Spoken by over 420 million people mostly residing in Middle East, it is no surprise that Arabic is the sixth most spoken language in the world. One of the six official languages of the United Nations, Arabic has swollen in popularity in recent years in terms of the number of non-native speakers learning it as a foreign language.
The Centre for International Learning (CIL), Oman’s first study abroad and Arabic learning institute, offers a variety of Arabic programmes for both residents and non-residents. Located in a quiet seaside suburb in North Al Hail, CIL hosts approximately 200 students from around 40 countries annually.
“Some places claim to have Intensive Arabic courses and I truly feel that here the Centre actually delivers what it claims,” says John Hoover, a graduate student from Oxford University who is doing a two week programme with CIL. “The teachers are amongst the best that I’ve had in my five years of learning Arabic.”
For Victoria Hagen, a Norwegian student who is doing the Fall Semester programme, Oman proved to be the safest option to study Arabic and travel around to discover its unique heritage.
“I’m very much looking forward to going to the sand dunes and diving. Being able to learn Arabic while exploring the country is an added plus,” she said.
David Al Fahmi, an actor from London, chose to study Arabic at CIL to prepare for future acting roles where the training would be useful.
“This is the first time I’m studying Arabic full time and the classes have been the best that I’ve ever had so far,” he says.
He had visited Oman before as a tourist and decided to come back due to his love for the country’s beauty and its hospitable people.
Austin Spivey, an American student enrolled at CIL on a scholarship for the Academic Year programme, loved all the places she visited already as part of the institute’s excursion programme.
“I absolutely enjoyed the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque,” she says.
“The dates and kahwa ceremony was great and our tour guide was very knowledgeable. I’ve CIL to thank for all these experiences.”
“All our faculty members are trained Omani teachers who deliver the Intensive Arabic Programme, the Private Arabic Programme and the Evening Arabic Programme,” says Samira Al Sabahi, Director of the Arabic Department.
“We make sure that our students, regardless if they are at the beginners, intermediate or advanced level, emerge from our programmes after having mastered the core skills of reading, writing, speaking, and listening,” she added.
Dr Elias Samo, Dean at CIL, thinks that what sets CIL apart from other similar institutes is the diversity and flexibility of the programmes it offers.
“Our Private Arabic Programme requires no intake dates, can take place in the morning, afternoon or early evening, students can choose the topics they want to learn and it can even be held off-campus,” he says.
“The Evening Arabic Programme is designed to help the non Arabic speaking community in Oman engage better with locals,” added Dr Samo.
“The Intensive Arabic Programme is offered all throughout the year during the fall, spring, summer, winter, full year, and short-term programmes.”
Fatima Muneer, the Associate Director of Marketing and Business Development at CIL, says that it is not just the Arabic courses the institute offers that defines the CIL experience.
“We design innovative extracurricular activities that help our students understand Oman and the Middle Eastern culture better,” says Muneer.
“For instance, we invite Omani experts to deliver lectures to our students on topics as diverse as traditional dress to the geology of the country. Also, we team up with local initiatives like The Lounge to help our students meet Omanis during their time here.” –[email protected]
For more information on CIL’s programmes, visit ciloman.org
The next evening Arabic Programme will be from November 7 to December 14 and is open for registration.
For inquiries, please email [email protected]