Sunday, March 16, 2014

Let's learn some ARABIC

I have been meaning to write this post for a long time but some how never got around it and today while I was going through our archive I saw this blog entry written a few years back by my sister, and I thought its about time that I update you about it a little bit.
               No.... I wasn't going to say "Hooooorayy" we are fluent Arabic speaker now. Sadly we are still at "Maafi Arabi" phase   :( ... We had listed some reasons for not being able to learn the Arabic language like not having an Arabic speaking social circle or knowing that your own language (Urdu) or English language can get the work done when needed.

               But now since I have been working among mainly Arab speaking people, what can be the reason for not being able to speak? Well one reason that I had narrowed down to was where can I go and learn. At work place we use English as our mode of communication and you need to have some foundation before you start absorbing the language from your surroundings. You may find many places around Jeddah to learn English language but you wouldn't find many places advertised to teach Arabic language. Sadly that was my case too. I couldn't find a place where I could go and learn the vocabulary and phrases for my daily activities. Where I can learn the street Arabic more than the classical one!!

            Well, Alhamdulillah I am happy to say that I finally did find one class. It was recommended by a friend of mine via Facebook. Its called ICTA (I can talk Arabic). It is situated on King's road (Tareeq Malik) near Saudi Hollandi bank.

 They have an amazing programme that allows people to start learning from the very first class. It doesn't matter if you know any Arabic, or have some basic or more then basic Arabic language knowledge. They cover for all. They have an amazing team of teachers who have very interactive and creative ways of teaching that allows you to engage with people as soon as you leave the classroom. They focus on subjects like school, hospital, restaurant, shopping things that as an expatriate you need to know to function well in your new setting and be able to communicate well when required. They provide you with all the materials needed in an extremely homey environment that you forget you are in a class setting. It feels more like having a fun learning evening at your friends house.

Another amazing aspect about this class is the other students you get to meet. Even though Jeddah holds so many people from different nationalities, if you are not living in one of the compound setting you rarely get to enjoy the cosmopolitan feel of the city. But in this class you get to meet people from almost all continents except afcourse from Antarctica ;) or maybe who knows someone might have visited it too. You would have teachers, housewives, grandmothers, professors, nurses all coming together sharing their knowledge as well as there experiences with the city and the language.
ICTA doesn't only have an Arabic conversational class but also give grammar, Qur'an (tajweed) class and also have a book club. You can find more information about them on there website and join them on there Facebook to keep yourself updated with there classes and programmes.

Another interesting feature of this class is that you may pay for the whole session that usually runs between 7 to 8 sessions or if you aren't sure about making such a commitment you may also pay per class. But beware its usually hard not to come back to such fun and enjoyable class. And if not for the class, then you might come back for the tasty treats you get to enjoy after every class ;). The whole session then ends with an evening of activities or presentations where we are encouraged to exercise all that we learned in the classes during the weeks.


Two more places that I came across for learning Arabic while on my search was a morning class in IEF. You may find more details by contacting them on there Facebook

Also classes are provided at Jeddah cultural exchange center but for men. Contact them via here

Some other places to read about ICTA would be here and here

I would highly recommend you guys to try any of these places to learn the language. Its a rare opportunity that few of us get to learn, live and enjoy different culture from our own and language plays an important part in understanding a new culture. I would also hope and wish that programmes  like  ICTA can be operated across Saudi Arabia so that expatriates get to learn the language and be able to participate more in the development of the country and also enjoy their stay more in this unique country including my sis.!! Best of luck in finding something for yourself...


  1. I can totally understand where you're coming from, really well written! Hope all your struggles are rewarded!

  2. jazakullah for ur comment and dua.... hope to read more of your comments............