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Do I need to be able to speak Arabic in the Middle East and North Africa?


The answer is you don't necessarily have to be able to speak Arabic in the Middle East and North Africa, but you probably should.

The reason is that Arab people love their language, have a great deal of respect for it and tend to think highly of people who make the effort to learn some Arabic, even if it is just a few words. You will not need Arabic, particularly if you go and work somewhere like Dubai, where practically everyone speaks English but in other parts of the Arab world you will be able to get much further if you have it. Generally speaking, I just say that it smooths the way in commercial negotiations and it makes people well disposed to working with you because they will feel that you have a real interest in their language and their culture if you have taken the effort to learn a bit about it.

About Cynthia Dearin

Cynthia Dearin is an international business expert, business author and keynote speaker on the topic of leadership. She owns Dearin & Associates, an international business consulting firm specialising in fast-growing emerging markets, which provides companies with the commercial intelligence and strategies, cultural skills and trusted contacts that they need to succeed in new countries.

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