Loyola University Chicago

Modern Languages and Literatures

Arabic Language Tutors

Current Tutor

Lizeth Vargas

Hello! marHaba! My name is Lizeth Vargas, a junior majoring in Global Studies and minoring in Arabic and Peace Justice and Conflict Studies. I studied Arabic in my first two years at Loyola and continue to do independent studying of the language. I am most passionate about social justice, especially as it relates to problems that forces people to be displaced by conflict and the rights of women and children. This passion led me to my journey and love of learning new languages as it helps me connect with people and their culture. I can speak Spanish and English fluently, studied German for four years, and am learning Portuguese as well! Learning a new language is challenging as it forces you to express and think about communicating differently than what one’s used to, but I am here to help in any way I can from my experience of approaching new languages throughout the years. In my free time I take care of my plants, read just about any book I get my hands on, and tutor English, reading, and math to refugees and immigrants in Chicago.

Former Tutors

Natalie Burdsall

My name is Natalie and I am a senior with a double major in Global Studies and Communication Studies, and a double minor in Arabic Language & Culture and Islamic World Studies. I finished the Arabic program last year, but I am excited to support it as an Arabic tutor by providing other non-native speakers with the help they need to create a strong foundational understanding of the language. Although this is my first year as an Arabic tutor, I am starting my second year as the American Sign Language (ASL) Coach, drawing upon my knowledge as a native to the language –– I am a Child of a Deaf Adult, or CODA. In the future, I hope to continue studying Arabic by moving to an Arabic-speaking country, and to utilize my knowledge of the language through international peace work. Outside of school and my professional aspirations, I enjoy playing on the womxn’s rugby team, camping, and exploring the different communities in Chicago, especially those where I can practice my Arabic skills or use ASL!

Kate Steward

I am a junior here at Loyola majoring in Global Studies and minoring in Arabic Language and Culture. I have studied Arabic for two years at Loyola and I hope to continue my learning by studying abroad next year in Jordan. I have a passion for language, literature, foreign relations, and art - all of which I have been able to pursue as an Arabic student. As a non-native speaker, walking into my first Arabic class was certainly daunting, but my desire to be able to connect with people across the world allowed me to embrace the challenge. Language serves as a bridge among people as we could not communicate without it and I am grateful for the skills that Arabic has taught me, enabling me to interact with others in a way that I would not have previously been able to do so. I look forward to sharing what has helped me with the language and working with all of you!

Lilia Abushaban

"I’m a senior here at Loyola majoring in Global & International Studies and minoring in Arabic Language and Culture. I am a Palestinian-American and was born and raised in the south-west suburbs of Chicago. I grew up speaking Arabic at home with my family and have always been infatuated with the cultural diversity and politics of the Middle East. I also have worked as an Arabic tutor on multiple opportunities. I have traveled to the Middle East a couple of times; visiting places like Palestine, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan and learned so much about the people, cultures and political atmospheres there. My hobbies include exploring the different neighborhoods in Chicago with my friends, rollerblading, and visiting various coffee shops. I look forward to getting to work with you all!"


My name is Bella and I am a senior majoring in Global & International Studies and Political Science while specializing in Anthropology and Arabic Language & Culture. I have a great interest in learning about politics and culture and I am passionate about inspiring others to learn about the Arabic language and its larger social context. I just completed my second year of Arabic and as a non-native speaker, I hope to share my tips and solutions on possible difficulties that may arise learning the foundations of Arabic. In the future, I would like to continuously improve my knowledge and skills of Arabic through domestic and international work as well as in my personal travels. In my free time, I love to try new food and bike around Chicago along with my recent interest, knitting. I look forward to meeting and working with all of you!

Natasha Brasfield

"I am a senior majoring in International Business while specializing in Arabic Language & Culture and [Mandarin] Chinese Language & Culture. I just finished my second year of Arabic language, along with a year gap for studying at University of International Business and Economics (UIBE) in Beijing, China.

I am a language buff and have learned 7 languages so far, fluent in 3 (Spanish and Mandarin). In my free-time, I dabble in calligraphy, fashion sketching, translation, dance, and trying new foods. When at home in St. Louis, I volunteer at an organization for immigrants and refugees that helps people get U.S. citizenship, learn English, and get accustomed to life in the U.S. I am very excited to be an Arabic tutor this year. Stop by for help, a chat, and an Arab treat!"

Arwa Madhwala

"I'm a junior at Loyola, studying Finance and Arabic Language. I have a passion for learning about other cultures and languages, stemming from my years living in multiple countries at a young age. I speak 5 languages, and I am currently trying to learn German and French as well. I love learning about the world through art, history, music, and literature. I believe in growing my cultural competence and hope to apply what I learn from others in my future work, travels, and personal encounters. I aspire to use my language and business skills to once again live abroad and continue my enthusiasm for understanding and immersing myself in various cultures." 

Kyle Scheuring

Kyle is a senior at Loyola University Chicago studying English Literature, Studio Art, and Arabic Language. He has a particular interest in language and literature, studying Arabic for two consecutive years and spending a summer abroad in Amman, Jordan at the University of Jordan.

