I first made an effort to start learning Arabic back when I was attending university, shortly after I met my future husband. He and one of his friends taught me the very basics, like numbers, colors, and how to say very simple things like thank you, hello and goodbye. When I moved to Saudi Arabia five years ago, I thought it would be imperative for me to learn more Arabic, but instead I found that people wanted to practice their English with me! So learning the Arabic language hasn’t really been an urgent top priority for me. At my age, learning a language is much more difficult than when I was younger. Heck, after moving to KSA in my mid-50s, it took me three weeks just to master what to say in Arabic when I sneeze!
Finally after five years in KSA, I took the plunge and enrolled in a conversational Arabic class. I wanted to take a course that was fun, friendly, and informal - and I wanted to enroll in a class that would not put any pressure on me with testing or performance. With the “I Can TalkArabic” course, I got just that! I am about to complete my first session of 8 classes and am eagerly looking forward to more. Not only have I thoroughly enjoyed each and every class and met some fantastic women in the process, but this “Women Only” class is the best deal in town!
Founded by Hadeel Al-Abassi (firstname.lastname@example.org), a Saudi writer, family counselor, and a life coach, she wanted to start an Arabic language institute in Jeddah that would focus on conversational skills instead of classical Arabic and grammar. “I Can Talk Arabic” is perfect for the woman who wants to be able to carry on simple conversations in a variety of common everyday situations, such as shopping, traveling, banking, or at school. “ICTA” has been in operation for one year now and conveniently offers morning or evening classes, from beginners to advanced. Students can pay a discounted rate for the entire 8 class session up front or have the option of paying for each class separately.
One of the things I like best about the "ICTA" classes is the relaxed atmosphere. Classes are held in the pool house within the walls of Hadeel’s family villa. Instead of a structured classroom environment, it feels more like a group of friends getting together each week and having a good time. Women from many countries all over the world are enrolled in the class I am currently taking. Students include business women, teachers, nurses, and housewives. To top it all off, drinks and refreshments are also provided at each class too.
What I also like about these classes is the opportunity to forge friendships with some real Saudi women. Since I don't work, it's not always easy to meet other Saudi women outside my husband's family. In my eyes, Hadeel and her crew represent the best of the typical Saudi woman - motivated, busy working mothers, well-educated and well-traveled, volunteering their time to share themselves, their culture and their beautiful language with other non-Saudi women who often feel intimidated by the different customs and culture. I feel honored to have met them.
As this fledgling institute continues to attract more students, eventually they will outgrow their current facility, move to bigger digs, and have to raise their fees. But for now, I'm happy with this learning experience just the way it is.
A new session of "I Can Talk Arabic" classes will be starting soon.
If you are interested in these WOMEN ONLY CLASSES, you can find out more information on the ICTA website.
You can also join ICTA on Facebook.