I studied at the LAI for 4 months, after not being satisfied from a previous school. Since my first lesson, I loved it and wanted to continue studying here. Samar is a fantastic teacher with heart for her students and for teaching. She puts so much effort into developing the curriculum and material. The books are incredibly structured, well thought out and well written. Samar also provides loads of extra material to work on the things you want to work on. I seriously doubt there is a school in Lebanon as good as this, worth every penny!

Olivier Baas Quantitative Risk Consultant

When you first start with the Arabic language, inevitably you feel you will never be able to speak it. I was surprised by how much I could say and understand after one year of lessons twice a week with Samar. The knowledge acquired helped me out in so many situations, not just basic day to day, but also sometimes fairly complex dialogues. Samar measures your needs and calibrates the lessons accordingly. I am very thankful to Samar and still amazed every time I can have a conversation in Arabic.

Bruno Rizzi Diplomat, Brazilian Embassy in Damascus

I wholeheartedly recommend Samar and her approach to teaching. She is patient but ensures that her students are always challenged. Her lessons are structured but adapted to address key needs and concerns. And while she takes her work seriously, studying with her is also a lot of fun. The books and teaching aids Samar uses are excellent. Over the last year, we've been using the books from the "Lebanese Arabic From Scratch" series. Samar wrote these books herself, since no other books or program met her high standards. They include all kinds of useful drills, listening exercises, and even insider tips on culture and etiquette. In addition to using these books, Samar developed lesson plans tailored to my needs, focused on everything from sieges in Syria to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. As a result of this unique and individualized program, I've made huge progress, and I'm finally on track to bridge the gap between Modern Standard Arabic and Lebanese conversational Arabic. There is no question that learning Arabic is an uphill battle, but with Samar there, helping you along, it somehow seems like a hill that you might be able to climb. I've never met a teacher who more strongly believes in her students.

Nicolette Waldman Research Consultant - Syria Amnesty International

I studied Arabic with Samar for several years when we lived in Lebanon. She was one of the most amazing pedagogues I have ever studied under and definitely the best language instructor I ever had. Her manner was patient, but persistent and very engaged. But above it all, it was her self-created teaching methodology using textbooks and language modules she had written up and recorded herself that drove the lessons. I highly recommend her and her language school. She is an exceptional and exceptionally gifted artisan of language pedagogy.

Borzou Daragahi Middle East Correspondent

I took Arabic lessons from Samar for several years while I was on faculty at the American University. You can’t go wrong by joining one of her classes. She’s a great teacher and a thorough professional.

Robin Heath, PhD Director, CopyRockers Professional Editing Services

I spent months searching for a serious and experienced Lebanese Arabic teacher in Beirut. Samar was widely recommended by friends and she was great! In my private lessons, Samar always came with prepared lesson plans and real-world listening and comprehension activities that made living and working in Beirut easier. When I needed a haircut, we spent a day going over the vocabulary for that. When I needed to be able to understand TV news, we spent time on that. She was always flexible and went out of her way to meet my learning needs. Thanks to Samar, I was conversational in Lebanese Arabic after a few short months.

Tim Fitzsimons Freelance Journalist

Samar helped me in a significant way to perfect my Arabic and reach my goals to finally work for the ICRC. There was a before / after Samar kind of effect and I will always be grateful!

Nour Khadam-Al-Jamé Delegate for the ICRC

I have had various Arabic teachers over the years in a number of countries and Samar is by far the best. Her methodology is extremely thorough and prepares the pupil for real conversation and interaction with native Arabic speakers. She focuses on what is most useful to each student and shapes the lessons and materials around that rather than slavishly sticking to one text or learning plan. As such, Samar has worked with me on general conversational vocab that I am interested in learning in local dialects and Modern Standard, as well as more technical, media-related studies focusing on Arabic newspapers and broadcasts. She uses a number of very useful teaching aids such as videos, flashcards, and digital resources which make home study between classes much more engaging and productive. Time spent learning with Samar teaches you to really speak Arabic and use the knowledge you are gaining in a much more practical way than many other, more rigid teaching methodologies.

Jane Ferguson PBS Newshour Special Correspondent

Samar has been my teacher ever since I arrived in Beirut almost two years ago. I feel extremely lucky to have met her. Although she was not my first Arabic teacher, she is certainly the best I have ever met. Beyond having a very effective Arabic language teaching methodology of her own, she is also very gifted in framing the learning of a language in its cultural and historical contexts, making the learning process richer and more interesting. Learning Arabic is definitely a big challenge but with Samar as your teacher, it is a challenge well worth facing.

Ana Leticia Medeiros Human Rights Lawyer and Consultant

During three years of study, Samar has proven a meticulous, attentive, and patient teacher. She has tailored a curriculum to address my shifting needs as a journalist living in Beirut. Samar's commitment and professionalism are without equal. Uniquely among Arabic teachers in Beirut, Samar understands the importance of teaching Arabic with an understanding of how her students will use the language. Thanks to the curriculum that she produced from scratch, I was able to acquire facility in spoken Arabic and deal fluidly with needs of daily life, from shopping and driving to fighting about parking spaces and chatting about families and politics. Thanks to her keen understanding of my professional needs, I acquired the building blocks to understand news accounts and political speeches. Samar produced a boot camp on elections before I went to cover a referendum in Egypt. She produced another intensive mini-course on armed groups and clashes before I had to conduct a raft of interviews on the subject. Samar possesses a keen mind and sensitive ear; she pays close attention to her students, gauging their capabilities and needs and pushing them to achieve the most they can. It speaks for itself that I have studied with Samar three mornings a week over the course of three years, despite the full-time demands of work. She's fun to study with, and her teaching brings results.

Thanassis Cambanis Journalist, The Boston Globe and Research Fellow, The Century Foundation

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

Are you interested in learning Arabic?
Apply online for a group course or private lessons, or learn more about our program in Lebanese Arabic.

If you are completely new to Arabic, we encourage you to learn about the difference between colloquial Arabic and Modern Standard Arabic (MSA).

Any questions? Don’t hesitate to contact us.

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