Kyle’s interest in language also mixes with his love of music, and he has begun collecting soul records from the Arab world. Although surrounded by Spanish speakers while growing up in the Southwest, Kyle finds knowing Arabic helps him establish many relationships and friendships in Chicago, and he is always looking to learn new words. 

Maria Ravazoula

Maria is a senior at Loyola University Chicago majoring Criminal Justice and Psychology with a minor in Arabic Language and Literature. She recently graduated from two consecutive years of the Arabic Program at Loyola. She is fluent in 3 languages, including Greek and French, and has learned a total of 6 languages. She loves working with and helping other students, as well as providing them with ways to better understand the ins and outs of languages.

In her free time, Maria likes to get involved in various philanthropical organizations throughout campus. In the fall 2018, Maria received the distinguished opportunity to join the Jesuit Honor Society, Alpha Sigma Nu.

Ariane Rahim

Ariane Rahim is currently an undergraduate student at Loyola University Chicago. She is a senior majoring in French and double-minoring in Arabic and Islamic World Studies. She has recently completed her Arabic minor after studying the language for two consecutive years.

Although a non-native speaker, Ariane’s passion for learning Arabic has led her to practice the language in various ways. She reads Arabic books, volunteers at non-profit organizations helping Syrian, Palestinian, and Iraqi refugees, and speaks to Arab friends and strangers alike when the opportunity arises.

Despite living in Chicago, Ariane still encounters unique situations where she can communicate and help others in Arabic. Read her blog entries to learn more about these experiences!

Anisa Hussain

I graduated from Loyola in 2017 with a degree in Biology and minors in Psychology and Arabic Language & Culture. I have tutored in a variety of subjects throughout my four years (going on five) at Loyola and this is my third year as an Arabic tutor. My interests include film and literature from around the world as well as service, specifically regarding the plight of refugees and immigrants. I am currently earning my Masters degree in Medical Sciences at Loyola and am especially interested in merging my passions for service and medicine. I'm looking forward to another year of tutoring Arabic in the LLRC!

Jessica Paterson

‌Jessica is a senior majoring in Political Science and International Studies, with minors in Arabic, Islamic World Studies, and Peace Studies.  She has taken Arabic at Loyola for two years, completing her 104 level class last spring.  She has a passion for helping other students learn an understand not only the Arabic language, but also its relating culture and history.  As a non-native speaker, Jessica understands the difficulties of learning a new foreign language and is able to assist in mastering the basic principles of the Arabic language.  In the future, Jessica hopes to utilize her Arabic language skills in both her work and personal travels. 

Megan Meagher

My name is Megan Meagher. I am a junior majoring in History with an emphasis in the Middle East, and minoring in Arabic Language & Culture and Islamic World Studies. I have now completed two years of Arabic at Loyola and have continued to develop my studies in Arabic through the CLS (Critical Language Scholarship) program, where last summer I spent 8 weeks in Tangier, Morocco as part of a language-intensive program. I am now using what I have learned from both my classes at Loyola as well as in Morocco to help me study Classical Islamic texts as part of an independent research project through the Provost Fellowship. My hope is to continue my studies in Arabic and religious studies at the graduate level.  I have loved volunteering as an Arabic tutor, both in terms of fostering the growth of others’ language acquisition as well as witnessing the ways in which other students’ dynamic array of interests in the Arabic language continues to evolve and deepen throughout their time at Loyola.

Ali Siddiqui

Ali Siddiqui is currently a Loyola undergraduate student majoring in Biology with minors in Asian Languages and Literature as well as Biostatistics. He has studied Arabic since high school and is currently doing a second year of Arabic at Loyola University Chicago. Additionally, he has studied the language at various institutions in the Chicago-land area such as Darul Hikmah as well as privately with scholars in the field.

Though he is not a native speaker of the language, he is convinced that his history of learning Arabic as a second language helps him better connect with his students and teach the language. Ali is a recipient of the Joyce Scholarship and while he is currently taking Arabic courses at Loyola, he plans to continue studying the language after graduation.

Ali receives great positive evaluations from students he is tutoring at different levels of Arabic . He is also very dedicated to working with Dr. Sawsan Abbadi, the coordinator of the Arabic program at Loyola University Chicago. In May 2012, the Center for Tutoring and Academic Excellence has awarded Ali with the SISTER MARY JOHNETTA TUTOR OF THE YEAR AWARD!

Chris Benson

Chris Benson is a Loyola undergraduate student majoring in History, Anthropology, and Sociology with minors in Islamic World Studies and Asian Studies. 

He first studied Arabic independently before entering Loyola and taking the second year classes his freshman year.  That summer he received the Critical Language Scholarship to study Arabic in Rabat, Morocco, for eight weeks, taking intensive Arabic classes during the day and enjoying his host family life at night.

As a non-native speaker from an especially non-diverse neighborhood of Cincinnati, Ohio, Chris knows he can relate to students’ initial difficulties with the Arab language and culture and guide them through to the eventual rewards of studying such an unfamiliar language.