The Best Way to Learn Arabic! Past Review

By (Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology, Trinity University) - abroad from 06/14/2017 to 08/09/2017 with

American University of Beirut: Beirut - Intensive Summer Arabic Program

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned a lot of Arabic which is why you would come to this program. Everyone tremendously improves!

Review Photos

American University of Beirut: Beirut - Intensive Summer Arabic Program  Photo

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

This course is very difficult - but well worth it! You start class every morning at 8:30 and it goes until 1 where you have a lunch. In the afternoon there are classes as well but they aren't learning the language but they are geared towards having conversations or learning about the culture or taking a small excursion. The library is open most of the summer as well with only the last week having different hours due to the rest of the campus not having class. They place you into the correct class during the first day and they have a bookstore on campus where you can buy the books so you don't have to bring a heavy book from your home country if not necessary! We have a test every week - but then when you are going through material at such a quick pace, there is a lot of information! We are graded off of homework, homework corrections, doing things on the companion website, tests, oral tests, skits, and writing samples!

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The On-site administration is phenomenal! Even though there were communication issues (mostly regarding getting our ID and getting our deposit back) none of it was due to the on-site administration. They tried their hardest to keep us in the loop and give us appropriate information. The head of the program is very hands on. He would walk by classes and sit in on them and even teach us a section! He knew all of us by name and would always make sure to say hello (in Arabic) whenever he saw us on campus!

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

There are multiple options for housing and one includes not going through AUB. I opted to live off campus.

* Food:

AUB is perfectly located on Bliss street. Food for lunch can be anything from fast food to a shawarma or even have a sit down meal. Even past eating around AUB, withing a short taxi ride or a walk there are amazing food options!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I feel like this is difficult for me to rate since I am of Middle Eastern heritage. I know the school makes a point to take us on cultural trips. Some were better than others but I know I feel integrated but I do not know if that is due to AUB or due to my own background.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Again, hard for me to discuss since I was not on the AUB health care plan but opted to make claims with my healthcare when I came back to my home state. I did have a problem with my health and the doctors at the hospital I went to were very nice. Again, this was not even the hospital affiliated with AUB. I know a friend of mine was having troubles with her AUB health insurance to come up as valid at the AUB Hospital.

* Safety:

The country does not feel unsafe to me. There are guards at all AUB entrances who are nice and friendly but do ask for ID at random times. CAMES does a great job of explaining to you the safety risks, if there are any, which there weren't while i was there.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes

I enjoyed it and I learned a lot!


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

I lived with family members so this is not a completely true rating. There are both extremes of food near campus so you can live a very minimal cost life but you also can opt to go go nice restaurants and spend ~$20 per meal if you wanted to (which some students did). It all depends on what you want to spend.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $50
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? If you want to save money eat at these pop up shops around bliss that do not have seating and not at sit down restaurants.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

I was in the beginner class so there was a lot of English spoken. The head of the program does encourage us to speak solely Arabic when we converse with him (which is not as challenging or scary as it seems - you can use words to try to explain the word you don't know!)

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Beginner
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? None - I spoke the langauge at home though.
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Speak it outside of class! Whether it be to your classmates or to someone you know in the town. Also remember that there are some people who will look at you funny if you say something in a different dialect - they aren't trying to be mean they are just trying to process what you said.

Direct Enrollment/Exchange

* Did you study abroad through an exchange program or did you directly enroll in the foreign university? Direct Enrollment

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Other
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Clubs (Debke and Calligraphy)
  • Saturday Field Trips (they are optional)
  • Afternoon Cultural Sessions
* What could be improved?
  • Communication at times
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? How intense it is. I expected this to be somewhat easy since I already knew part of the language - but I was wrong. This is not a summer course you can take if you want to go and travel and see the world. You are studying Monday - Friday and really you just have the weekends free and sometimes I used that just to decompress from the week. I am not used to sitting in some sort of classroom from 8:30-5 whether that be in an actual class or watching a movie in Arabic - it is intense - but your language will improve.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Introductory Arabic

Course Department: MEST
Instruction Language: Arabic/English
Comments: This sections went from not knowing how to read/write Arabic to being able to write our own short paragraphs in Arabic and speak conversations with others in 7 weeks - which is astonishing. This class is taught with more English as opposed to the higher classes which emphasize on speaking solely Arabic. We were assessed by written homework, online homework, cultural segments (in English), short Arabic segments, oral exams, exams, and skits.
Credit Transfer Issues: I honestly do not know since i am in the works of transferring credit.