—– Forwarded Message —–
From: accueil
Sent: Monday, 13 May 2013, 13:51
Subject: RE: Arabic Language Courses?

Salam Alaykom,

For arabic courses when you will make inscription at your arrival on september 9th you will have a test to improve you level. Then belong your level you will be on first level or second level.
For inscription you go on website, you print an application form you print it .
The fees are 3500€ for year (courses, meals and room) and 50€ for application form.

See you soon


بخصوص: TAFL Courses starting in September?

—– Forwarded Message —–
Sent: Thursday, 7 March 2013, 8:07
Subject: بخصوص: TAFL Courses starting in September?

Many thanks for your interest in the tafl center

our courses divided as follows:

one year course
from sep till may
16 hours per week
four days a week
cost 3400$

one semester
from sep till December
16 hours per week
4 days a week
cost 1700$

second semester
from January till may
16 hours per week
4 days a week

Looking forward to meeting you

TAFL Center
Student Events Organizer

University of Alexandria

I decided to go to Alexandria for my year abroad: most of my fellow students decided to go to Damascus for obvious reasons. The historical significance of the city, proximity to fellow Levantine countries like Jordan and Lebanon. But I decided to go to Alex; why? Alexandria is Egypt’s most populous city (behind the metropolis that is Cairo). It is located next to the Mediterranean Sea, which was a big benefit for me, as I love living near sea. Alexandria is a beautiful city, a city which I love and admire.

My time at Alexandria University was brilliant; all of the teachers, from Modern Standard Arabic to Translation to Literature were excellent. If you had any query or suggestion, they were more than happy to provide detailed answers.

My teachers at Alexandria University and SOAS urged me to practise Egyptian Colloquial Arabic every day; this can only be done by making several Egyptian friends and immersing yourself in the culture; for me that was playing backgammon in poor districts of Alexandria with Egyptian friends, drinking mint tea, smoking cigarettes and listening to Umm Kulthum. Watching Egyptian movies every day is a great help too. My year abroad in Alexandria is the main reason why I enjoyed and succeeded in Arabic.


Journey to the Arabic language

I have always been fascinated by languages; growing up in a bi-lingual background, I have always seen my background as an advantage, speaking another language and understanding another culture.

So why did I choose Arabic? Many reasons come to mind; the ability to understand the Qur’an, speak a language which is spoken in several countries, my interest in learning a classical language, with a rich history of culture and art.

Arabic is not an easy language; its rich vocabulary is astounding, but also difficult to learn at an early stage. Its grammar and its many idiosyncracies is difficult to comprehend. However, once you get immersed in the language, it is without doubt a fascinating language.

To truly understand the language, one has to master both the Classical, modern and colloquial. Only by extensive reading of both classical and modern texts and speaking a colloquial dialect of Arabic can one truly understand the beauty of Arabic; extensive practise and a willingness to learn are key to learning and appreciating this great language.


Art of the Pen


Where can I learn Islamic calligraphy?

There are few places left in the Muslim world where Islamic calligraphy can be learnt following the traditional master – apprenticeship method. As the last great empire was the Ottoman one, the chain of learning calligraphy in Istanbul , Turkey has never been broken and remains the center of studying the art today. All over the city there are classes being held, some take place at universities, others at waqfs or madrasahs. However, there are schools in Alexandria and Cairo , Egypt as well as university courses in Damascus , Syria and Amman , Jordan . In Morocco it is possible to study the Maghribi script. There were many great calligraphers in Iraq but since the war I am not sure what the situation regarding studying the art is there.

In Istanbul it is possible to study the art at Caferaga Medresesi which is a lovely restored madrasah built by the famous architect Sinan next to the Aya Sofya in Sultanahmet. As well as calligraphy, there are other art workshops going on. The courtyard is a café/ restaurant and is open to tourists:

Caferaga Medresesi(Aya Sofya Müzesi yani)Caferiye Sok. Sogukkuyu Çikmazi No:1 Sultanahmet Istanbul
Phone: (212) 513 36 01-02/ 528 00 89
e-mail: caferagamedrese at…_id_E_3257

For more information about other places in Istanbul to study calligraphy, a good point of contact and resource centre is IRCICA:

How many years does it take to become a calligrapher?

On average, it takes 5 years intensive training and that is with constant studying. For most people, it takes longer as they live abroad and need to study via correspondence or have other jobs as well as families to support. At the end of the training, the calligraphy master awards the student the ijazah or icazetname, a certificate enabling the student to sign his/her own works and to take on students of his/her own. However, the certificate really marks the beginning of a calligrapher’s career and it takes many more years if not a lifetime to master the art.

For more information and a personal insight in training to become a calligrapher, please visit:

Is it easy to live in Istanbul and is it necessary to learn Turkish?

Istanbul is a great city to live in and is affordable in comparison to most European countries. Having said that it is not cheap especially in comparison to Syria or Egypt. If you plan to come and study for a few years, you will need to come well funded. Alternatively, a good way to earn money while studying here is to teach English especially if you are qualified. Some of the calligraphy masters speak Arabic, hardly any speak English. A lot of the technical vocabulary surrounding the art and the advice the master gives you will be in Turkish so yes it is advisable to learn the language.

Is it possible to study Islamic calligraphy in Europe?

It is possible to find, now and again, short courses in the UK. It is best to check out the websites and calendars of places such as the British Museum, Victoria & Albert Museum and The Prince’s School of Traditional Arts in London.

© 2010-2011 Soraya Syed
(email: soraya at