Have you always wanted to learn a second language but never got around to it? Learning a new language involves a lot of hard work and dedication, but it can also be a fun and exciting activity as you get to challenge yourself and make progress towards your goals. Not to mention how rewarding it will feel once you gain mastery of a language, and you can communicate with native speakers and have a better understanding of their culture.

In the United States, most people who study a second language usually learn through group settings by enrolling in language programs at their local schools. Not only does this gives them a chance to meet new people, but it also is a place to make connections and practice with other peers who have the same language learning goals.

The Arabic language is not exactly a common second language studied by American students. However, it is still a widely spoken language especially in countries located in the Middle East and can be useful for those interested in a career in international relations or business. If you are not aiming for a dream career, you can still study Arabic for fun or other reasons. Though common myths might have you think that Arabic is a difficult language, it isn't 100% true.

No matter how old you are or what stage of life you are in, it is never too late to start learning Arabic and being in a large city like Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, and of course, Boston means you have access to learning resources that may not be available in smaller cities. If you have decided to dedicate some time to studying Arabic, remember to focus on your end goal. Arabic students should expect to practice the language regularly and invest time and energy into their studies if they want to become a fluent speaker.

downtown shot of Boston at night next to the waterfront
In a large city like Boston, you have access to more learning resources that may not be available in smaller cities (Photo by Lance Anderson on Unsplash)

Choosing an Arabic Tutor in Boston

While taking group lessons can be a good way to be introduced to a new language, those looking for a more intimate experience can consider hiring a tutor to help them learn. When you work with a tutor near you in Boston, you can customize what you want to learn as well as schedule the tutoring sessions to fit your schedule. You can also tailor the schedule to take more lessons when you have more time and take fewer lessons when you are busy.

When it comes to choosing an Arabic tutor for you, there is no one-size-fits-all. Every tutor is different from their own teaching experiences and teaching styles. To start, consider your own needs, setting, convenience, and cost. You can also go out to look for your own tutor or hire a tutoring center that can supply you with a tutor from their roster.

Of course, like with shopping for anything, don't forget to ask for recommendations or to read reviews before you commit to hiring a specific tutor. Begin your search by asking those around you if they know of any Arabic tutors who are willing to take on new students. If you do not have a large enough friend circle, or if you do not know any Arabic teachers or speakers around you, try posting on online forums or posting old fashioned flyers around your neighborhood.

Once potential tutors reach out to you, remember to check their credentials including how many years of teaching experience they have. Find out if the tutor has experience teaching the subject in a one-on-one setting. But don't fret if your tutor has never taught any students before. There's a first time for everything and experience doesn't always equate to better teaching abilities. Besides experience, think about whether you want your tutor to be college or university-educated as this can make a big difference in the quality of teaching.

And lastly, don't forget to use online resources that are available to you around Boston! A quick online search using keywords such as "Arabic tutors in Houston" or "Arabic tutors in Philadelphia" can yield specific results. Then there are online websites like Superprof that have a large selection of tutors to choose from and even include helpful filters for you to find someone based on your location, price range, and desired experience level.

Other Arabic Learning Resources in Boston

When you first start learning Arabic, you will likely begin with familiarizing yourself with the alphabet which consists of 28 letters that are joined together when writing. To the total beginner, this can look like a bunch of squiggles and dots, but once you understand and remember what each letter looks like, it will not look so foreign.

Arabic grammar is also one of the simplest compared to other languages. If you have learned other languages like German and French before, you will be glad to know that Arabic only has two tenses - the past tense and the non-past tense. You will gain all these tips and knowledge about the Arabic language either from your tutoring sessions or Arabic classes and courses in Boston. And below are even more resources that can help you with your learning journey in Boston.

backshot view of a man in black shirt raising his hand
When you first start learning Arabic, you will begin with familiarizing yourself with the alphabet (Photo by Felicia Buitenwerf on Unsplash)

Center for Arabic Culture

This is a cultural center where you can meet other Arabic learners and speakers, as well as participate in Arabic cultural activities. The mission of the Center for Arabic Culture is to promote Arabic culture and enhance the Arab-American experience through education and the arts.

For the general public, they have the opportunity to learn more about the different aspects of Arab culture when they participate in programs offered by the CAC. These activities range from learning the Arabic language, Arabic music, dancing, and calligraphy. Since the center operates as a non-profit organization, the classes here are highly affordable and accessible to people with varying budgets.

One such course you can take at the CAC is the online Arabic program. This is a highly versatile, cost-effective, and innovative language program and can be taken by students anywhere regardless of their geographic location. Students going through this Arabic language program will develop proficiency in reading, writing, and speaking Arabic. The curriculum focuses on active-learning strategies and can accommodate learners from all backgrounds, experience levels, and age groups, including both children and adults!

When you take an Arabic class with the CAC, you will enjoy small class sizes that average around six students per class, meaning there are plenty of opportunities for conversation and participation. The curriculum is also enhanced with creative media such as instructional videos and educational games so you are not stuck with learning from a textbook.

The Boston Language Institute

The Boston Language Institute has been around since 1981 and has provided instruction and translation services in more than 140 languages. At any time, around 45 to 50 languages are taught in evenings, weekdays, and Saturdays, both in private lessons and small classes of 4 to 12 students. There are also over 120 experienced instructors working at the school who have served the Institute for 5 to 15 or more years and some over 20.

For Arabic learners, one course you can take at the Boston Language Institute is called Arabic Language and Culture Level 1. In this course you will learn more about phonology and the fundamentals of Arabic syntax, you will also work on your conversational proficiency to make it the main goal of your learning process. By the end of this course, not only will you be able to read and write the Arabic alphabet, but you will also be proficient in reading and writing simple texts.

Another course you can take here is called Arabic Language and Culture Level 2. Students who graduate from this course will be able to introduce themselves, make requests, and describe things all in Arabic. Students will also be taught grammatical topics such as verbal and nominal sentences, demonstratives, possessive and subjective pronouns, nisba adjectives, and past and present tense.

BASE

BASE was founded in 2004 and is located in Downtown Boston and offers three different language courses, which are Spanish, Portuguese, and Arabic. Arabic learners can take group or private classes here that run weekly and can be intensive or ultra-intensive.

The Arabic lessons at BASE were inspired by the Arabic influence on the Spanish language. One Arabic course offered here is called Arabic Beginners A. In this course, learners will receive an introduction to the Arabic language, learn the alphabet and how to greet others and learn simple words to describe occupations, cultural topics, and numbers.

boy in a blue shirt sitting and holding a pencil, smiling
There are many resources that can help you with your learning journey in Boston (Photo by Kuanish Reymbaev on Unsplash)

Language Study Tips

When you learn a new skill or a hobby, it requires a lot of work and dedication and Arabic is no different. We have some tips that you can use to make your learning journey easier!

The first tip is to put yourself in a studying mood. If you have been a life-long learner then you will know what time of day works best for your learning brain. If you absorb information better in the mornings, then schedule your Arabic lessons or study sessions in the morning for the best results.

The next tip is to practice and immerse yourself in the language as much as you can. While it is true that the best way to full immersion is to actually live in a country that speaks the language, moving to an Arabic speaking country isn't always practical. Instead, try bringing the language home to you by labeling items in your home with Arabic labels. You can also put up Arabic signs or posters everywhere so that you will come into contact with the language every day.

The last tip is to buddy up! Having a friend for anything helps you stay on track. A good friend can also give you the support you need if you are struggling or going through a tough time in your learning process.

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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.