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ALPS Beirut Language School Reviews

We recently asked our former students to share why they chose to study Arabic at ALPS Beirut. Here are the most common factors that mattered to them when selecting an Arabic language program. Is this the type of Arabic program you are looking for? If so, contact us in the form below and we’ll send you more information.


`why students chose to study Arabic at ALPS Beirut


How to pick an Arabic Language Program

Arabic is a very nuanced language, one that cannot easily be taught in a traditional classroom setting. After studying Arabic at the university level in the United States, I felt adequate in my ability to read and write. However, my actual communication skills were minimal. After a summer of studying at the advanced level in the CAMES program at the American University in Beirut, I felt that my skills had improved in certain areas. My proficiency in listening, reading and writing Modern Standard Arabic improved greatly. Nonetheless, the challenges of learning spoken Arabic in an orthodox classroom prevented me from fully utilizing my time in Lebanon. Outside of class, I reverted back to English. Despite the advanced level of my coursework, I was unable to converse with native Arabic-speakers. Having studied the language and culture throughout my college career, my advice to anyone interested in studying the region would be to study outside of the box – a program focused on communication, as opposed to the pedantic settings that emphasize ancient texts and translating academic sources. There is more to learn by experiencing Lebanon and its people through the language that they speak than studying a formal version of their language that is almost wholly unused.

-Natalie, OU

Before you study aboard make sure you decide if you want to focus on MSA or the Spoken Dialect. It’s hard to do both in one summer. Once you have decided that make sure to find a program that will be the best fit for you.

Advice from Students Before You Study Arabic Abroad

I studied abroad in Jordan the summer after my sophomore year at OU. It was great and I feel like I learned a ton but there were definitely parts that could have been improved.

We had a class on MSA and a class on spoken Arabic. The majority of the class time was spent on MSA, which didn’t help as much as spoken Arabic would have. All of the people we met spoke to us in the local dialect and I learned the most interacting with people in the day-to-day activities. If we had spent more time going over common vocabulary and phrases, it would have been easier to practice and learn on my own.

I did feel like I learned a lot just living in Jordan though. I feel like the only way to learn a language like Arabic is to live in an Arabic-speaking country and try to use what you’ve learned as much as possible. The program you guys are running looks great. It sounds like you are focusing more on conversation skills and less on grammar and MSA vocabulary.

-Clint, University of Oklahoma


Should Disney movies be in Modern Standard Arabic or the Spoken Dialects?

There has been an interesting debate online about the movie Frozen and how it was released in Arabic. Disney chose to release the film in the MENA region in Modern Standard Arabic. Some people think this was the best choice while other pointed out that Disney made translations for markets much smaller than the Arabic speaking market.

“Why is Disney willing to commission separate translations of its films for speakers of Castilian Spanish and Latin American Spanish, European Portuguese and Brazilian Portuguese, European French and Canadian French, but is moving in the opposite direction when it comes to Arabic? The answer cannot be that the dialect markets are too small. The population of all of Scandinavia is less than a third of Egypt’s, but is represented by five different translations of “Frozen.”

Is it time for Disney movies to be released in multiple spoken dialects of Arabic?

What’s the difference between Modern Standard Arabic and Spoken Levantine Arabic?

Don’t worry ALPS Beirut teaches both MSA and Spoken Lebanese and we can help you figure out what is best for you to study.

The many ways to say “What are you doing?” in Arabic

We recently talked about the difference between Modern Standard Arabic and the spoken dialects. Here’s something that our students have found that illustrates the difference between MSA and what people actually speak. You’ll also notice which dialects are closest to each other: foto

If you are studying Spoken Arabic at ALPS you’ll learn to say “What are you doing?”  in Lebanese and you will be able to communicate in the entire Levant – Notice how similar the Arabic above is in Lebanese, Syrian, Jordanian and Palestinian. We also teach Modern Standard if you want to continue to learn to read and write in Arabic.


If you are interested in our skype tutoring or classes in Beirut please contact us below



What is the difference between Modern Standard Arabic and Spoken Arabic?

Arabic is the official language of 22 countries, stretching from the Arabian peninsula up to Syria, and across North Africa, and is spoken by over 200 million people. These peoples and countries use Modern Standard Arabic in news broadcasts, legal documents, official speeches, books and newspapers. Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) is also taught at universities around the world because of its standardization and academic use.

However, no one in any of these 22 Arabic speaking countries uses Modern Standard Arabic in daily conversation. Instead they use the spoken dialect, the language of relationships, to communicate and connect with family and friends. The spoken dialect varies within countries and across the region. However, the countries of the Levant: Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Palestine, share a common dialect of Spoken Arabic. When you study with us in Beirut you be learning the Levantine Arabic. This means within the Levant, people will say you sound Lebanese and everyone in the Arab World will be able to understand you.

However, once you get outside of the Levant the spoken dialects have a lot less similarities with Spoken Lebanese, as a result people in Saudi Arabia, Egypt or Morocco will be able to understand you, but you won’t be able to completely understand them at first. This is true even if you have studied MSA because the words and phrases that are used most often in conversation vary the most across countries. If you have a MSA background and want to learn the dialect, you’ll be able to use your knowledge of the Arabic alphabet as you adapt to the spoken dialect. Then, once you have a foundation in day to day conversations you’ll be able to use those bigger words you have learned in MSA (like United Nations and political science) because they are more often used in the spoken dialect as well.

The material for Lebanese Dialect does not overwhelm the student, and it is a good thing that I could learn practical things from my teachers Nadia and Rima.” — Satu



Distribution of Arabic as sole official language (green) and one of several official languages (blue)

Private Arabic Classes for International Organizations in Beirut


Did you know ALPS Beirut will come to your office and teach your expat staff Arabic?  Contact us at for more info

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