Study Arabic in Beirut, Lebanon

View what SINARC is about!

SINARC offers courses in the Arabic language at various levels of proficiency. Each level provides a number of hours per week of intensive classroom instruction, including Lebanese dialect. Formal language instruction is enriched by immersion in an authentic cultural context. Cultural activities include weekly lectures on topics related to Arab and Lebanese politics, history and society, as well as a series of excursions to historical, cultural and tourist sites across Lebanon.

Study with transferrable credits

LAU is one of the top institutions of higher education and research in Lebanon and the region and is accredited by the New England Commission for Higher Education (NECHE). As such, upon successfully completing the SINARC program, you will receive an official LAU transcript that makes your credits transferrable to most institutions of higher education across the globe as per the following:

15-week program
15 credits
15-week program
15 credits
6-week program
8 credits
15-week program
15 credits

One-on-one tutorials are also available for the diplomatic corps

A 10-day Summer Cultural Immersion Program is now offered

Travel, visa and transportation 

Arrival

To give you time to settle in, we advise all SINARC students to arrive in Lebanon two or three days prior to the beginning of the program.

Transportation

SINARC students residing in LAU dorms can enjoy free transportation between Beirut International Airport and LAU-Beirut.

Visa

  • Non-Lebanese citizens are required to obtain a three-month tourist visa.
  • US citizens and most European citizens can obtain visas at Beirut International Airport for $35 or LBP 50,000 (cash only).
  • Visas can also be obtained in advance through the Lebanese consulates in the countries of origin. Citizens of countries other than the U.S. should check with their embassies for information concerning visas to Lebanon.

Accommodation

Accommodation can be provided in air-conditioned, double-occupancy rooms located on the LAU Beirut campus, where the SINARC program takes place. Single occupancy is available for an extra fee and is dependent on availability; prices for lodging differ depending on the semester. 

What to pack

One set of linens, including two towels and a set of sheets are provided with accommodation, and should you need additional sheets or prefer a more frequent laundering schedule, we advise you to pack extras and make use of the dormitory laundry facilities. We also advise you to pack a beach towel.

Campus Facilities 

During the first week of your SINARC classes, you will be issued with a student ID card that gives you full access to all campus facilities, including the library, computer labs, language lab and recreational amenities (indoor Olympic-size swimming pool, indoor basketball court, tennis courts and gym). You will also be assigned an email account and have access to free WIFI throughout the program. All dorm rooms are equipped with WIFI, and student lounges have computer stations available, free of charge for dorm residents. In addition, limited kitchen facilities are located in the dorms.

Cultural Experience

Where learning a language immerses you in the region

SINARC programs give students the opportunity to immerse themselves in the language and diverse culture of Lebanon and the region from their base in the city of Beirut, one of the most dynamic and vibrant cities in the Arab world. SINARC’s rigorous academic curriculum is complemented by a rich extracurricular and cultural program featuring lectures, films, clubs, excursions, and activities with LAU’s Arab Institute for Women and Institute for Migration Studies, as well as with volunteering with local NGOs.​

​​​From the very beginning, as a SINARC student you will be expected to commit to speaking Arabic throughout all classes and activities in order to maximize your learning experience and use of Arabic language. With SINARC’s cultural program, you will find a wealth of opportunities to support you throughout your Arabic speaking journey while immersing you in the culture along the way!

Dive deeper into the region’s pressing topics

Get to know the complexities of the region from a historical context and the hot topics that are shaping it today through SINARC’s weekly program of lectures for students. The following are examples of typical lecture topics:

  • Lebanon: history and demographics
  • MENA geopolitics & the Arab-Israeli conflict
  • Gender justice and social and political activism
  • Vulnerable & marginalized populations (refugees, the LGBTQ community, human rights advocacy)
  • The confessional politics of Lebanon
  • Media and propaganda
  • The power of activism: assessing the impact of NGOs in Lebanon
  • International migration of the highly skilled: a Lebanese perspective

Explore beyond the classroom

Take your language lessons out onto the streets! From buying street food to hiking through Lebanon’s famous mountains, SINARC’s cultural excursions give you plenty of opportunities to practice the language way beyond the classroom. Before you take off, you’ll enjoy in-class activities related to your upcoming trips, and when you return there’ll be assignments to enhance your takeaways from the experience. While out on excursion, your groups will be small enough to make sure you are able to interact and chat in Arabic with the people you meet along the way.

Your excursions are devised to offer diverse experiences, from exploring sites of historical, religious, political or natural significance to browsing museums, art galleries, neighborhoods, workshops, cafes, shops and more.

