“There are a myriad of Arabic language programs out there for students looking to learn a year’s worth during their summer – but what makes Arabic instruction at the CLC truly exceptional is not only its unique pedagogical philosophy but even more so the excellent quality and professionalism of the teachers who practice it. I first came to the CLC with one year of university level beginning Arabic and found myself advancing rapidly beyond that as we embarked on Mr. Zoubairi’s whirlwind of an intensive program.
The instructors used a holistic approach to teaching language that not only focuses on building grammatical understanding but also improving confidence in listening and speaking in particular. My teachers served not only as resources in and out of class for the Arabic language, but also for Moroccan religion, culture, and history. They were experienced in the unique challenges of teaching Arabic to Westerners as a second language and were always attentive to our needs, patient, and most of all very encouraging in class – often going to comical lengths to help make sure we understood vocabulary and concepts. The program itself was well-structured, yet open and flexible to the changing needs and critiques of students resulting in an overall highly rigorous yet rewarding experience. Throughout the course of my stay in Marrakech, my teachers became more than just mere educators, but friends and mentors. I am ever-grateful to have had the opportunity to learn at the feet of such dedicated, passionate, and intelligent people.”
Faez H. Syed, Jonathan Edwards College, Yale University
I’ve been home for a few days now, but I already miss Morocco and everyone at the CLC. I want to thank you for all the time and effort you put into helping me, along with everyone else, learn Arabic. This was my first exposure to the Arabic language, and I feel very fortunate to have learned it at the CLC with you overseeing the Arabic program. I was amazed during the first week to see how much Darija I was able to pick up from listening to you speak it in class. As time went on, though, there were times when I was frustrated with the language. I am very thankful that you were willing to help me while we were in Rabat. I’ve never known a teacher who genuinely cares about his subject matter or his students as much as you do.
By the end of the program, I was shocked to see how much Arabic I had actually learned. When my class was reviewing for the final exam, I was pleasantly surprised to see that I had learned enough Arabic to read an entire passage, answer questions, and translate sentences. That night, I had my first full conversation with a taxi driver, in which I explained why I was in Morocco and other information. I was even able to negotiate the price down after I taught him how to count to ten in Arabic.
Again, I want to thank you for all that you did. I really loved my experience at the CLC, and I am excited to pursue Arabic throughout this upcoming year. Insha’Allah I will see you again in the future.
Colin Swords, NSLI-Y Program, Marrakesh, 2010
“I could never have imagined that I would learn so much Arabic in only five weeks. The intensity with which I was taught Arabic is unparalleled.My beginner class was instructed in, and I spoke, only Modern Standard Arabic; because of this we were able to cover a remarkable seven chapters in the five weeks I was in Morocco. My instructors were the best I’ve ever had in any subject area. Their passion for not only teaching us students Arabic but also for teaching us about their culture is amazing and inspiring. My teachers were more than just that; they became trusted friends, opening up about their lives and families, recommending delicious restaurants, and even fixing my camera when it broke. :) My home stay family was awesome. I had an older sister and two younger brothers as well as a mom and dad; I was also paired with another American student. I learned a bit about how to cook Moroccan-style from my mom and sister, and my siblings helped me with my homework almost every night. I had such great times with them! I will always look back fondly on my memories of Morocco. Based on my experiences with those associated with the CLC, I highly recommend this institution to anyone wishing to learn or improve upon their Arabic language skills.”
Maddy Bersh, currently continuing her Arabic studies at the US Naval Academy
“On the first day of my stay in Marrakech, I was told by Mr. Fitzgerald that there are maybe 5 people in the world who can correctly teach the Arabic language to non-native speakers, and that one of those is Mr. Zoubairi. I was right to place my trust in Mr. Fitzgerald’s words for I received exemplary Arabic instruction that far exceeds that of the Arabic program in my high school. My Arabic improved dramatically. Apart from the instruction, my experience in Morocco was life-changing. The host families are unbelievably kind and the field trips were phenomenal. I look forward to one day returning to Marrakech to hopefully continue my studies.
Connor Murphy, NSLI-Y Program, Brian McMahon High School, class of ’11
“Never having been to Morocco and not having studied Arabic in years, I was nervous about studying at the CLC for so long. Those feelings were immediately eased when I met the staff and people I now call friends. They were honest, sincere, and treated me a returning family member. The entire staff took a vested interest in my learning. I never felt alone or abandoned in my work. I am still touched by the kindness and desire of the entire staff to share not only Arabic but also their culture and families. I’ve made relationships that have enhanced my life just as my Arabic. I have a stronger urge to improve my Arabic than ever before and cannot wait to go back to the CLC to help do so.”
Frank Cortez, Georgia State University, CLC Arabic Student 2010
“I spent my summer … studying Arabic (at the CLC) and I could not have imagined being anywhere else! .. From the students, the staff, and all others involved, it is such a special place that truly transcends what we think of as a ‘school.’ Thanks to all my wonderful instructors and friends who helped make my experience one that I will always remember.’
Mark Wade, University of Georgia at Athens, CLC Arabic Student, 2011
“ Not only did my Arabic improve significantly through the intensive study and structure of the [ALI] Morocco program, but my understanding of Islam and Muslim culture. Within my host family, there were women who wore hijabs, women who didn’t, a very conservative uncle and a more liberal father, and teenagers who reminded me of my friends in America. I was able to achieve the intermediate Arabic certificate from the Center for Language and Culture, Marrakesh, and with it, an improved sense of diplomacy and awareness when speaking to the Moroccans. I developed the curiosity and drive to perfect my Arabic and learn as much as possible in the fields of international relations and the Middle East. …[it] stirred more curiosity that will take me through my goals in diplomacy and government, but most importantly, understanding. Oh, and it was SO MUCH FUN.”
Catherine Haslam, Participant in Arabic Language Institute for high school students, CLC, 2010