Are you a student in school looking for a new language to learn? What about a recent retiree looking for an activity to pass the time. How about a working professional looking to get ahead in your career with a new skill. No matter how old you are or what stage in life you are at, you can benefit from taking an Arabic lesson or two.

It is true that in the United States when people choose a language to study it usually isn’t Arabic. Most people learn towards studying English, Spanish, French, or some other European language or even an Asian language. This makes Arabic speakers high in demand for some job opportunities.

Reasons to Learn Arabic

If you didn't grow up around Arabic speakers, you might be wondering - how many people really speak Arabic? Believe it or not, Arabic is actually the fifth most widely spoken language in the entire world! There are numerous countries that use the language, especially in the Middle East. As a result, U.S. government agencies are always seeking proficient Arabic speakers. So if you want a government career, consider studying some Arabic in school.

Other than the government, businesses with dealings in the Middle East as well as those working in international relations are also looking for Arabic speaking employees. If you are looking to do business in an Arabic-speaking country, knowing Arabic can help you build some business relationships with business people. In the Middle East, there are around 20 countries where Arabic is used as the national language, so when you travel and work in these countries, it's good to know some Arabic.

If you are interested in different religions, especially Islam, then Arabic should be a language to learn on your to-do list. When you study Arabic, you are not only learning a language, you are also getting insights about Islamic beliefs and traditions.

Students sitting on a row of chairs
When you study Arabic, you also learn insights about Islamic beliefs and traditions. (Photo by Sam Balye on Unsplash)

In the United States, Islam is often a misunderstood religion, so as an Arabic student, you can gain a better understanding of Arab culture and the Islam religion and spread your knowledge to those around you. You can become an ambassador and help dispel any negative sentiments among the American population towards Arabic people.

And the last reason is you can learn Arabic to make your travels easier! If you have been to a foreign country that does not speak your native language before, you will know how difficult it is to get around sometimes. You are at a higher risk of getting scammed or missing crucial pieces of information if you do not understand the local language. So if you are planning on visiting Arabic speaking countries soon, consider picking up a bit of Arabic.

Finding Arabic Language Resources in Houston

So now that you have decided to focus on Arabic as a second language, your next step is to think about where you can find Arabic learning resources near you in Houston. This can be an easy task especially if you are an Arabic student living in Boston, or an Arabic student living in New York, where there is a large and multicultural population.

Another choice you have to make is to decide how you want to pick up the language. For example, some people find learning on their own to be an easier way than studying from a textbook. They might watch TV shows in Arabic or a language they want to learn and pick things up from there. Other people prefer structured lessons to keep them on track as well as to study elements such as grammar before they move on to the more practical aspects of a language

Two children sitting around a table studying the quran
Using the internet can help you find Arabic learning resources near you in Houston. (Photo by Mishary Alafasy on Unsplash)

If you are lucky and have some Arabic-speaking friends or neighbors living close to you, try asking them for recommendations to Arabic learning resources in Houston. If you choose to go the tutor route, ask them to introduce you to another fellow Arabic speaker who is willing to teach the language to you.

If you do not know of any Arabic speakers either from school or your neighborhood, you are in luck as the internet will be your best friend. There are language exchange and hobby groups online these days and you can often find them with a simple Google search using keywords such as 'learn Arabic in Chicago' or 'find Arabic tutors in Philadelphia'.

Unfortunately, if your town isn't big enough to have these opportunities, then you may be out of luck for face-to-face meetings and lessons. But once again, with the power of the internet, you can pick up some Arabic online either through online courses or via video calls with an Arabic tutor.

Institutions for Arabic Learners in Houston

Language Institutes offer a place for fellow learners of a specific language to gather and learn from one another, exchange information, and meet and socialize with other learners or speakers of the same language. These language institutes are a great place to find an Arabic tutor near you, and they exist for other languages such as Chinese and Japanese.

Depending on the size of your local Arabic learning institute, you may or may not find a physical location for the institution. Some are run entirely by volunteers and only has a permanent home online but no exact physical location. In Houston, the Arabic Language Institute can be found on Facebook where you can join their page and follow their upcoming events to join in.

Some programs covered here at the Arabic Language Institute in Houston include pronunciation, grammar, reading, writing, conversation, and ethics. The programs are three months long so it's perfect for those who do not want to make a long commitment at first.

Two women talking in front of a whiteboard
Language Institutes are a good place for language learners to meet up and learn from each another. (Photo by ThisisEngineering RAEng on Unsplash)

Besides institutions, you can also sign up for language classes through private language schools. One such school is the Berlitz chain of language schools which also offers the Arabic option at its Houston location. The Berlitz language learning method will give you a boost as a beginner learner of the Arabic language.

Arabic students at the Berlitz school will only speak Arabic during the entire language course. Students will learn from tutors with years of experience and will also have the opportunity to focus on many aspects of language learning in these structured classes. By setting your own timeline and goals, it is also possible to select a custom Arabic course here to meet your specific needs if you are serious about your learning.

Arabic For University Students

If you are an adult Arabic learner in Houston, or if you are currently enrolled or planning to enroll in a University in Houston, consider looking in your own university for Arabic lessons offered at your skill level. For example, the University of Houston's College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences offers Arabic courses all the way up to advanced levels.

If you are new to the Arabic language, then you may want to consider a beginner course like ARAB 1501 where you will be introduced to modern spoken and written Arabic. You will also get to work on your language comprehension, oral communication, reading, and writing as well as have access to possible tutoring hours and teacher's assistances who may be willing to tutor you in Arabic on the side.

If your Arabic is very good already, you may want to consider a course a higher level Arabic course such as ARAB 3301: Advanced Modern Standard Arabic I. In this course, you will complete readings of Arabic materials such as poems, short stories, plays, and newspaper articles. Through these materials, you will deal with social, political, and cultural issues. You will also develop your Arabic writing by responding to the readings and composing your own pieces.

Some other courses of interest offered are ARAB 3314: Women and Gender in Arabic Literature and ARAB 3340: Modernity and Rationalism in Islamic Tradition. Not only will taking these courses make you a better Arabic speaker, but you will also gain a greater understanding of the culture and ideas behind the language as well as Islam as a religion and how it relates to the Arabic language.

Get Arabic Tutoring Help

If you are already enrolled in a university-level Arabic language course but are struggling, it may be beneficial to hire a private Arabic tutor near you in Houston. Being in University, you have access to a wider variety of resources than the general public. Through forums or university student groups, you can get the contact information for Arabic tutors who may be willing to tutor you for free or for a small fee. You also have the option of asking your professor directly for references to a good tutor of Arabic.

For learners who are not in University, considering using online resources to help you locate an Arabic tutor near you. To start, try doing a quick online search for Arabic teachers in Houston. If this does not yield any desirable results, go onto your favorite social media website, and look for Arabic learning groups to join. You can make postings in these groups to ask for tutor recommendations near you in cities such as Boston and Los Angeles.

Another way to find a tutor is to put up old fashioned paper ads for Arabic tutors in and around your neighborhood. Focus on locations such as the local grocery store or the library. Be sure to leave your contact information so potential tutors can get hold of you!

 

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Linda

Former high-school tutor with a passion for science and technology, I now work in the software industry and enjoy reading and learning about all kinds of topics.