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AUB Summer Arabic Programs
American University of Beirut American University of Beirut

AUB Summer Arabic Programs

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Facilities

    9

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health & Safety

    10

The CAMES summer Arabic program - strongly recommended

The CAMES program is an excellent way to rapidly improve your Arabic, and overall, an experience I would strongly recommend. Three elements of the program are most significant:

Firstly, the quality of teaching exceptional. Not only is Program Director (Dr. Mahmoud Al-Batal) a world authority on teaching Arabic as a second language, but each of the teachers and tutors has extensive experience in teaching the language and are consistently supportive. Shout-out to Yomna, Safaa, and Khodr. I came into the program with an intermediate level of spoken Lebanese Arabic and no FusHa, and in two months my level of both Lebanese Arabic and FusHa had increased significantly.

Secondly, the cultural program. I had visited Lebanon numerous times before undertaking this course, and nonetheless I was constantly learning new things about the country and its history. There is a weekly lecture in Arabic on a political, historical, or cultural topic, as well as a weekly film screening. These events are a fantastic opportunity for students to substantially expand their vocabulary and their cultural knowledge of not just Lebanon but also the Arab world more generally. It's one thing reading a textbook about US Foreign Policy in the Middle East, and another thing entirely to immerse yourself in Arab culture and history as Arabs understand it, and for that reason I found this aspect of the program extremely rewarding. In addition, most weeks there is a group excursion, which allows you to see the most important touristic and cultural sites in Lebanon, in a comfortable and safe fashion. On these trips you travel all together in a big bus, stopping for food and big lunches etc. Yes, these days are touristy, but they are a stress-free way to see Lebanon. If that isn't your style - no problem - you can organise a separate trip for yourself either alone or in a small group, which many students did.

Finally, the AUB is a wonderful university with all the facilities you could want, including a new gym, running track, pool, and the Jafet library which is a perfect spot to study after class. There's also a cafeteria on campus serving lunch for approximately 10,000L.L. ($8 US), and countless restaurants and cafes in the surrounding area of Ras Beirut/Hamra. Overall, the campus experience is fantastic if a little intense (such is the nature of Beirut!). In terms of safety, the campus is a closed one with guards at all entrances and patrols 24/7 so you'll feel (and be) very safe. Dorms are separated male/female, and escorts are available from the gates to dorms at night so there's never a need to walk to your dorm alone.

A few recommendations:

First, be aware that the course is very intensive. In my experience, most students didn't notice how hard the course was until about the fourth week, so keep this in mind, and pace yourself. That said, the communal nature of the course and the cultural / leisure elements mean that despite its intensity the course is still a whole lot of fun.

Second, the more your practice before your Arabic arriving in Lebanon, the more you will get out of the program! (Not obligatory, however. You can turn up with any level, as long as you're ready for the workload).

Third, make the most of your time in Lebanon - go on the trips, discover the area surrounding the university, and if possible, try and travel around in your spare time. The University can give you recommended taxi companies, and sometimes these companies will drive you around Lebanon for a whole Sunday at a reasonable cost. Don't wait until late in the program to discover Lebanon.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Facilities

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health & Safety

    10

Amazing experience and fantastic instruction

The AUB Summer Program was amazing. The instructors are excellent teachers, they focus on each student's needs and accomodate instruction in a way that benefits everyone. You have a crazy amount of homework but your Arabic skills skyrocket. You also have full freedom to enjoy Lebanon, Beirut is a very fun city and the country has a lot to offer. The program may seem a little expensive but the weekend excursions it covers and the length of the program makes it worth it. This is also the only program I could find that offered full instruction in colloquial Arabic, plus you still learn colloquial Arabic in the formal Arabic classes.

Overall Rating

1/ 10

  • Academics

    1

  • Living Situation

    4

  • Cultural Immersion

    1

  • Program Administration

    1

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    1

Not so great.

All my life I wanted to study in Lebanon and master the Arabic language. It had been years since I visited the country so I thought going to AUB would be the best option for me to revive my Arabic skills. I struggled in class with the reading and writing aspects of the lessons. Most people would have a great experience but I did not enjoy the course. My time at AUB was not one of pleasure or knowledge but of humiliation. The professors looked at me as if I didn't belong there. Failing the first test prompted the head of the program to come and see me. He said to me "I made a mistake letting you in" at that point was audited and I wasn't allowed to go on any of the field trips. I requested help from the tutor but she was "too busy" I ended up getting sick so I withdrew myself. After that I went on to teach my self how to read and write Arabic. Maybe one day I'll go back to Lebanon and attend AUB for my masters. As of now I'm joining the US air force so I can be a translator.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Facilities

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    9

Amazing summer

Lebanon is one of the best places to learn Arabic, and the AUB is the perfect environment to do so. The classes are very challenging, the professors and administration are very qualified, and it is very culturally immersive.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Facilities

    8

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Health & Safety

    10

Amazing program with rigorous academics

Like with any program, the people make the experience. The people who were attracted to the AUB program were all extremely hard working, motivated and interested in learning/pursuing Arabic. I don't think you would find this caliber of student at any other University other than the "Harvard of the Middle East". The classes were very rigorous and the teachers were phenomenal - one of my teachers had written her own Arabic textbook. My spoken Arabic improved tremendously and my vocabulary base is much wider. There were a fee classes that had 12 students which is a little bigger than I would have hoped, but overall an amazing experience. Beirut and Lebanon are amazing, too, and AUB is a great way to meet locals who actually know the country. The common language was obviously English so I didn't speak much Arabic outside of the classroom, but if you are determined enough this shouldn't stop you from speaking it 24/7. Amazing amazing experience, 10/10 would recommend!!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Facilities

    6

  • Living Situation

    N/A

  • Cultural Immersion

    6

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    N/A

You will come out learning Arabic

This program is great, you will learn Arabic, but it comes at a cost. This isn't an easy summer, you are in class from 8:30-5 and have homework on top of that and weekly tests.

