Qatar University - Arabic for non native speakers

Hi all,

I have the chance to join Qatar University learning Arabic for a year starting in September.

I am looking for any information that people will have about the course, especially if anyone has done the course.

I will be provided accomodation, transport and a small allowance to live on.

I am female and from the UK and never visited Qatar before.

I would appreciate any information from anybody.

Thanks in advance

Alice

Comments

Mr Niceguy

I have to warn you it won't be the immersion experience that, for example, learning Spanish in Spain would be. In shops, taxis etc, the language is English, because the staff are anything but Arab. Even shop signs and product names are often just transliterations of English words. You'll have a chance to chat with female Arab students and security personnel at University, but Qataris won’t normally invite you into their homes or meet with you off campus. You’ll do better with Palestinian students as their families are less . . . protective. You’ll easy get a Qatari boyfriend, of course, if you can cope with the double standards.

If you wanted immersion Arabic, you’d have to go to less wealthy country such as Egypt, Jordan or Sudan. However, if you also want a few comforts, Qatar’s not a bad choice.

What the teaching is like, I’ve no idea, but pretty stilted and grammar-based, I should think. I assume you know about the dialect variations and differences(s) between classical Arabic and modern Arabic(s). My students take great pride in telling me that Arabic Grammar is so complicated that even university professors can’t always explain it: a claim that makes no sense at all to someone brought up in the Western descriptive and comparative linguistics tradition.

For social advice, see other threads on bars, Arts etc.

Mr Niceguy

PS - I'm curious about the terms you're being offered. Transport - A bus ride to college every day, or full access to a car? If you're going to be living where I think you're going to be living, you'll be able to do your food-shopping on foot but you'll need wheels for anything else. Taxis here are very cheap but it adds up, and they're often difficult to find or order. I know some non-drivers who use limos all the time but that gets to be expensive.

alice

Hi Mr Niceguy,

Yes it's bus rides from the accomodation to the university and back.

Thanks for your comments but I won't be coming out looking for a borfriend!

Regards

adriana

Hey Alice,
Congratulations! U will be studing at Qatar University, that's very nice . Unfortunatelly i can not give u any information about it. But... i'm trying to join this arabic course at QU, i mean ..get scholarship, and i'd be very grateful if i could contact with u. What do u think of it ? Is it possible ? Greetings from Poland

FAIZAN

hey alice,
i would like to join QU or u to learn arabic as well as to have a friendship with u.

best regards

Mr Niceguy

Studying Arabic at Qatar University - more. Hi Alice and Adriana, if you're still reading this site. Today I bumped into two east European women who are presently on the course and asked them what they thought. Turns out my guess above was about right and the course is totally non-communicative. Worse, the Arab girls they meet all want to practice English and they couldn't meet other arabs because in the evenings they were locked into their dormitories. They escaped into their own place recently, after kicking up a protracted fuss. They actually said that Qatar was not a good place to learn Arabic, though when I reminded them the Qatari government was paying their fees, they agreed that was an advantage.

Aisha

Hi Alice. I study at QU but I'm in the foreign languages department (Majoring English!) I don't know much about the other departments :-|

For those who doesn't know QU, its BIG. You just can't meet with every body. That’s sad. However, I saw several non Arab ladies who are taking the course and I attended a ceremony honoring the top students of them; they seem to be doing fine. Today I saw a non Arab students with several Qatari students, they were teaching her how to dance or something. I think there are always friendly people around. If you are one, you'll meet at least one.

http://www.qu.edu.qa/home/publications/CareerFair2006/issue1/ideal.htm

Good luck

alice

Hi Aisha,
Thanks very much for your post, it was really kind of you. That article you sent me the link for was really positive! Will you still be at the university in September 2006? Maybe we could meet up!
Alice :o)

Aisha

I'm a third year student of English :-) Two more semesters to come :-)

There will be some meetings between the Arab students and you guys, so you can practice Arabic with us. I just joined in for next semester…So I’m sure I’ll meet up with you all in ,say, cafés inside the campus. And who knows maybe we would arrange something out side ;-)

Can't wait to meet you!!

Equin0x

I personally can never seem to learn arabic in that serious of an environment. I'd say the best and fun way of learning arabic is that you hang out with your friends that can speak both arabic n english, that way you're like picking up random words, and before you know it, you're speakin arabic half the time. Its actually pretty good, atleast thats how i learnt what i have.

Mr Niceguy

I don't want to put Alice off (I work at QU and so I should be loyal) but I've checked further and the Arabic taught is definitely Classical which, as a Qatari friend remarked, is difficult for many Arabs: that is, they understand it but can't speak it well. Nevertheless, if you take a positive approach to language learning, you should be able to look at the classical and modern Gulf Arabics side by side and enjoy noticing the differences. Although you won't be immersed in Arabic, you'll certainly be surrounded by it. With due respect to Aisha, my students tell me that chatting with the Arabic learners in Arabic isn't easy, but yes, it does happen.
Go for it! Just don't expect to be drawn into a millieu in which you can 'acquire' Arabic 'naturally', or hang out with female Arab friends in the evenings. You'll maybe get invited to weddings, but homes are much less likely. For that reason, don't go thinking that spending time with other Westerners will be some sort of cop-out. Do check out Western social outlets (see other threads) for the sake of sanity. Besides, you'll find some of them (though not me) speak a bit of Arabic and will be helpful.
I've been here five years working for and with Qataris and I like it, but it is a different culture. Enjoy it and explore it, but don't expect to find a home from home, any more than a good Qatari girl could expect to fully fit in with her party-going or modern-intellectually minded British peers. Religious and family values are over-riding here in a way that non-Moslems (and even some born Moslems) cannot grasp.
Good Luck!

alice

Dear All,
Thank you so so much for all your comments, it's really kind of you to spend time to reply to me.
I'm really looking forward to the course and yes, I can quite believe it's not going to be easy! I really like learning languages so hopefully I'll be ok. Hopefully the formality of the course and hours of tuition will keep me disciplined, but, yes, Equin0x, chatting to people will help too!
Aisha - I look forward to meeting you and spending time with you!
Mr Niceguy - thanks for your info, really useful to have ideas of what to expect!
Any more comments/ info anyone could provide would be gratefully received!
Thanks, Alice :0)

Loki

From what I have heard, the course run there during the day is very different (ie better) than the one they run at night, for people who are not otherwise attending the university.

The evening course is apparently a complete schamozzle; badly organised, badly structured, and on the whole, badly taught. The teachers themselves acknowledged it (it is the first time they've run it - ie either the first time for the night class at all, or the first time that group of teachers have done it, not sure which exactly) - and they just said, "well, we'll use this group as guinea pigs and the next course will be better"... but the uni still expected the class to pay the full QAR6000 (I think) fee!!

Hopefully they will improve it...

mailnad

Hi Alice pls check with this below mentioned email info@qatarguestcenter.com , they are providing Arabic certificate courses and being taught in English by their one native speakers bilingualy ,if you need Arabic tution for home in Qatar pls check with this email to be given furher details isnadwi28@yahoo.co.in.

anonymous

I have this friend who's interested. How and when can he sign up? :)

malaysia

Hi people...

Can anyone of you tell me if there is anyway i can live along with my family. wife, two kids aged 3.5 and 2.5 doing Arabic Program in Qatar University??

Mandilulur

No, you cannot sponsor a family while studying at university in Qatar, sorry.
Mandi

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