Finding Samar was the difference that made the difference in my learning to speak colloquial Arabic. I’d been in Beirut a year and was getting really frustrated but once I started studying with Samar things changed. She listened to what I wanted, adapted to meet my needs and didn’t get annoyed when I would go off experimenting with words, breaking rules and generally not following the lesson as planned. When I wanted to develop my listening and reading skills in MSA, Samar was happy to work with texts that I brought but she also went out of her way to find me material that she knew I was interested in. These would be accompanied by useful annotations explaining new vocabulary, unfamiliar forms and any contextual information that was crucial to understanding the text. In this way I was able to learn from films, songs, news broadcasts, comic books and newspapers. Learning any new language takes time but with Samar I felt like I was always progressing.
Mike Orr Teaching Fellow and Deputy Programme Director for the MSc TESOL, University of Edinburgh Lebanese Arabic Institute May 26, 2016