When Georgia Institute of Technology announced in April that it would teach a course in Arabic this fall, demand was so high that a waiting list had to be established the second day of registration.

          Rim Kamali, the Georgia Tech’s Lebanon-born Arabic instructor, told GlobalFax that the class of 25 students currently has a waiting list of 40 applicants.

          “We knew that there was going to be a lot of interest,” Ms. Kamali added because of the increased demand for foreign language training by engineering and computer students throughout the university.

          The students enrolled for a variety of reasons, she said, including the recognition that the ability to speak foreign languages is increasingly required by multinational companies.

          “While many universities have experienced a decline in language enrollment across the United States, Georgia Tech has seen an increase in demand, particularly from their technically oriented students,” said Ms. Kamali.

         “The students feel that a knowledge of Arabic will assist them in their future careers,” she added, citing major construction projects throughout the Middle East.

          She also said that second generation Arabs, who speak fragmented Arabic at home, and Pakistanis, who are Muslim and want to learn the language of their religion, were among those interested in the course.

          Arabic is the most recent addition to the university’s language offerings. Korean was offered for the first time last year, following a student initiative by both native Koreans and Korean-American students. The university’s School of Modern Languages also offers Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Russian and Spanish.

          To learn more about the university’s language programs, contact Rim Kamili at  HYPERLINK mailto:rim.kimali@modlangs.gatec.edu rim.kamali@modlangs.gatec.edu or Catherine Marin at HYPERLINK mailto:catherine.marin@modlangs.gatech.edu catherine.marin@modlangs.gatech.edu.