Arabic linguists spend 63 weeks at the Defense Language Institute. You are in a class that is broken into smaller sub-classes with military members that are from various branches and ranks. Your time there will likely be longer than 63 weeks because you might have to wait weeks for your class to start (I had to wait on casual status for my class for 3 months, lots of cigarette butt pick up and lawn mowing!), along with the holiday break (EXODUS) and other various holidays. I believe I was there for one year and 7 months. I think Monterey is one of the most beautiful cities in the country. I really enjoyed being stationed there. The Presidio is historic and beautiful, it is close to Big Sur, you can spend the weekend hiking or hanging out on the beach, spend the day in San Francisco or attend concerts in Berkeley (just make sure you are back before your weekend pass is up!). However, being in the Army was stressful. You are doing PT every morning at 5:30am and Army training almost every afternoon, PT tests, range qualifications, room inspections, along with learning a very difficult foreign language. There is a lot of camaraderie, you will make friends that you will keep for life. But because you are still an IET (Initial Entry Training) soldier, you are treated like you just got out of basic training for almost half of your enlistment! Get used to being yelled at....well, that never really ends actually.
Follow on training in San Angelo, TX is hard because even though you are almost half way done with your enlistment you will have drill sergeants again, room inspections and you have to march everywhere. Army training is every day after class, which involves ruck marches and active fire drills...lots fire ants and prickly pear cactus. Texas is beautiful though...beautiful birds, big rivers with clear warm water. You are close to the hill country and Austin.
Once I finally arrive at my gaining unit is when I experienced what everyone calls 'the real Army'. I was attached to an infantry division, so my experience was very different than those who are assigned to intelligence units. I arrived at my first unit at a time when we were scheduled to deploy within months. There was very little time for language training. We spent most of our time in the motor pool, prepping shipping containers, doing lay outs of gear, maintaining our vehicles, ruck marches and weapons training at the range. We spent two weeks in Fort Irwin practicing 'war games' and immediately before deploying we took a two week dialect course.
While deployed, I spent 12 hour days translating and speaking with locals. I was a driver for my team and we convoyed to various areas with the infantry. I became addicted to working and I loved every minute of it. PT is encouraged but not mandatory. I became a very good runner (ironically when I didn't have someone screaming at me to go faster!) Chow hall is good.
Once returning to Garrison, our time was divided between the motor pool, conducting general training (PT tests, promotion boards, DLPT, etc.)and setting up a small language center for the linguists to continue to study and maintain our language skills.
After my enlistment ended, I spent time as a reservist attached to a intelligence unit. I spent much of the time sitting at a desk and translating documents. It was really peaceful and nice!