They try to get us immersed in the culture around us with programs, and some are more successful than others!

Overall, if your main goal is to learn Arabic- you should come here!! If your main goal is to explore the Middle East, just be prepared you will only be able to explore such small parts of the world going to this program.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Facilities

    8

  • Living Situation

    N/A

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health & Safety

    9

Challenging and Effective Arabic Program

The CAMES program was, as all the reviews have stressed, a very very intensive program. There was a huge amount of homework every day, and while this was difficult at times, it also accomplished its goal. I came away from the program statisfied that I had significantly improved my ability to communicate in Arabic. The teachers and tutors were amazing; they challenged us and were entirely dedicated to helping us succeed. The small student-teacher ratio allowed for lots of one-on-one support. I especially appreciated the program's integration of colloquial and modern standard Arabic. The program also offered a variety of cultural activities and trips. The campus itself was beautiful and very safe. I would highly recommend this program to anyone who is interested in a highly intensive Arabic program that will dramatically improve their Arabic skills.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Facilities

    6

  • Living Situation

    N/A

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health & Safety

    10

Success

The CAMES Summer Arabic program was rigorous and provided an intensive learning experience. The CAMES team was very responsive to all student needs. The teaching staff was professional and available for any extra help and were dedicated to teaching Arabic. Would highly recommend the program.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Facilities

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health & Safety

    9

Studying Arabic

Great program in a great setting at AUB! Good mix of students from US and around the world. The teachers I had were excellent and very committed. The program mixed in a lot of cultural and fun events and trips throughout to complement the language learning, which I appreciated. Above all, had a lot of fun and improved my language skills!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Facilities

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health & Safety

    10

Great course

I wanted a really intense course as i only had a limited time to improve my Arabic.
The course was perfect for this because the classes pushed me to the limit every day and each night I had lots of homework, which was always marked properly. One of my two main teachers was good, the other was outstanding.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Facilities

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health & Safety

    9

Arabic coursework takes over my life

When the description said it would be 6h a day of class plus about 4-5h of homework it did not lie. It was a helpful program with very good teachers. However, not all my classmates were as serious about the course and hampered our progress as a class. I also was torn about the class every morning in the dialect since it did not help me with my personal goals at all and I would have benefitted more from using this time for another class in MSA.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Facilities

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

Great experience

The CAMES program at AUB is truly a great opportunity to study Arabic in a beautiful country. The instructors were the best Arabic instructors I have ever had and were devoted to student learning. Though the homework load was on the heavy side (it's an intense program after all), it's a perfect program for those who want to immerse themselves in the Arabic language and meet some cool people along the way.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Facilities

    9

  • Living Situation

    3

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health & Safety

    8

Intensive

Hello there,
I participated in the 2016 Summer CAMES program at the American University of Beirut. I started at the most basic level and I can tell you the work load is quite heavy. The deal with this course though is that you get out of it what you put into it. If one is serious about learning to read, write, and speak this language, then this is the best start you can get. The faculty work with all students and tutoring is daily after class (this is a must). However within the first week you will be writing in Arabic and building basic sentences. I have lived in Lebanon for the last 2.5 years and I thought I had a pretty good grasp on Arabic ( at least the spoken), but after this course my confidence with Arabic increased and i do not have any anxiety talking with people in the language now. I now have a solid base and vocabulary that allows me to talk with people from many different places to a decent degree. Long story short I have nothing but positive things to say about this program and feel that it is a must for those interested in actually learning about Arab ( Lebanese ) culture. Just to make it clear though there is a very very heavy workload.
Wesley Murphy

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Facilities

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

Improve your Arabic at AUB

I participated in the CAMES program in the summer of 2015 and would recommend it to anyone up for the challenge! In addition to the gorgeous AUB campus, I was impressed by the curriculum (it was even more intensive than I expected!), the optional supplementary tutoring offered daily, and the extra activities and field trips. When I first arrived in Beirut I had a basic knowledge of Arabic, but found that I was barely able to order a meal without switching to English. The program's intensity and emphasis on conversation helped me to become confident in speaking with anyone in everyday life in Beirut.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Facilities

    9

  • Living Situation

    5

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health & Safety

    10

The Best Place to learn Arabic

This is a very intensive language program with excellent instructors, a diverse group of participants, well organized structure, a beautiful campus, and is in one of the most interesting cities on the planet. I entered this program with no prior knowledge of Arabic and left with a true grasp of the language. This is not a program for people who just need a reason to go to Beirut, or those who are just looking for an interesting thing to do over the summer. You will be totally immersed in course work throughout the duration of the program, and will need to be truly dedicated the entire time. The staff is committed to helping you achieve the most out of the program, and is always there for support and guidance. I would recommend this program to anyone who is serious about learning Arabic or improving their current skill set.