Arab Culture Club shares culture through weekly movie nights


President of ACC and communication studies senior Dania Sherian pointing to one of the club's Middle Eastern Movie Night flyers. Photo credit: Abby Gutierrez

Abby Gutierrez

Arab Culture Club aims to promote cross-cultural understanding and share the Arab culture and language through weekly movie nights and coffee hangouts with the Texas State community.

ACC first began fall 2018 and this is the second semester they are putting on weekly movie night events.

Vice President of ACC Grace Todd, international studies junior, said ACC is hoping these events will bring people together, spread cultural awareness and share news about the club.

“We want to create a fun environment for people who are of Arabic descent and who aren’t, who want to learn Arabic to come together and celebrate Middle Eastern culture, Arabic food and movies,” Todd said.

ACC movie nights are every Wednesday at 8 p.m. in Centennial 106. Todd said the club is currently watching season one of the “Arabic telenovela” called Al Hayba on Netflix first premiered in 2017.

Todd said watching Al Hayba has given her good practice in strengthening her understanding of the Arabic language, and she encourages everyone wanting to learn the language to stop by and watch with them.

“The more I watch the easier it is to get into it,” Todd said. “But that’s just the key to learning any foreign language, watch the TV shows.”

Noha Mohama-Akkari, faculty adviser for ACC, said she believes the movie nights are a perfect way to learn about the Arab culture.

“The shows also introduces the culture by showing the way they live, how they dress on a daily basis,” Mohama-Akkari said.

Mohama-Akkari said one of the reasons why the club has wanted to make a bigger presence on campus and share the Arab culture with the Texas State community is because of her experience in seeing a recent increase in international students taking interest in the Arab culture.

“There are more Arab students here who can promote the culture and at the same time help other students be acquainted with the Arabic language,” Mohama-Akkari said.

Because there can be misunderstandings and misconceptions about many cultures, Mohama-Akkari said it is good for there to be cultural conversations and for students to share their cultural background with others.

“When you have international students, they would love to communicate with native students who are from the same country,” Mohama-Akkari said. “It’s good for both sides. It helps both sides to know each other better.”

President of ACC Dania Sherian, communication studies senior, said she has seen a lot of people who are interested in the club and learning Arabic around campus.

“I’ve seen a lot of students who are interested (in the club) even non-Arab students,” Sherian said. “So many people are becoming aware there are people from different places, different cultures and different religions, and that is a good thing.”

Todd said another reason why ACC wants to share the Arabic culture is to help provide a better understanding and accurate perception of the Arab culture.

“In this modern era when the Middle East is pretty targeted by western society—which is awful—an Arab Culture Club on campus where people can come, ask questions and get a better understanding of the culture as opposed to what they may hear from the news or family (is important),” Todd said.

Todd said one of the biggest reasons why she decided to attend Texas State was because of its diverse community.

“I think it’s crucial to being a human being is being exposed to different people and making cross-cultural friendships,” Todd said. “That’s how the world is, it’s not just a certain type of people.”

ACC welcomes anyone interested in learning about Arab culture.

Todd said the club is hoping to increase their participation and its number of members, so that in the future they are able to put on bigger events like fundraising on The Quad or bringing speakers to talk about different Arab countries and cultural customs.

“Someday we’d like to have some sort of buffet quad (event), where we’d all eat Arabic food and learn about the culture,” Todd said. “We haven’t gotten there yet, but we’re on our way. One step at a time.”

For more information contact ACC president Dania Sherian at [email protected]

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