SINARC’s excursions may include any of the following:

  • Jeita Grotto
  • Arab and Roman ruins in Baalbek
  • Cedars of Lebanon
  • Historical palaces in Beiteddine and Deir al-Qamar
  • Tour of South Lebanon: Sidon/Tyre
  • Beirut city tour
  • Byblos oldest inhabited city in the world (UNESCO World Heritage site)
  • Cedars of God and Becharre: Gibran Khalil Gibran Museum
  • Beirut National Museum
  • Hiking: Qadisha Valley
  • Sursock Museum
  • Banque du Liban Museum
  • Old city of Tripoli
  • Related visits: camps/NGOs/ministries/parliament

Excursion fees are included in your student association fee for the fall and spring terms, while a specific excursion fee is applicable for the summer term. Cultural trips to Syria are currently on hold due to the political situation.

Gain another perspective through movie screenings 

Get to know Lebanon’s culture through the eyes of its talented film-makers with screenings of hit movies that span the genres of drama and comedy.

  • West Beyrouth
  • Where Do We Go Now?
  • Caramel
  • Rue Huvelin
  • Ghadi
  • The Insult
  • Heritage
  • Zozo
  • Morine
  • Blind intersections
  • Beirut Hotel
  • Tannoura Maxi
  • Very Big Shot
  • Yalla Aa’belkon
  • Under the Bombs
  • Stray Bullet
  • The Kite
  • Safar Barlik
  • Bosta
  • Habbet Loulou
  • The Valley

Get practicing with your language Buddy

As a SINARC student you will be assigned a language buddy for the entirety of the program. Your language buddy is there to support and encourage you to put the Arabic you learn into practice in your daily life and therefore maximize your learning potential.

Experience culture on campus

SINARC organizes a range of cultural activities that take place on campus for your convenience, giving you valuable opportunities to get to know the region in more depth. From learning to dance the dabke to cooking your favorite Lebanese mezze, and from exploring traditional music to the art of calligraphy, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

  • Dance
  • Gastronomy: food and identity
  • Calligraphy
  • Art: music, theater, poetry,
  • Middle Eastern music workshop
  • Performing arts: dabke 101
  • Lebanese cuisine: how to make your favorite Lebanese mezze

Dine at home with a Lebanese family

At weekends, experience the warmth of Lebanese hospitality and the true taste of Lebanese cuisine through dinner with a local family selected for you by SINARC.

Instructors

Get to know your instructors

SINARC’s instructors are native Arabic speakers with solid educational credentials ranging from bachelor’s to PhD degrees, combined with extensive, often decades-long-teaching experience. Small-sized classes ensure that you receive plenty of individual attention in the classroom. 

Sara Chahine Ammar holds an MA from the Lebanese University’s School of Pedagogy for teaching philosophy and psychology in high schools. She taught Arabic for native and non-native speakers at College Protestant Français since 1975 at all levels, and she was the coordinator of the Department of Arabic there. She joined SINARC in 2005 and has taught Modern Standard Arabic at various levels for non-native speakers.

Narmeen El-Horr holds an MA in Arabic Language and Literature from the American University of Beirut, completing a thesis on trauma in modern autobiography. She joined the University of Notre Dame as an assistant teaching professor of Arabic in 2017, after having taught Arabic language and literature at AUB since 2015 and Arabic for non-native speakers at the CAMES summer program since 2012. She also worked at AUB’s Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs as Communication Coordinator. Her main areas of interest include Arab modernism, the Arabic novel, and trauma and literature. She recently joined SINARC, where she teaches Arabic language and culture for non-native speakers.

Hicham Kharroub has a BS from the American University of Beirut and an MA from LAU. He is currently a doctoral candidate at the Institut de Lettres Orientales at Saint Joseph University. He has taught Arabic as a second language since 2011, formerly at the Center for Arab and Middle Eastern Studies and currently at SINARC. His areas of interest include comparative literature, translation studies and modern Arabic poetry. His current dissertation is on literary, social and political criticism in the works of Nizar Qabbani.

Khalil Makari holds a BA in Political Science from Ithaca College and joined the Graduate Program at NYU, where he studied Modern History of the Middle East and taught Arabic for non-native speakers for several years. He taught Arabic for five years at SINARC from 1997. He developed a grade 6-10 history curriculum and coordinated with a team of authors and history editors to publish a series of grade 6-10 world history books in Arabic for an international school in Qatar (AIA- Arab International Academy). He re-joined SINARC this year as the program coordinator.

Laure Obeid received her BA from LAU in Teaching Arabic as a Foreign Language. In addition to her position as an Arabic language teacher at the International College (IC) in Beirut, she continues to teach Arabic (both classical and colloquial) to foreigners at SINARC.

Additional highly qualified faculty and assistants trained in total-immersion oral-proficiency methodology are recruited from within Lebanon and the best Arabic programs around the world.