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Published July 18th 2017
Ride into the sunset on an Egyptian adventure (Binarysequence / BY-SA 3.0)
Arabic, the poetic language of the Islamic Qu'ran, is the fifth most spoken language in world and the third most commonly spoken language in Australian homes. Join over 420 million other Arabic speakers, mastering the phrases to enjoy Middle Eastern culture, science, cuisine, literature and art. You won't need a phrasebook once you're a maestro with these top choices for Arabic language learners in Sydney.
As a bonus, once you've learnt Arabic, you'll be able to giggle at this joke (or skip to the end of this article for a translation):
1602;الوا للريّس: من حتودّع الشعب 1585;دّ الريّس: الله! هو الشعب رايح فين
Centre for Adult Education - 253 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
The CAE, Melbourne's adult learning centre since the 1940s, has elementary 1 (11 weeks x 2 hours, $319) and elementary 2 (9 weeks x 2 hours, $319) courses taught by Amani Zayegh. Both levels are taught in the mid-morning or evening, allowing for after-work language learning. In both courses, sessions are packed with exercises to master the Arabic alphabet while increasing your vocabulary.
As you delve into Arabian culture and history, you'll practise conversing in common travel and business scenarios. While the course is based on Modern Standard Arabic, you'll also tackle Egyptian and Levantine dialects. Enrol at CAE.
RMIT - 124 La Trobe St, Melbourne
The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology offers 2 beginner level courses teaching the basics of Arab language and culture, aimed for those planning travel or considering job or business opportunities. You'll learn to converse with phrases for greetings, social situations, numbers, place names, relationships, restaurants and shopping.
In level 2, you'll be pronouncing over 200 words and writing sentences. The courses, taught by Khalaf Greis, an instructor for the Victorian Police Force, include notes for home study. The RMIT courses of 10 weeks x 2 hours, start at $380. Signup at RMIT.
Language Trainers - throughout Melbourne
Take the free online Arabic language test or a trial Skype lesson, before learning the lingo at a time and place of your choosing, with worksheets and guides provided.
Managed by Cambridge-qualified directors with decades of experience in language tutoring, LT carefully selects tutors to help you progress from the basics, with greetings, numbers and travel queries, to the tricky techniques of the reading and writing in the elegant Arabic script and the regional dialects. As the lessons are all one-on-one, the content is highly customised, with pricing dependent on your aims and instructor preference. Enrol at Language Trainers.
Sip authentic Turkish coffee (Coffee / Public domain)
Listen and Learn - throughout Melbourne
Just like Language Trainers, Listen and Learn differ from the conventional classroom group lessons, providing one-on-one Arabic tutoring based on your needs, time and place preference and current skill level, with prices starting at $54/hour. The tutor can provide the lesson in your home or office, with either general-purpose conversational Arabic for social or travel goals or business-level language, to hone the techniques to wow prospective employers, investors or corporate clients.
If you're learning with a friend or a corporate group, one-to-many lessons can be arranged, with L&L's client list including the Department of Education. If you prefer to learn via a webcam, Skype sessions are available, with prices starting at $35/hour. Get started with a free 15-minute online test. Enrol at Listen and Learn.
Uni of Melbourne - 757 Swanston St, Melbourne
If you're serious about Arabic, it can be a major in your Bachelor of Arts at the University of Melbourne. The program contains 10 units of Arabic, progressively examining Arabic language and Arab and Islamic culture, history and contemporary ideas. With these insights, you'll speak and write in Arabic with clarity and confidence, ideal to further a career in government, diplomacy, translation, tourism and foreign relations.
Be introduced to letters and symbols in module 1, continuing toward an impressive mastery in module 10 with a research project in linguistics or culture, with 80% of the coursework in Arabic. You can also take a faster track with a Diploma in Languages, completed with 3.5 years of study. Enrol at the University of Melbourne.
Vocational Language Learning Centre - 160 William St, Melbourne
VLLC have created a 3-tier proficiency structure, guiding students to achieve social, intermediate and then vocational certification. Each course includes reading, writing and speaking, beginning with the foundation social skills including travel bookings, directions, food and drink orders, sightseeing, time and medical queries. Online learning builds on your face-to-face lessons, with homework and chat sessions hosted on the Net.
Intermediate study allows you to settle into an Arabic-speaking country, finding an apartment, reading and writing business forms, listening to news stories and cope with the ultimate awkward encounter - the dentist.
Vocational certification will help you with the trickiest job interview questions, resume writing, opening a bank account, discussing current affairs and appreciating cultural nuances. Prices and schedules are customised for your needs, based on your current vocab, aims and availability. Enrol at VLLC.
Watch Egyptian screen icon, Omar Sharif, without subtitles (Max Pixel / public domain)
East Melbourne Language Centre - 354 Victoria Parade, East Melbourne
In East Melbourne, you can achieve elementary Arabic mastery with a series of 4 courses, each taught for 1.5 hrs over 10 weeks for $335. Courses are split into digestible units, including vowels, emphatic letters, everyday objects, places, numbers, plurals, food, weather and grammar, concluding with conversation to practise your new vocabulary.
There are online, small group, semi-private and private tuition ($78/hour) options for flexible learning, with classes on most weekday evenings and Saturday mornings. Enrol at East Melbourne Language Centre.
Melbourne Arabic Language Meetup
If you're searching for friendly Arabic-speaking locals and fellow English-speaking learners to chat with, this Meetup group is ideal as you hone your vocab.
The group encourages beginners at monthly dinners and special breakfast and Ramadan gatherings. RSVP at Meetup.
Fathia Language Centre - 354 Victoria Parade, East Melbourne
FLC's director, Fathia Guled, offers the friendliest, most accessible Arabic language courses in Melbourne, with extra options for the Semetic Amharic, the language of Ethiopia, and Somali. There are courses for the beginner, intermediate and advanced skill level, with a Qur'anic course for Islamic understanding.
The courses, each 2 hours x 8 weeks, start at $400 with flexible options based on your needs, including private tutoring. The instructors have broad experience in language learning, with backgrounds in the UAE, Kenya, Cairo and Kuwait. They are also accredited translators and interpretors. Enrol at Fathia Language Centre.
Order a delicious Egyptian feast of Kushari (Dina Said / BY-SA 4.0)
They asked the President: Aren't you going to bid farewell to the people?
The President replied: I didn't know the people were going away!
(A common joke in the Middle East targets the aging President who doesn't want to leave office.)
Where do you savour sweet baklava or spicy falafel as you learn to speak Arabic? We'd love to hear your comments.