in all prejudice and discrimination that Arabs have taken post-9/11, they have continued to celebrate their heritage and been proud of their Arab identity, as seen in "Axis of Evil Comedy Tour".
As a student, I have gained a great respect of the Arab world and its culture as I've continued to learn more and more about it throughout the course of the semester. Even though the course ended today, I know that my learning about the Arab world does not. Hopefully, I am able to take more classes in the future that will also include in discussions about the Arab world, or maybe even be fortunate enough to visit the Arab world in person.