Studying Arabic in Morocco at the Qalam wa Lawh Center in Rabat offers the opportunity to rapidly learn the Arabic language and experience Arab and Moroccan culture. Qalam wa Lawh’s Intensive Arabic Courses and academic study abroad programs enable students to learn Arabic through immersion and gain experiences that last a lifetime.
So let’s get you started!!
Why choose to learn Arabic in Rabat Morocco?
Morocco is a country with a rich history and a diverse cultural heritage. This north African nation located at the intersection of Europe and Africa has amazed travelers with its bustling markets, unique architecture, breath-taking scenery, and most of all its welcoming people. Morocco’s geostrategic position makes it a destination where Arab, African, and Mediterranean civilizations meet and produce insightful and inspiring experiences. Students come from all over the world to study Arabic in Morocco, and it’s easy to see why!
Authentic Arab Identity and Culture
Morocco’s deep Arab identity and culture makes it one of the world’s best places to study Arabic abroad. Students in Morocco enjoy spending their free time with native Arabic speakers, wandering the winding streets of Rabat’s old medina and Kasbah, and taking an in-depth look at the beauty of Morocco's safe, welcoming environment.
One of just 22 Arab countries in the world, Morocco has had Arabic as its official language since the 7th century. It is the primary official language in education, government proceedings, as well as all most popular media and news channels.
Breathtaking Beauty and Diversity
Morocco is a breathtaking North African nation perched on the northwestern-most edge of Africa. With its shimmering coastline, velvety sand dunes, and year-round sun, Morocco is an attractive tourist destination.
Qalam wa Lawh is in Rabat, Morocco's capital, a bustling medium-sized city with so much to offer. As a coastal city, a major draw to students, tourists, and locals alike is the beach, used year-round for swimming and surfing.
Morocco's Safety and Infrastructure
Morocco is also one of the safest and most convenient destinations for studying Arabic. The country has a reliable infrastructure in major cities as well as modern transportation options and medical services. The Moroccan government has good relations with nations across the globe and encourages tourism and visits from people from all over the world!
Rabat’s charm stems not only from its livability – with safe and accessible transportation throughout the city – but also from its pleasant mix of tradition with modernity. The reliable tramline, for example, runs along the border of Rabat’s old medina, and the remnants of a half-built 12th-century mosque are within walking distance from some of Rabat’s most luxurious hotels. (Check out some more reasons to study abroad in Rabat!)
Another one of the best aspects of studying Arabic in Rabat is that the city is only a few hours away from most major Moroccan cities. Casablanca, of Humphrey Bogart movie fame, is just one hour south of Rabat. Fes and Meknes, which contain the two largest urban car-free zones in the world, are each only two hours away from the capital. Marrakech, too, is only a four-hour train ride from Rabat, boasting one of the most well-known tourist sites in all of Morocco – Jemaa el Fna square.
Arabic through Immersion
An essential element of learning to speak any language is practice, and immersion provides plenty of opportunities for doing just that! Being immersed in a culture and environment rich with the Arabic language and tradition allows students to not only gain comprehension of the Arabic language, but to experience it as well. Qalam wa Lawh provides students with cultural immersion activities, such as discussion groups, excursions and weekend trips, and workshops to ensure that students experience immersion in the Arabic language both inside and outside the classroom.
Benefits of Arabic Language Immersion
Learning a language is indeed no easy feat, but language immersion is an incredible way to overcome that difficulty and bring you miles (literally!) closer to success. Immersing yourself in the language you hope to learn allows you many advantages:
You’ll be able to listen and watch others while they speak the language you want to learn. By studying Arabic in a country that has used Arabic for centuries, you’ll interact with people every day who can help hone your skills while taking your taxi, visiting a café, or buying fresh fruit and vegetables at the market.
You’ll keep your education relevant. Listening to Moroccan radio or watching Moroccan news broadcasts will give you interesting and relevant vocabulary that helps you stay up-to-date.
You can practice! In Morocco, you’ll have no shortage of people with whom you can practice your new Arabic skills. Additionally, Moroccans love taking part in inter-cultural exchange, and many will be happy to practice with you!
You’ll have to leave your comfort zone. A little bit of confidence is needed to learn any language, and once you’ve taken the cultural plunge to study in a country different than your own, you’ve already taken the biggest step!
Arabic Immersion Courses
The Arabic Immersion Courses at Qalam wa Lawh offer an experience that mirrors the immersion students experience outside the classroom. Classes are communicative, intensive, and hands-on, so that students have the chance to experience the Arabic language for themselves. Qalam wa Lawh’s experienced teachers encouraging students to use their new language skills and practice communication through a variety of lessons and activities.
