Where do We Learn Arabic?
How many non-Arab expatriates speak Arabic in Qatar? The answer is most likely to be a negligible percentage. Just under half of the population are non-Arab expatriates. Since English is the language of business, and there is no pressing need to know Arabic to survive here, not many take the initiative. Expatriates outnumber the citizens, it isn’t surprising that English and other languages precede Arabic in usage.
Even if it weren’t a need, learning the language would make the Qatar experience an even more interesting one.
There’s no better way to make friends with the host. A few Arabic phrases itself go a long way in breaking the ice.
Here are a few centres in Qatar that offer Arabic language courses, some can be tailored to your requirement and others with fixed schedules.
1. Qatar University – College of the Arts and Sciences
The College of the Arts and Sciences at Qatar University offers a yearlong course for non-native speakers of Arabic through the Arabic for Non-Native Speakers program. The program is open to non-native speakers enrolled in Qatar University with study grants who must develop proficiency in Arabic before they can pick a program or college of their choice.
The university offers levels of Arabic study: Beginners 1 & 2, Intermediate 1 & 2 and Advanced 1 & 2. Courses focus on reading, writing, listening comprehension and speaking along with appreciation of language patterns. Intermediate and Advanced level students can also avail of courses such as Media Arabic, Modern Arabic Literature and Classic Arabic Literature.
In order to be eligible to enroll in the program, prospective students need to be between 18 and 40 years old. For further eligibility requirements and other information, visit the Qatar University Arabic for Non-Native Speakers website.
2. Translation and Interpreting Institute (Hamad Bin Khalifa University)
The Translation and Interpreting Institute at the Hamad Bin Khalifa University offers two levels of communicative Arabic language instruction. One of them is an intensive program and the other is a thirteen-week semester course, which offers two levels of Arabic for beginners. Intermediate courses have been planned for the Fall 2013 semester. Read about the curriculum of each course here.
In addition, TII also offers three levels of an Intensive Arabic Program. Prospective students must take a placement exam before they enroll in a program. To contact the test administrator to sign up for a placement test, you can email the Arabic Coordinator.
The course fee schedule is available here.
For more information on the program, visit the TII homepage.
3. Fanar (Qatar Islamic Cultural Center)
Fanar’s Arabic language offerings comprise of spoken Arabic classes and classes for levels 1 through 5 for men and ladies separately.
Each course runs for two and half months and is held twice a week. Both morning and evening classes are offered. The spoken language course is a personalized course that familiarizes students with Arabic used in daily communications such as greetings, numbers, phrases andnumbers. Levels 1 through 5 focus on reading, written and spoken Arabic including grammar and literature.
Two morning sessions are offered to accommodate women. The course fee is QR300. All you need to sign up for classes are your Qatar ID card and two passport-size photos. For enrolment, men can contact 44250175 and ladies can call 44250173/289 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit the Fanar Education Center website for more information.
4. Maryam Ibnata Imraan Center
The Maryam Center offers Arabic languages mainly for Muslim women and girls. The course here is divided into four levels. Each level is one year long and is priced at QR500 per year. Quranic Arabic, grammar as well as spoken and written Arabic are what the center focuses its instruction on. Classes are twice a week on Mondays and Wednesdays.
For more information, call the center at 44505301 or 55291785 or email email@example.com
5. Berlitz Language Center
The Berlitz Center offers spoken Arabic courses split into ten levels. Classes for each level are held twice a week in the evenings from 6pm to 7.30pm or 7.30pm to 9pm and run for three months per level. Each class accommodates between four and eight students. The fee for regular courses is QR3,400 and for intensive private courses is QR7,000. For more information, visit the Berlitz Qatar website.
You can also teach yourself Arabic by listening to our periodic ‘Say it in Arabic’ column where we present different words and phrases by native speakers.