My adventure with Hebrew and Arabic

A journey to the unknown world

My adventure with Arabic and Hebrew began in my childhood. I was 10 years old, if I remember correctly, when my mother took me on a journey to the world that, until then, seemed unknown and unexplored.

Suddenly I knew what it actually meant and felt like to be at a Jewish cemetery or a synagogue. It was my opportunity to admire the beautiful, yet mysterious letters. At that moment they meant absolutely nothing to me but at the same time evoked a feeling close to excitement.

Right then I realized that there was a second, third, fourth, and perhaps also a fifth world next to the one I had become accustomed to as a child. Who can really know how many dimensions are functioning simultaneously in some kind of harmony? I couldn’t fully comprehend the idea at that moment.

Tatar roots

The trip into the unknown involved getting to know myself and my own roots. I found out that I come from a family with strong Tatar traditions at a very young age. I remember it made a huge impression on me. I got a sense of having my own identity, which I decided to build on solid foundations.

I can perfectly remember my first visit to the mosques in Kruszyniany and Bohoniki in Podlasie, the verses on the walls calligraphed with gold thread and the impression it all made on me. I had the opportunity to sleep in a Tatar yurt and even the ubiquitous earwigs could not spoil my mood. I also visited Tatar cemeteries and was given the opportunity to admire the beautiful Arabic inscriptions on the tombstones. I even managed to find the grave of my ancestor with a very well-known family name. All of this has had an enormous impact on me.

So began my fascination with the Hebrew and Arabic languages and the Middle Eastern cultures.

The difficult road to Arabic philology

When I was in high school I decided that, after passing the Matura exam, I wanted to study Arabic philology. I decided to apply to the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań because I had, and still have, an extremely strong fondness for this city. Unfortunately, my plan failed – I didn’t manage to get to my dream destination.

Luckily, I knew it was better to be safe than sorry so I also applied to Hebrew philology. This time I was successful. I made a promise to myself that one day I will also get a degree in Arabic Philology. I knew well that it would require strong determination on my side. I used the help of Moroccan and Syrian teachers, as well as my Polish friends who helped me study. It took us a few years. Finally, I made a decision to apply for a Masters Degree. It meant I had to prepare well for the entrance exam. I did good. I now have a Master’s degree in Arabic Philology, Hebrew Philology, and I am currently a PhD student at the Doctoral School of Languages and Literatures of the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań.

Visiting synagogues and mosques, getting to know new cultures and the growing fascination with the Middle East have taught me many things. Those experiences have lead to countless deep reflections. As a child, I learned to respect other people no matter where they come from. After all, we are all human and we can learn from one another. All we need is mutual interest.


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