Cultural Immersion Activities
In addition to the Arabic immersion courses, students take part in various organized cross-cultural activities. Students may choose a homestay, during which they live with a native Moroccan family. Other students may be interested in Qalam’s service learning opportunities, opting to take part in volunteering programs and internships in Morocco. Qalam also offers Arabic language clubs to supplement classroom hours, as well as excursions and immersion trips around Morocco that enhance the cultural immersion experience and provide memories that will last a lifetime.
Arabic Language Course Highlights
Qalam wa Lawh’s Arabic courses adopt a communicative approach that enables students to experience full Arabic language immersion experience. Courses and schedules are available for any and all types of learning needs and study abroad experiences! Check out some of the best aspects of the programs below.
Flexible courses for every learner
Qalam wa Lawh offers courses year-round in Modern Standard Arabic and Moroccan Arabic. Students may enroll for a minimum of two weeks and continue studying for as long as their schedule permits and without interruption. Qalam offers Arabic courses at all proficiency levels with start dates every two weeks.
While these courses are designed to suit most students, private classes are can be arranged to suit individual needs and study schedules.
Focus on communication
Qalam wa Lawh courses employ a student-centered communicative approach that builds fluency and accuracy by focusing on competency in all four skills: listening, reading, speaking, and writing.
Each course takes four weeks to complete. Students proceed to the next course after successfully passing the course exam, presenting an oral project, and demonstrating the communication skills necessary to place in the next level.
Small class sizes for individualized attention
Class size is a significant factor when implementing a communicative approach. Class sizes at Qalam wa lawh are restricted to a maximum of ten students, leaving ample opportunity for teachers to pay individual attention to each student. The smaller class size also provides a sense of community in the classroom and allows students to work together through communication and participation.
Arabic Courses at Qalam wa Lawh Center
Qalam wa Lawh offers several Arabic language courses, including Modern Standard Arabic, Moroccan Arabic, Classical Arabic, Arabic Literature, and Media Arabic. Each course targets communication and Arabic comprehension and is offered at multiple levels of proficiency.
Modern Standard Arabic
Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) is the standardized literary Arabic understood throughout the Arab speaking world. It is a modernized version of Classical Arabic, the language from which all Arab dialects get their roots. MSA, however, includes newer and more modern words and phrases. Today, news and media releases, as well and most books in the Arab world are written in Modern Standard Arabic. Learn more about Modern Standard Arabic courses >>
Moroccan Arabic or "Darija" is the dialect of Arabic widely spoken in Morocco. Moroccan Arabic is easier to learn than Modern Standard Arabic and is very useful for communicating with most Moroccans, regardless of their background or education.
Studying Moroccan Arabic is especially useful for people who live in Morocco for an extended period and who need to interact with a wide range of Moroccans in non-formal settings.
Arabic for Specific Purposes
Other intensive Arabic courses offered at Qalam wa Lawh include Arabic Literature, Media Arabic, and Classical Arabic. Students looking to further their degrees or careers in Arabic-related fields often choose these courses to supplement their Arabic language education. | Arabic for specific purposes course details >>
These courses are available through the Academic Arabic Study Abroad programs and can be included in faculty-led and custom Arabic programs.
The Arabic Literature (“adab” or الأدب in Modern Standard Arabic) course encompasses classical and modern Arabic literature. While there is plenty of rich Arabic material to choose from during the Islamic Golden Age of the 8th to 14th centuries, this course includes a range of various texts from pre-Islamic poetry to contemporary works of fiction. | Learn more about Arabic Literature courses >>
Classical Arabic, or sometimes referred to as Quranic Arabic, is the original language upon which all forms and dialects of Arabic are based. Qalam’s Classical Arabic course focuses on the grammar and vocabulary necessary to comprehend the content of the Arabic Qu'ran and other Islamic texts. Often ideal for researchers, this course assists students in the deciphering and comprehension of very old Arabic manuscripts and research materials. | More details about Classical Arabic at Qalam >>
A large majority of the media sources in the Arab world use Modern Standard Arabic. This course, therefore, covers the use of Arabic in journalism and media. Primarily communicative, this course focuses on a variety of types of sources, including newspapers, magazines, and international blogs. | Check out the Media Arabic program page >>
Choose the Arabic Program that is right for you!
Now that you are familiar with available courses, choosing the right program is the first step towards starting your Arabic learning. Each program offers a different set of courses, schedules, and options.
