One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way.
~ Frank Smith ~
With nearly 500 million people who speak at least one of the 30 dialects across 25 countries, Arabic is a fascinating and beautiful language — and is fast becoming the language of choice when it comes to advancing your career.
There are actually many reasons for learning Arabic, including:
- deepening understanding of other cultures and religions
- the widening trade market
- travel opportunities
- it's one of the easiest languages to learn.
Where do you start, though?
High schools that offer Arabic are still few and far between, however, you can actually start studying Arabic in university — even if you're a complete beginner.
Let's see how you might go about obtaining an undergraduate or postgraduate degree in Arabic.
Options for Arabic Language Courses
Well before obtaining their Year 12 certificate, many students have given a lot of thought to what career they want to enter when they graduate. Some students don't want to go to university, and that's fine. Other students do want to continue to study and many of these students are interested in studying languages to some degree.
Find the best Arabic lessons in Australia here.
As with all languages at the university level, it is possible to study Arabic language and culture as a degree on its own. You can also study Arabic as part of a languages degree or as a major specialisation in other degrees, such as marketing, international business, history or law.
There are no full degrees that focus only on the Arabic language and culture — or on any other languages for that matter. Arabic studies are generally offered at diploma level, rather than Bachelor level, and are usually taken as a major or a minor within another undergraduate degree, such as a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Languages, Bachelor of Islamic Studies, Bachelor of International Studies and so on.
These major or minor specialisations, or a Diploma of Arabic, will include modules on language, history of Islamic culture, modern Arabic-speaking culture and the political and social importance of the Arab world.
In all honesty, if you are learning any language, you cannot adequately learn and understand it in isolation from learning about the culture, including aspects of the Arts, literature and history. Language and culture are a complete package.
What Do You Cover When Studying Arabic in University?
Each university has its own program of study when it comes to Arabic language courses, so it would be a good idea to check and compare the modules and courses on offer at your preferred institutions. To give you an idea, though, of the types of skills and learning you may experience, we'll take a quick look at the program of study offered by the Australian National University Arabic Program within the Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies.
During the first two years of study towards a degree in Arabic, students will be immersed in aspects of the language including the script, sounds and grammar structures. The functions of Arabic language are studied and students develop the four skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking. These skills are developed in integrated contexts through realistic scenarios and culture studies.
Generally, the Arabic language courses at the university use Modern Standard Arabic as the language of focus, although dialects and other versions of Arabic are also considered.
By the third year of study, the program becomes more focused on solidifying skills in realistic contexts with studies of modern literature, classical poetry, religious and historical literature and other multi-media resources.
Students may opt for a year of study abroad or may specialise in areas including translation, politics, media and Islamic history.
Almost every university will offer multiple entry pathways to cater for students with Arabic language backgrounds as well as those who didn't study Arabic at Year 12 level.
Requirements to Enrol in an Arabic Degree
If a student is interested in studying Arabic in university, they will, of course, need to apply to a specific course. In Australia, uni applications are handled through the Universities Admissions Centre (UAC). In addition, on the online UAC site, a student can search for a specific course, find information about ATAR and other entry requirements (including required English level), look for alternative options or pathways and access further course or institution information.
If you need to talk with someone about undergraduate or postgraduate options or require help with your application, there are also staff at UAC who can assist.
Remember, you don't necessarily have to have studied Arabic at school to apply for Arabic courses at uni.
Ten Universities with Great Arabic Courses
Doing your research is essential when it comes to choosing a uni for further study. Looking at their entry and prerequisite requirements should be your first point of call, then you may want to consider student accommodation, location, course recommendations and student testimonials. Going to open days and talking to teachers and students is highly recommended.
To get you started, here is a list of ten universities that are known to have quality Arabic courses:
- Australian National University (ACT)
- Charles Sturt University (campuses throughout NSW and ACT)
- University of Sydney
- Deakin University (Vic)
- The University of Melbourne
- Western Sydney University
- Sheridan Institute of Higher Education (WA)
- RMIT (Vic)
- University of Newcastle (NSW)
- The University of Queensland.
When you're looking around, keep in mind what you want to do in your future career — translation, literature fields, international career options, education — and make sure the uni you choose offers the specialisations you're interested in, whether at undergraduate or postgraduate level.
Don't forget to enquire whether the degree course includes opportunities for international exchange and study experiences abroad.
Also, think about your other needs. Things like family, friends and lifestyle are important considerations when choosing a uni as a social life and support network can be crucial to your wellbeing, especially during uni studies.
Learn Arabic or brush up on your skills with a Superprof tutor
We shouldn't assume, however, that everyone who wants to study Arabic also wants to complete a uni degree in the subject. It may be that you want to increase your language skills for a promotion at work or brush up on rusty translation skills. Then again, you may be interested in learning some Arabic to communicate with friends or family or to improve your travel experience. And, of course, even if you are going to uni and studying Arabic, a private tutor to help you keep up, or for extension, is also a good idea.
Superprof has you covered.
- Face-to-face private tutoring
This is your traditional tutoring — in person, at the tutor's or student's house and just the student and the tutor. Lessons are tailored to meet the needs of the student and every minute of every session is focused on you. It is one of the best ways to get regular practice and feedback.
- Online tutoring
Online education and lessons have really come to the forefront of education in recent years but Superprof tutors have been offering online tutoring for years and are adept in its delivery. Like face-to-face tuition, online classes are just you and your tutor and the program is tailored specifically to meet your needs. Often, online tuition is cheaper as well because the tutor does not have to factor in travel expenses. Plus, the added bonus is that you and your tutor can be anywhere — in different towns, states or even another country.
- Group tutoring
Group language lessons are a great idea for students who are on a stricter budget. Your lessons may not be completely tailored to you, however, a group class is a great opportunity to practise with and learn from other students as well as the tutor. Group tutoring is offered by Superprof tutors in both face-to-face and online formats.
The Superprof platform is easy to navigate and each tutor has all the information you need on their profile. Prices are set by the tutor and may vary according to their experience and background, as well as the level they are teaching. Often, the first lesson is offered for free. This is a great opportunity to 'try before you buy' and a chance for both you and the tutor to see if you can work effectively together.
However and wherever you decide to learn Arabic, make sure you are clear on your goals and choose a course that is both enjoyable and helps you meet your needs.
The platform that connects tutors and students