WORD OF THE DAY
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Travelling to Arabic speaking countries to study at an Arabic school or Arabic institute can be an exciting, adventurous, and immensely rewarding and beneficial experience. Alternatively, it can be a complete disaster.
As Shakespeare put it, 'The readiness is all'! If you're going to benefit from your time in an Arabic speaking country, you need to be prepared linguistically, and know a little about the country you're travelling to.
If you haven't spent learning some Arabic grammar (not to mention some Arabic letters of the alphabet and some basic Arabic phrases!) before going, you will simply be wasting your time as you're taught, very slowly and inefficiently, what you could have learnt in the comfort of your own home in a fraction of the time.
The fact is, Arabic schools and institutes are generally not that good at teaching Arabic to complete beginners. For one thing, they almost all use Immersion Textbooks (see the article How to Learn Arabic). Secondly, they are attended by students from all over the world, who in many cases haven't been fortunate enough to have had the level of education offered in the West. The pace of the classroom can therefore be grindingly slow.
The main benefit to be derived from studying at an Arabic school is the exposure you will gain to spoken Arabic, the opportunity to practice your own spoken Arabic with teachers and other students, and perhaps to formally study some Arabic texts. This is only possible if you've taken some time to study Arabic at home, before engaging in the much more difficult task of trying to learn Arabic abroad (see the Online Arabic courses section)
You also need to know a little bit about the Arabic speaking country you want to study in, such as accommodation information, political situation, visa requirements etc. These particular details can change very quickly, so it's best to try and get in touch with someone currently studying in the Arabic speaking country you wish to travel to.
Below, we have provided links and reviews to Arabic schools and institutions which offer Arabic courses to foreigners. To repeat, the advice given here is predicated on your already having done as much as you can in your own time, before travelling.