Last weekend I took a group of students at my school for a language-immersion weekend to Petra and Wadi Rum. Petra is absolutely breathtaking but the real gem was camping in the desert with the Bedouins in Wadi Rum – where they filmed The Martian. The Arabic language is a very historically rich and culturally-infused language and I explained to the students how it is about much more than just vocabulary words on a piece of paper. So we all saw this in action while camping with the Bedouin. Learning the simple vocabulary word “sahha” or “sahtein,” for example, which the Bedouin said when seeing one of the students take a drink of water, requires understanding the history behind the word – which is that of the harsh life of the desert, and the linguistic reflection of expressing appreciation for something as simple as water. So something I always encourage younger students in their language journey – sometimes it is necessary to forget the pen and paper and go out and lose yourself in the actual lived language!