Summer 9 weeks Arabic Intensive course 2019

Centre for Jerusalem Studies

Learn Arabic in Jerusalem

Intensive Second Year Arabic

June 6-August 8, 2019


Program Description






The Centre for Jerusalem Studies (CJS) Learn Arabic in Jerusalem Program is offering an intensive summer program for students who have completed one year of formal instruction in Modern Standard Arabic (MSA).* This program is designed to provide accelerated instruction in MSA, enabling students to build their reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills, while gaining mastery of increasingly complex grammatical structures. The curriculum follows the best-selling series from Georgetown University Press, Al-Kitaab fii Ta‘allum al-‘Arabiyya (al-Batal, Brustad, al-Tonsi), widely used by colleges and universities across North America. In addition to providing student-centered instruction in MSA, the Learn Arabic in Jerusalem Program offers integrated instruction in the Levantine colloquial Arabic dialect of Jerusalem. Students with proficiency in Levantine colloquial Arabic are able to communicate across the Arabic-speaking world.


By the end of the nine-week program, students will:

  • complete second-year Arabic instruction (through Ch. 8 of Al-Kitaab Part Two, 3rd), as accredited by major American universities,
  • consolidate a strong core vocabulary related to the local environment, enabling students to discuss cultural, social, and political issues in a range of contexts, and
  • acquire competency in the Levantine colloquial dialect of Jerusalem.


As in any immersion program, the local setting serves as a living language laboratory to increase students’ linguistic ability and cultural literacy. To supplement classroom instruction in the Palestinian colloquial dialect, students have the opportunity to improve their speaking skills through additional scheduled one-on-one conversation practice with Palestinian students. As students of Hind al-Husseini College in East Jerusalem, CJS’s Speaking Partners will also function as cultural liaisons assisting students to navigate life in al-Quds and the city at large.

CJS’s Learn Arabic in Jerusalem program draws from a comprehensive network of scholars, activists, artists, and other cultural figures to offer a vibrant co-curricular agenda intended to support and augment formal language instruction. Frequent excursions to natural, archeological, and historical sites in Jerusalem and the surrounding areas, as well as cultural events, such as musical performances, film screenings, visits to local schools, refugee camps, and cultural centers, will greatly enhance students’ overall learning experience. Weekly guest lectures – conducted in both formal and colloquial Arabic – are also carefully curated to reinforce specific language skills being learned in the classroom.


Taken together with the course curriculum, the co-curricular programming and comprehensive social architecture of this program will enable students to improve their Modern Standard and to acquire Levantine Colloquial Arabic skills, while forging enriching and powerful personal connections in one of the most historically rich, culturally diverse, and politically complex sites on earth.


* Small or one-on-one classes can be arranged for interested students who have studied two or more years of MSA. Such students would be able to participate in the co-curricular program with the rest of the registered students.





Dr. Elizabeth Saylor


Elizabeth Saylor is currently Assistant Professor of Arabic at Middlebury College. She holds a Ph.D. in Arabic Literature from the University of California, Berkeley (2015), was a Fellow at the Center for Arabic Study Abroad (CASA) (Cairo, 2006-7), and earned a B.A. in Comparative Literature and Society from Columbia University (2005), where she studied Arabic, French, German, and Italian literatures. Her teaching and research interests include the Arabic language, Arab women’s literature, the Arabic novel, mahjar (émigré) literature, and Arab music, film, and cultural arts. Her current book project examines the work of a neglected pioneer of the Arabic novel, the Lebanese immigrant writer, journalist, and feminist, ‘Afīfa Karam (1883-1924). Dr. Saylor has taught Arabic language and literature at Columbia University, UC Berkeley, Bard College, and NC State. She co-directed the Critical Language Scholarships (CLS) program in Sidi Bou Said, Tunisia for two summers (2011-12) and was Director of the Al-Quds Bard Summer Language Intensive in Abu Dis, on the outskirts of Jerusalem (2016). Dr. Saylor serves on the Board of Trustees of the Kahlil Gibran Memorial Foundation and is also Secretary of the Board of the Washington Street Historical Society, which promotes the legacy of New York City’s “Little Syria” neighborhood, fostering awareness about Arab immigration and culture in America.