How to Learn Arabic Outside of the Classroom

Posted by Kaleela on June 20th, 2019

Okay, let’s face facts. Sitting in an Arabic course for two hours three days a week isn’t enough for you to learn the language as much, or as quickly, as you’d like. After all, though you might love to learn Arabic, you also have to love to live it. This means if you want to learn it well, you have to take what you’ve learned out of the class and try your best to integrate that into your everyday life. Here are a few fun ways on how you can do just that!

1. Watch the Tube!

With the rise in popularity of online video websites such as YouTube and Netflix, it’s never been easier to watch Arabic films and Arabic television series. Choose one that seems interesting and, in the beginning, watch it with subtitles in English. As you become more advanced, start to wean yourself off of the subtitles. Eventually you can even test yourself by watching it without subtitles!

2. Revisit Your Fairy Tale Life

Jumping right into reading the Arabic translation of A Thousand and One Nights is not only daunting, but also unrealistic because you’re simply not going to have enough Arabic vocabulary to understand most of it. So, start small like you did when you first learned English by reading children’s books where the vocabulary and sentence structure are less complex. You’ve read Layla and the Wolf, so you already know the plot. Now you can focus on the Arabic grammar and vocabulary. As a bonus, if you have small children, you can read to them in Arabic and you’ll both be learning the language at the same time!

3. Discover New Songs

Besides food, the second most popular thing that all cultures share is music. You’ve probably already picked up some Arabic if you’ve ever heard the song Desert Rose by Sting, which features Arabic singer Cheb Mami wailing out Arabic throughout the tune. Again, you can go to YouTube and find a plethora of catchy Arabic songs. Try to find five popular Arabic songs, then Google their translations and remember the words and phrases you’ll hear. Before you know it, you be singing along with popular Arab singers like Haifa Whebe or Tamer Hosney.

4. Talk to Native Speakers

One of the best ways to learn Arabic is to travel to Arabic speaking countries and immerse yourself in the language, but we realize that’s not always possible for everyone. That means you have to try meeting people by joining local activities in your target language. Arabic is the fourth most widely spoken language in the world, so it may not be as difficult as you think. For example, when I first started learning Arabic, I used to travel around the Mid-Atlantic region of America as part of my work. One time during Ramadan, I was staying at a hotel and used to go to the convenience store around 7PM and get a large coffee and a couple of donuts for my early morning breakfast (Sahoor). One day the clerk joked with me, “Pardon me, my friend, but I noticed that every day you get breakfast at dinnertime.” “Well, I’m fasting,” I answered. “Oh, are you sick?” he asked. “No. I’m Muslim.” With that he threw up his arms and said so cheerfully, “Oh, so am I!” After that, we connected on Facebook, and not only did I gain a friend, but he was from Iraq, so I also got an Arabic speaking partner to practice with (and free coffee and donuts for the rest of Ramadan that year). So, get out there and meet new people. Finding an Arabic language partner may not be as difficult as you think.

5. Download an Arabic Language Learning App

We all carry our mobiles with us everywhere we go and downloading and Arabic language learning app is not only a great new way to learn the language, but it also can be used as an enhancement tool if your are already taking Arabic courses. Plus, you have the convenience of learning Arabic anywhere – waiting in line at the bank, traveling on the bus, or even just lounging around on the sofa on the weekend.

These are just a few ways you can learn Arabic outside of the classroom. Can you think of anymore? If so, please drop us a line at where we are more than happy to help you learn Arabic outside of the classroom and give you the best Arabic learning experience possible.