Year-Round Intensive Arabic Courses
The Intensive Arabic Courses (offered year-round) at Qalam wa Lawh are perfect for students looking to really immerse themselves in their Arabic language study. The courses focus on full immersion into the Arabic language, with the dedication of top-notch native Arabic teachers. The Intensive Arabic Course program also includes access to all of Qalam’s extra-curricular activities, student advisors, and tutoring opportunities.
Students who take part in this program can choose to study with Qalam wa Lawh at any point in the year fits their schedule and stay as long as their schedule permits. Group course start dates are every two weeks, and enrollment requires a minimum of two weeks of study. | More immersion Intensive course details >>
Private courses are also available for students who prefer individual Arabic lessons.
Academic Study Abroad Programs
Qalam wa Lawh also offers Academic Study Abroad Programs for students looking for a more traditional study abroad experience. Like the Intensive Arabic Courses, Academic Study Abroad Programs at Qalam are based in the study of the Arabic language, supplemented by all the exciting immersion activities Qalam has to offer. The Academic Study Abroad Programs, though, also feature additional Arabic courses and Area Study courses that further students’ cultural and academic education while at Qalam wa Lawh. | More details >>
Students can select Qalam’s Semester Program (fall or spring semesters) or take part in the 4-week Arabic Summer Program or Arabic Winter Program.
Learn from your peers!
Here’s a helpful video produced by students taking part in Qalam wa Lawh’s Media Club. Visit our Immersion page to learn more about other types of immersion activities and groups you can join during your Arabic studies!
Frequently Asked Questions
It can often be difficult to finalize your decision on where to study Arabic
abroad, but don’t worry – you're not alone! Here, you’ll find some
frequently asked questions about our Arabic language programs with
answers that should shine some light on any last questions you may have.
Is Arabic hard to learn?
Arabic is often regarded as one of the most difficult languages to learn.
Arabic is an Afroasiatic language that bears little resemblance to European
languages – particularly in regards to the Arabic alphabet. However,
immersion is key. The decision to study Arabic in Morocco will significantly alleviate some of the stress of learning Arabic, particularly since there are so many opportunities to practice both on-campus and off-campus.
How long does it take to learn Arabic?
This is a difficult question to answer. The time it takes to learn a language can vary from student to student, depending particularly on how much time a student is willing to commit to their Arabic study. Getting started and taking the time to learn the Arabic alphabet is definitely the first step! Typically, students who study Arabic at Qalam wa Lawh and start at the beginner level complete all levels of Arabic courses in nine months to one year.
How different is Moroccan Arabic from Modern Standard Arabic?
Moroccan Arabic, commonly known as “Darija,” is the Arabic dialect spoken in Morocco and is very similar to other dialects in the North African region (Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Mauritania).
As with other Arabic dialects, namely Levantine, Egyptian, and Khaleeji dialects, Moroccan Arabic is heavily rooted in classical Arabic with borrowed words from Amazigh (Berber), French, and Spanish.
My university Arabic program includes Egyptian or Levantine dialects.
Will this be a problem for my Arabic education in Morocco?
Some colleges and universities in the United States and Europe use a combined approach in teaching Arabic, with the goal of helping students communicate with the local communities quickly before gradually transitioning into Modern Standard Arabic. Modern Standard Arabic courses at Qalam wa Lawh do not follow this approach and do not include Moroccan Arabic or any other dialect. (Please note, however that knowing an Arabic dialect in addition to Modern Standard Arabic is generally considered a plus and will not negatively affect your assessment or test results!)
Can I learn Standard Arabic and Moroccan Arabic at the same time?
It’s not advisable for beginners to enroll in intensive Modern Standard Arabic and Moroccan Arabic courses at the same time. Most students prefer to reach an intermediate level in one before starting the other. However, it’s very useful to learn some common Moroccan Arabic expressions for anyone who wants to study abroad in Morocco.
How do I receive university credits from my courses at Qalam wa Lawh?
Each student is provided with a detailed course syllabus for each course taken at Qalam wa Lawh.
Official transcripts are also available upon request and can be sent directly to your university for accreditation purposes.
Can I receive funding or scholarships to study at Qalam wa Lawh?
Yes! Not only does Qalam wa Lawh offer its own scholarship, the Ibn Battuta Arabic Scholarship, but outside grants and scholarships are also acceptable. Acceptable scholarships include, but are not limited to, FLAS grants, Boren Scholarships, NSLI-Y funding, and Fulbright grants. You can learn more by visiting the Scholarships and Grants page.
The Ibn Battuta Arabic Scholarship is awarded based on previous Arabic study and academic merit to 15 students each session (5 full scholarships and 10 partial scholarships). An important thing to note, though, is that you do not need to be currently enrolled in a school or university to apply for the scholarship! Anyone may apply.