Study Arabic in Morocco!
I Learn Arabic in Morocco. It sounded crazy, enough to attract me from the start. And it is that since Nothing Included was born, my life is a perfect combination of daily life and experiences traveling into the unknown. And can you think of a better way to get started in Arab culture? Not me, and that’s why I embarked without hesitation.
Sprachcaffe, one of the largest language schools in the world
English, French, Spanish, German, Chinese, Arabic … More than 30 schools have Sprachcaffe around the world, almost as many as I have been offering this service for years . Its maxim is to facilitate the study of the language from the cradle of these languages, so that the learning experience goes far beyond books.
With this baggage and methodology, it looked like an introductory course in Arabic with them was going to be a round experience … and it was. A demanding challenge, especially for a brain that is not too proficient in languages, but which has made up one of the most satisfying experiences of my life.
Learning Arabic in Morocco
Although Sprachcaffe also offers French courses in Morocco, I found the challenge of Arabic much more attractive, especially since I wanted to take a dip in that culture . A despised culture in the West, which comes to us distorted through completely partial sources of information. That is why this course called me so much, for everything that would involve me on an academic and personal level. As always, all the prejudices that he might have were ruined.
I will not deny you, learning Arabic can be difficult, but it is perfectly feasible with the enthusiasm, energy, time and the right predisposition. Undoubtedly, one of the biggest pitfalls to overcome is the alphabet, since, as you know, Arabs write in the opposite direction and with completely different letters.
However, most of the letters correspond to one of ours, even at the sound level, so learning that alphabet is nothing more than a matter of practice and time.
One of the biggest difficulties of this learning is that the consonants in Arabic change their drawing according to the position they occupy in the word, so you will have to memorize three combinations for each letter . It also doesn’t help that vowels are only drawn when they are long (aa, ii, uu), but not if they are short (a, i, u). So, at the beginning, it can be difficult to understand street signs, because they do not have vowels. It is as if in the West we saw a sign that says “Hsptl”. We would only know that it says “Hospital” because we already have that word in our vocabulary.
However, once you internalize all of this, it is relatively “easy” to write in Arabic. And very rewarding . You can’t imagine how happy I was one day when I saw a “Coca-Cola” sign written in Arabic and knew what it said.
Sprachcaffe usually devotes the entire first week of the course to learning the ins and outs of Arabic writing , something that didn’t cost me too much. We also study numbers or some typical expressions.
The second week was devoted to grammar and, I must confess, it was very difficult for me. Although it is only a matter of effort. Luckily, in the Sprachcaffe school in Rabat you can choose different types of courses and duration , although they have to be at least a week (it seems little to me):
- Standard course: 20 lessons per week.
- Intensive course: 30 weekly lessons.
- Individual classes: 10/20/30 weekly lessons.
But beyond the lessons you do daily, I think what is really important is the length of the course. It takes a long time to start understanding such a different language . So, if you are serious about Arabic, I recommend at least a month’s stay.
In my case I took a standard two-week course, although the first was private lessons because there were no other people at my (low) level . The second week a German girl joined me who, by the way, was giving me a thousand laps.
On the last day, all the students gathered us to present ourselves in Arabic to the other classmates . I think the exercise was quite fluid (I’m good at memorizing), but then they asked me a series of questions in Arabic and I didn’t quite know where the air gave me. If they had told me to prepare the questions …
If you are interested, my advice is to get in touch with them, explain your case and look together for the course that best suits you . I am sure they will advise you wonderfully. By the way, with the code «NOTHING INCLUDED» you will have 25 euros discount for each week of the course (maximum, 8 weeks). You can give them the code by phone or when making the reservation online.
Where to stay during your Arabic course in Rabat
You already know that I usually recommend accommodation in every city I visit, but if you take an Arabic course with Sprachcaffe you will have this problem solved. And it is that the academy itself offers you complete packs with course + stay + the meal plan that best suits you . You only have to choose between these accommodation options for your stay in Rabat:
- Riyadh: in case you didn’t know, riads are typical residences in Morocco, generally located in the old areas or medinas. They are usually very special and very peaceful places, so they can be a perfect complement to your studies.
- Hotels: Sprachcaffe collaborates with several hotels , so this option is also available to students. Comfortable and safe.
- Homestay – Living with a local family: as it could not be from another, the academy also offers students the possibility of living with a Moroccan family while they study , a perfect way to put what they have learned into practice. Of course, the option that I chose.
During my two weeks studying Arabic in Rabat, I was living with a local family. And it was great . Despite the difficulties in communicating fluently (only the daughter spoke a little English), the truth is that we connected from the first moment. In this house I enjoyed a private room very close to the Medina (about 25 minutes walk from the academy).
A simple apartment, but with everything you need for a perfect stay. Also, my Moroccan “mother” is an excellent cook , so I took very good advantage of the half board.
Of course, living in someone’s home is living in someone’s home, and you have to adapt to their rules and customs, so I recommend this option as long as you are open to this type of experience. It may not be as comfortable as a hotel, but it is much warmer and more enriching.
Living in Rabat, the capital of Morocco
How can you discover in my guide about Rabat , the capital of Morocco in a very nice place to live .
Although Morocco is generally a comfortable and tourist-friendly country, Rabat is one of the most developed and quiet cities in the country , so I’m sure it won’t cost you anything to do to it. I enjoyed the beauty of my stay there. At a tourist level you can visit the Medina and its souks …
… the Kasbah of the Udayas …
… Hassan’s tower …
… the Chellah …
… and the new area , the neighborhood where the Sprachcaffe academy is located , by the way.
All of these places are relatively close to each other, so you can walk almost anywhere . For longer distances I recommend the tram …
… or the blue taxis , the private ones. White taxis are shared and, although they are much more “cheap”, they have fixed routes.
The ones that didn’t give me any confidence were the bus lines , completely ramshackle and almost always full of people. With how beautiful it is to walk and how cheap taxis are …
By the way, in Morocco you eat great and at a very good price , and Rabat is a good example of this. So take advantage of your leisure time to get started in Moroccan gastronomy.
As a coastal city, Rabat offers a pleasant climate (the sea of) during most of the year , although in the city itself you will NOT find a decent beach. If you want sand and sea you will have to get away a little.
Logistically, the capital of Morocco is a perfect enclave to visit other tourist destinations in the country such as Casablanca, Marrakech …
… Fez …
… and Chefchaouen .
By the way, the Sprachcaffe school itself organizes excursions with students to visit some of the most emblematic places in the city and the country . The prices are more than reasonable, so it is worth signing up. A good way to meet people.
My assessment of the Arabic course in Morocco
It is clear that studying a language abroad is the best way to learn it . There is nothing like real life to put into practice what the books teach you.
To end this article, again to insist that my experience learning Arabic in Rabat could not be better. If Arabic calls you, this is a very good way to get started.
Also, my first contact with the Arab culture was excellent , since both my host family, the school team and all the people who crossed my path made this adventure unforgettable. To all of them, a million thanks.
With all this, I do not know if as a student I deserve a 10 for my performance during the course, but of course Sprachcaffe and Rabat have been two outstanding teachers . I am sure that it will not be my only experience of this type and that it will not be the last time I do Arabic homework. But until then: shukran!