xand.net - Arabic - Studies in Syria - MODERN STANDARD ARABIC



This page provides an overview of schools teaching Modern Standard Arabic in Syria.

Please email arabic@xand.net if you would like to update the information on this list. Before making firm plans, CALL the numbers below for up to date information. Please do your part in helping to maintain this page by emailing me corrections.

Arabic Teaching Institute for Foreigners
telephone: +963 11 6132646

Schedule: The winter semester is held from October through May. Hours in the winter semester are 9-12 AM with a 30 minute break, Monday through Thursday and Saturday, so there is no weekend but instead Friday and Sunday off. The summer semester is from the beginning of June to the middle of August (16-June to 15-August in 1998). Note that incredibly the winter semester covers the same material as the summer semester. The ATIF also sometimes offers night courses for shorter durations of time which are less intensive, call for information (last known course from 1-September-1998 to 1-January-1999, $US120 and in addition to this SP 4000, meeting 5-7 PM a few days per week).

Course details: The cost for either the Winter semester or the Summer semester is about US$450.00 which must be paid in US dollars and a small additional fee in Syrian Pounds. The class size is generally large (20+ persons). The program has 4 levels, though the first two are virtually the same. The materials used are created in-house and are of poor quality. The quality of the teaching staff ranges from poor to good. Reports on the overall quality of instruction indicate that it is low. Bring copies of your academic degree for admission.

Residence and housing: The ATIF facilitates Iqama (residence card) for the full duration of the course with minimal paperwork difficulty. Some housing assistance may be available. A local AIDS test is required.

Miscellaneous: Occasional cultural trips are arranged for students in all courses.

Getting there: Take a taxi to the Saudi Consulate (al-Konsuliya al-Sawdiya) in Mezzeh. Note that you do not want the Saudi Embassy, which is on Abu Romaneh street.

ESP Centre
Faculty of Arts and Letters (Kuliyyat-al-Adab)
University of Damascus

telephone/fax: +963 11 2119853

Schedule: New semesters begin at the beginning of March, June, September and December. The summer semester beginning in June is somewhat shorter than the others. Hours for the three normal semesters are from 9 to 12:30 with a 30 minute break, Saturday through Wednesday. Afternoon classes may also be available, but have been cancelled after a few weeks in the last two semesters previous to the time of this writing.

Course details: The cost per semester is about SP 6000, or US$120.00, which must be paid in Syrian Pounds. The class size varies but can be large (8 persons minimum, but beginning and middle levels are generally 20 persons). The program has 5 levels which are closely linked to the materials. The books used are the 3 volumes of Kitab Al-Assassy ("basic book") from the Arab League in Tunis, which is of fairly high quality and would be worth obtaining in advance. Level 1 corresponds to book 1, Level 2 to the first half of book 2, Level 3 to the second half of book 2, level 4 to the first half of book 3 and level 5 to the second half of book 3. Level 5 is often not offered due to lack of interest. The quality of the teaching staff is generally low, most professors have only a diploma in Arabic literature. Bring copies of your academic degree for admission.

Residence and housing: Students are required to register as listeners at the University of Damascus to obtain Iqama (residence card) for a period which seems to be 6 months or the end of the academic year (whichever is sooner). The paperwork is difficult, see web page on  registering at the University of Damascus for step by step instructions. A local AIDS test is required. No housing assistance is available.

Getting there: The ESP Centre is located on the grounds of the Faculty of Arts and Letters at the Kuliyyat-al-Adab on the Autostrada to Mezzeh. Proceed first to the Sheraton Hotel at Ommayad Square (Sahat-Omayeen), and then approach the main gate of the University by following the Autostrada. Note that this is the gate which cars can enter, not the smaller gate before it. Enter the gate and approach the statue of the President. Turn right and enter the building which appears to be round which will be right in front of you, behind the pay phones. Proceed up the circular staircase in the middle and ask for the secretary.

(Institut Français d'Etudes Arabes de Damas)
PO Box 344
Damascus, Syria
telephone: +963 11 3331962/3334959
fax: +963 11 3327887

Schedule: the IFEAD runs its courses on a trimester system. At the time of this writing the next semester is from 12-April-1999 to 11-June-1999. Following this will be a special summer course which will be of lower level (see below), dates have not yet been chosen, but 1998 dates were 1-July to 29-July. The summer course is 5 days per week for 5 hours, totalling 100 hours.

Course Details: Each trimester costs approximately US$1000, or one academic year costs about US$2900. Students must pass an examination on language and literature placing them at the level of a University student who has studied for 3 years. The intention of this course is to help academics gain the facility with language required in order to conduct research using Arabic language materials. A week in the normal trimester during the academic year consists of about 11 hours in groups of 8 to 12 participants broken into diverse subjects such as language, press, world affairs, and Syrian Colloquial, and in addition 4 hours of individual instruction in materials relevant to the interests of the student which can also include Syrian Colloquial. The quality of the teaching staff is high, and the quality of the materials used is high. The summer course costs approximately US$665. The summer course accepts students with one year of University studies or higher.

Residence and housing: The IFEAD facilitates Iqama (residence card) for the period the student will study. The paperwork can be done with a low to moderate level of difficulty. Some housing assistance may be available, and there is a small amount of housing in the IFEAD building. A local AIDS test is required.

Getting there: Note that this is not the French Cultural Centre. The IFEAD is located just off Abu Romaneh street on a side street to the right which is across from the Jordanian Embassy if you are headed from the Bridge of the President up Abu Romaneh street.

Arabisch in Damaskus AG
(connected with the Goethe Institut which plays the role of German Culture Centre)
telephone: +963 11 2211733/3327842
telephone: +963 11 3336673 (Goethe Institut)
fax: +963 11 3320849

Schedule: Course dates are highly irregular, call for information. The course is highly intensive in small classes of approximately 4 to 10 students for about 4 hours per day for one month.

Course details:  The cost is quoted in Deutchmark, DM 950 with room and DM 750 without room. Unlike other MSA courses in Damascus, grammar may sometimes be explained in German or English. Several Scandanavian and German Universities organize courses for their students through this organization. It is recommended to the student to make contact directly by telephone for information. If the student is a German speaker contact the Landesspracheninstitut Rheinland-Westfalen in Bochum, Arabicum (+49 234 7007750) for information on the courses they organize at this institution two or three times per year. Reports on the quality of instruction have ranged from middle to high.

Residence and housing: The short duration of this course makes obtaining a residence card optional. Housing can be provided as mentioned above.

Getting there: Goethe Institut staff do not generally have information on the next course, so it is better to phone the number listed above.

Al Safir
Aleppo - Syria, P.O. Box: 18023
telephone: +963 21 5551923

Schedule: 4 or 8 week courses, either three or six 90 minutes classes per week.

Course details: Al Safir is a language school which offers classes in Arabic for foreigners at a price of about US $12 per 90 minute class. Its primary business is the teaching of classes in English, French, German and Italian to Syrians.

Residence and housing: Call to find out about residence cards. Housing can be provided either in apartments or hotels.

Getting there: call for directions.

Web Page: this school has its own web page, provided by former student Tomas Trunecek, at http://www.geocities.com/tomas_trunecek/.

Hussein Maxos

I am also hoping my old teacher contacts me to be listed, he knows who he is.

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