Besides just being a lovely place, Edinburgh is a great city in which to explore the world of languages. With a huge international population and a selection of first-class educational institutions, you’d do well to conduct your language study in Scotland’s great capital.
This applies to the language of the Arab world too: Arabic. In Edinburgh, you have opportunities to join an Arabic studies programme coming out of your ears.
You just need to know where to look.
That’s why we’ve put together this list of some of the best Arabic language courses in the city. So, whether it is Arabic language and culture classes you want or Arabic language learning for business, whether you are after a deep knowledge of Arabic literatures or a conversational ability in Arabic – and whether you want to know the Levantine dialect or Egyptian Arabic – you’ll find the class for you in Edinburgh.
Why not join an Arabic course in Edinburgh?
Across the world, around 420 million people speak Arabic – from North Africa to the Arabian peninsula and beyond. This makes Arabic the sixth biggest language in the world.
It is a hugely important language too. Not only is it spoken by the Arab countries, but it functions as an important lingua franca – a second language used to speak across cultures of other different languages – across the region and the globe.
For those of you in business, Arabic is an important language to have in your linguistic armoury. This is because the economies of the Arab world are slowly coming into their own. If you are intending to do business in the Arabic speaking world, it is important to at least know some Arabic words and Arabic phrases.
No-one is asking you to be fluent – but having some language skills is important for business.
There are usually plenty of reasons for people to learn a foreign language. Yet, whilst most of us in the UK go for one of the European languages, there are plenty of reasons to brave the Arabic alphabet and take a dive into Arab culture.
Yes, whilst the Arabic script is a little intimidating for the uninitiated, the culture of the Arabs is endlessly fascinating – and is worth putting in the hours for. From the wonders of Arabic literature to the rich history of Arab philosophy, learning, and science, learning Arabic will be one of the best things you’ll ever do.
And the fact that the language comes from a different language family is important here. Because, whilst in most European languages there is an aspect of familiarity, with words in Arabic there might not be.
Learning the language, then, becomes a real intellectual challenge as well as a practical one. But, as we said, the rewards are almost uncountable.
Can you read this? Well then, you need an Arabic course.
The thing is that, with the complexities of Arabic writing, and with the unfamiliarity of the language’s pronunciation, it is fairly crucial to enrol on a language course if you want to develop your fluency in the language.
Sure, you can dive in and try and read Arabic poetry right off the bat. Or surround yourself with Arabic speakers to try to develop your spoken Arabic. Yet, if you are starting from the very basics of basic Arabic, you might find all this a bit tricky.
That’s why a language program of some description – and we’re not being didactic about what sort of language course you take – is pretty much essential.
Because a good Arabic teacher will walk you through all of this. They will give you a good orientation of the ways that you will learn the language best, they will help with your reading and writing, and they will throw in some colloquial phrases too.
Sure, you can use Memrise or just watch Al Jazeera, but the difference at this point is going to be overwhelming.
So, whether you want one-to-one Arabic tuition with a native speaker, or you want to take group Arabic courses at a language school, there’s no right way to learn a new language.
Luckily, in Edinburgh, there are options for almost all types of language learning that you could imagine. Night classes, degree-level courses, or adult education – all are catered for in the city.
So, now, really, the decision is yours. And maybe your decision will come down purely to issues of practicality: your days of availability, your location – and the school’s – and the way that you get on with your particular teacher.
All are legitimate reasons to choose one class over another. But do your research beforehand and you will find the perfect course for you.
Some of the richest states in the world are in the Middle East.
Based just off the Dalry Road on Cathcart Place, Edinburgh’s Arabic Academy is the only Arabic-specific language school in the city. Accredited and funded by the Edinburgh City Council – and having been going for nearly fifteen years – it is a highly reputed language-learning institution.
They offer courses in Classical Arabic as well as in Arabic as a First Language and Arabic as a Second Language – and they offer qualifications from pre-GCSE to Advanced Higher.
These guys really are experts in Arabic teaching, and their methodology – little memorisation, and an emphasis on current events – is an important and effective one.
Inlingua is a world-renowned language centre with schools across the UK. Their Edinburgh school – on Shandwick Place – is a hub of linguistic activity and excitement, offering everything from Italian to Japanese, Gaelic to Polish.
They can organise Arabic lessons for you – and can offer a variety of different lesson formats. One-to-one sessions, pairs, groups, or online – and they even offer guided tours of Edinburgh in your target language.
It’s a great environment in which to learn, so get in touch.
If you are interested in pursuing the Arabic language as something more than just a recreational pastime, you may want to consider enrolling on a language programme at the University of Edinburgh.
One of the UK’s – if not the world’s – leading higher education institutions, the University of Edinburgh has a spectacular languages department.
If you study Arabic following school level, you will enrol in a Master’s level qualification straightaway in a four-year course. Part of this will be a year abroad, in which you will spend thirty weeks living and studying in an Arabic-speaking country of your choice.
From Arabic grammar and linguistics to the novels and poetry of the Arab world, this course will cover everything you need to be fluent in Arabic. You’ll also take modules in Middle Eastern culture, Islam, and politics – if you choose.
Whilst you won’t leave with a degree, you may consider doing a short course in Arabic – or one of twenty-three other languages – at the University of Edinburgh.
The university’s Centre for Open Learning offers short courses in pretty much every subject you can imagine. Most courses last for twenty hours and start at three different points across the academic year – usually September, January, and April.
Arabic classes offered are for beginners and for speakers of elementary Arabic and they are taught by expert language tutors.
The classes are fun but professional, social and serious-minded.
If it’s Business Arabic that you are seeking, Simon & Simon might be the best place to do this in Edinburgh.
They claim to be the number one provider of business language courses in the UK, and they organise their courses on an on-demand basis.
Expect to do a ninety-minute class weekly – and if you want to take exams in Arabic, you can do that too.
If you are looking for reliable, flexible, and friendly private tuition in Edinburgh, you needn’t look any further than Superprof.
We are a platform that connects enthusiastic and knowledge tutors to students across the world – in over one thousand different subjects.
Superprof has five Arabic tutors operating in Edinburgh, at an average rate of £22 an hour. And the beauty of a private tutor is that you don’t need to fit your schedule around someone else: these guys can come to your house or meet in a place that is convenient for you.