MaDaI - Interkulturelles Training

Arabic Charme


My name is Stefania, I'm 23 year old, Italian, totally in love with Arabic culture, food, politics, in short, everything that concerns the Arabic world.
I study at the University in Milano Arabic Culture. In this month’s Ma.Da.I news I would like to a brief summary of my experiences in Syria where I spent one month in order to learn more about the Arabic culture and improve my ability to speak the language.
I arrived in Damascus in September 2010 and, as I had no house and no school I went to seek asylum at the Italian Embassy... they reproached me for my recklessness (They were right, I mean, Syria is not Switzerland! Nevertheless, they were really kind and helped me find a somewhere to live and a teacher of Arabic language but I guess I was lucky and wouldn’t recommend my approach; careful advanced planning and preparation helps to avoid surprises!
Every day there was something new to discover! Just as example; one day, coming back from my daily language course I was confronted by a dead goat hanging on the door of the house where I was living! Being the first time I had seen something like this I was shocked - and went shopping for some hours hoping that the goat would disappear before I returned. Unfortunately in the evening it was still there! Of course I asked and was informed that hanging the dead animals is part of the ritual slaughter of smaller animals (Dhabīḥah (or Zabiha, Arabic: ذَبِيْحَة‎ ḏabīḥah IPA: [ðæˈbiːħɐ]) allowing the animal to bleed to death and thus purify it ready for consumption according to Islamic tradition.
During the month in Syria I also had the opportunity to travel throughout Syria (naturally, with my Lonely Planet guide always close at hand!); from Dar’a (near the Jordanian border), to Palmyra (almost in the middle of Syria and with beautiful ancient Roman ruins!) and to Aleppo (near the Turkish border). Enjoying the countryside, the hospitality and the Syrian Cuisine. Even as a vegetarian, the cuisine has plenty to offer!
One beautiful evening, which particularly stays in my memory, we sat on our terrace in Damascus, smoking Narghilè ("shisha" in colloquial Arabic language) and eating falafel… with abundant hummus sauce…it seemed as if I was part of the Ararbian Nights or maybe Disney’s Alladin cartoon! Try the recipe in part II, it’s not something for those who don’t like garlic and for those who are not so fond of hot spices don’t try the Zhug…but with sweet, hot black tea on a warm evening this is a great supper for a summer evening and maybe you’ll appreciate a little of the Arabian magic!

 Marchese Daniela - Ma.Da.I

     Intercultural Management