Jiran (جيران) is a summer language program that pairs intermediate and advanced Arabic students with underserved Arabic-speaking families in New Britain, Connecticut. Jiran programming is focused on Arabic language learning and intercultural competence development. The program allows student participants to progress in Arabic, access Arabic speakers from places they cannot study abroad (Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Sudan, etc), and experientially learn about challenges facing Arabic-speaking families new to the US.

 

A Jiran summer has three components:

  • Linguistic/Cultural Instruction: Participants receive two hours of colloquial Levantine Arabic instruction five days per week, in addition to weekly intercultural competency workshops. The cultural competency workshops will be led each week by students and family participants.

 

  • Social Service Learning: Each week, the program will host guest lectures or community visits that will introduce participants to different aspects of the refugee resettlement and immigrant integration processes. Each student participant will also volunteer with a social service organization.

 

  • Student-Family Pairing: Each student will work with an Arabic-speaking family in the New Britain area. During Week 1, students familiarize themselves with the family’s history and needs through program assignments. Over the next weeks, students will work with the family and program staff to identify local resources to better support the family.

 

The program structure is subject to change, but see below for an idea of what each week of Jiran holds for student and family participants.

 

Week 1

Daily:

  • AM-Arabic Classes
  • PM- Intro to Social Work Workshop Series by local social workers, immigration lawyers, and case managers (Needs Assessment, Legal Framework, Make a Family Goals Plan, Setting Boundaries)

Events:

  • Cultural Competency Workshop 1
  • Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) Training
  • Cultural Event with interested family members (i.e. movie night, cooking club, sports, attend local event, etc)
  • Beginning-of-Program Celebration
Week 2

Daily:

  • AM-Arabic Classes
  • 2 days/week, first week of volunteer work with partner organizations
  • 3 days/week intro to local social service organizations field trips
  • Complete Week 1 of Family Plan

Events:

  • Cultural Competency Workshop 2
  • Cultural Event with interested family members

Week 3

Daily:

  • AM-Arabic Classes
  • 2 days/week second week of volunteer work with partner organizations
  • 3 days/week intro to refugee and immigration law and services lectures and field trips
  • Complete Week 2 of Family Plan

Events:

  • Cultural Competency Workshop 3
  • Cultural event with interested family members
  • Weekend day trip with families
Week 4

Daily:

  • AM-Arabic Classes
  • 2 days/week third week of volunteer work with partner organizations
  • Complete Week 3 of Family Plan
  • Preparation for community presentations

Events:

  • Cultural event with interested family members
  • Cultural Competency Workshop 4
Week 5

Daily:

  • AM-Arabic Classes
  • 2 days/week fourth week of volunteer work with partner organizations 
  • Complete Week 4 of Family Plan

Events:

  • Student-family pairs organize and present at local awareness meetings with community groups to share their experience
  •  End of Program Celebration
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