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Amman develops into centre for Arabic language learning

By Silas Gaughran-Bedell - Apr 14,2024 - Last updated at Apr 14,2024

Jordan has developed into a popular destination for international students, hosting over 46,000 international students, according to the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research (JT File photo)

AMMAN — Jordan has developed into a popular destination for international students, hosting over 46,000 international students, according to the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research. This presence of students has been a focus of the ministry and has led to the growing success of language programmes for non-native Arabic speakers, a trend that programme directors believe will continue. 

According to the Jordanian News Agency Petra, the ministry reported that Jordan is focused on attracting international students and developing educational tourism. This endeavour is supported by language programmes in Amman, according to a variety of programme directors. 

Manal Yousef, the Director of CET Jordan, a language programme in Amman, said that the Kingdom has benefitted significantly from its continued safety, attracting programmes and students alike. Formerly based in Aleppo, CET moved to Jordan in 2011 due of its safety and stability, according to Yousef. 

However, the appeal of Jordan does not rest solely on the stability of the Kingdom, said Yousef, “there are other positive reasons that Jordan has become a desirable place to study because after those programmes were established here, the culture and environment of teaching Arabic to non-native speakers has really blossomed” .

In addition to culture, Yousef emphasised the importance of opportunities to participate in the workforce that is unique to Jordan, and will benefit the students and country in the future. “The large expansion of the private sector, NGOs, and Non-profit organisations offers students an opportunity to have a more diverse experience … In addition to the language learning, they can work with the organisations and have internship experience that is unique to Jordan.”

Also, having many different programmes in Amman has created a “competitiveness in the markets”, Yousef said, adding that “different programmes are emphasising the various aspects of their identity, thus we are starting to witness more diversity in the types of programmes that are available here”. 

One of those programmes is MALIC, directed by Khalid Loughad, a professor at the University of Jordan who has taught Arabic to cohorts of international students since 2010. While Loughad also mentioned the safety and stability of Jordan as essential to the location, he stressed that Jordan’s diversity is beneficial to engaging different regions and cultures of the Middle East. 

“You can find Egyptians, you can find Yemenis, from the Gulf, from Iran, from everywhere, from Syria. You can meet anyone you want, to know about their culture and their language,” said Loughad, “It is like — visiting all of those regions at once.”

According to Loughad, this variety of culture assists students in learning, and achieving immersion, a goal that all language programmes mentioned as essential to learning. The immersive environment allows students to constantly be engaging in Arabic language, creating the best results for learning according to directors. 

Sage Coates-Farley, a former abroad student at CET, is the current Corporate Coordinator of Done By Native (DBN), a multinational company with a variety of language contracts in Amman, including the Post Language Programme in the U.S. Embassy, students in the US Military or USAID, and in the Canadian Embassy. 

Recently, DBN has begun to develop a new study abroad programme, choosing Amman as the location.

“When we were working towards developing a study abroad programme, practically speaking, Jordan was the better choice in terms of the connections we had and the opportunity for Arabic immersion,” said Coates-Farley.

 

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