A fundamental question for many people before choosing the right course is whether you should pursue a full language degree over an immersion study abroad course. For languages like Arabic the study abroad option is encouraged in terms of not only being able to grasp language at a quicker pace but also build a better understanding of the culture first hand. Whether you’re a student, professional with business interest in the region or looking for opportunities for a job change, this guide will help you decide the best place to learn Arabic abroad.


best cities to study arabic language in the middle east

Egypt – Cairo

egypt study arabic blog

[Source: The University of Texas at Austin – College Liberal Arts]


Egypt contains one of the most well-known historic wonders of the world, the legends of the Pyramids of Giza. It cradles one of the most unique and intriguing civilisations of the well know historic. The chance to learn Arabic in Egypt is also a chance to learn more about ancient civilisation and its influence today.

Why Cairo, Egypt?

Cairo city is already a popular location for foreigners to study Arabic. With over 20 million locals and mixture of old and new from mosques, palaces centuries years old and growing innovative city. Cairo attracts foreigners from students, young professionals, businessmen and government personnel choosing Egypt as their home from a few weeks to years to learn and study Arabic and culture.

Language tips

  • For students, take a summer course in Cairo as an extra circular or study abroad adventure
  • For professionals spend a few weeks learning Arabic and unique culture through an intensive immersion course that can kick start your language proficiency. 

Amman, Jordan


Jordan used to be hidden gem being overshadowed by other well-known middle eastern countries among tourists, expats and business foreigners. Over the years, Amman itself has attracted an increasing number of foreigners choosing to study, live and explore the wonders in and around the city. The stand out of Amman has been said to be the wonderful Jordanian people that are welcoming, kind and sincere hosts, happy to teach and share their culture. The city is dynamic with growing number of businesses yet keeps traditional culture among the locals and beautiful landscape which makes it perfect escape to explore.

[Fun fact: Jordan was popularized when Petra was chosen as one of the new seven wonders of the world in 2007.]

Why Amman, Jordan

Amman is an excellent city for professionals seeking job opportunities especially in the NGO industry. Many international organisations call Amman home and are always looking for passionate professionals willing to experience a new culture.

Besides the job opportunities and unique culture, the Levantine dialect is the most useful dialects to learn at it is very close to Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) and the most widely understood in most of alongside Egyptian Arabic.

Language Program tips

Learning Arabic in Jordan while working or volunteering for Non-profit organisation is a popular choice for many students, young professionals and NGO workers and there are many opportunities available.

Meknès, Morocco

morocco study arabic blog

[source: journeybeyondtravel.com]


Morocco has long history of Spanish and French colonial rules which has left a resounding presence today across the nation among Morocco’s culture, traditions and even languages spoken.

While many Moroccans have a good understanding of French, the language is used a lot in business world. The city itself is called “Versailles of Morocco”, embracing the blend of cultures of Morocco makes Meknès a different and unique experience for learning Arabic.

Why, Meknès Morocco

Many language programs in Meknès combine Arabic language study with international relations, or work experience with local NGOs providing extra incentive to study Arabic in Morocco. The local Arabic dialect known as darija draws influence from French, Spanish and multiple Berber dialects provides an extra challenge as it at first may not be recognisable for those used to Modern Standard Arabic. For professionals, students looking for a multicultural experience in the Middle East, Morocco is the ideal spot where professionals can study both French, Arabic and even Spanish.

The study experience in Meknès is ideal for those looking for a calmer study abroad experience for the busy and well known hub of Marrakesh but also well positioned to take an excursion to learn and explore other part of Morocco such as Casablanca, Fez and Marrakesh.

Language Program tips

  • There are many summer immersion programs offered in Meknès that combine language study with work experience.

Muscat, Oman

oman study arabic blog

[Source: Mutrah Corniche – lonelyplanet.com]


Like Morocco, Muscat, Oman is a modern city with a mix of cultures. The mix of grandeur mosques, meters away from rustic domes and minarets while the marina is lined with yachts moored next to old fishing boats. Omanis have managed stylishly to preserve their cultural identity, traditions and honour, as well as their extraordinary reputation for hospitality. The most iconic attractions are the old white buildings the lines the sea by the entrance of Mutrah Soug.

Why Muscat, Oman

The likes of Vanity Fair has referred to Oman as “the Middle East’s most welcoming absolute monarchy”. The people are said to be welcoming to foreigners and sincerely interested in conversations with foreigners. The prevalent dialect in Oman is Gulf Arabic known as khaleeji or lahja however almost everybody speaks Modern Standard Arabic which most language students choose to learn first.

Language Program tips

  • Private language institutes are popular among study abroad students and professionals opting for the intensive immersion courses.
  • Small group sessions have also been recommended by past study abroad students and professionals who studied with local language partners noting that the collaboration and experience allowed them to gain a real understanding of Omani family life and culture. 

Abu Dhabi, United Arabic Emirates

abu dhabi study arabic blog

[source: visitabudhabi.ae]


A small but mighty and wealthy country in the heart of the Middle East, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a popular destination for travellers from around the world, the capital city Abu Dhabi among the top favourite cities in the Middle East. The seven states that comprise the UAE embrace western cultural influences in architecture and lifestyle, while still maintaining a sense of its cultural heritage and religious influences. It's a great spot to experience the Middle East with some comforts of home.

Why Abu Dhabi, UAE

Due to the high number of expats in the UAE, English, Farsi, Urdu, Bengali, Hindi, and other languages are also common.

English especially is widely spoken and support with signs, menus, transport using English translation which means should be easy. It is however good business sense to learn Arabic which is what many expats, professionals and business companies invest in to compete in the business market in the Middle East. You’ll even find that native Arabic speakers join language school courses as well to improve their writing and speaking skills along with foreign Arabic language learners to take advantage of the growing demand for Arabic language proficiency in the government and business.

If you're considering learning Arabic, Abu Dhabi is a popular candidate. With so many expats in the UAE Abu Dhabi attract a fair amount of them with their high-quality universities and language institutes, and thriving job and business market.

Language Schools

  • The popularity of Abu Dhabi means there are many courses available to learn Arabic either as intensive group or private lesson course or bundled with work placement program to kick start your career. Make sure you take the time to ask questions to potential private schools and universities about the course structure before committing to it.

Dubai, United Arabic Emirates

dubai study arabic blog

[source: linkedin]


Dubai like Abu Dhabi, is of growing importance in the Middle East in international affairs with many foreigners heading over for key careers in various fields from journalism to finance. Many UAE expats take an interest in learning Arabic after being exposed to UAE’s culture.

The quality of life and infrastructure that has been a major factor vast number of expatriates living and working there. Both Abu Dhabi and Dubai are flourishing multicultural societies with burgeoning art districts, and popular destination for sports particularly football and cricket.

It should be noted that due to international interest in Dubai many generations Emirates speak English more widely where it is reported Arabic is on the grips of becoming second or third language.

For professionals and students this may or may not be an issue in terms of being able to practice and immerse yourself in Arabic language culture. Rather it should make the transition to another country or experience another culture a bit easier.

The demand from native Arabic speakers and foreigners has led to new programs by private language schools and universities focused on key industries to help business minded individuals improve their writing, listening and speaking skills in Arabic.

Why Dubai, UAE

The advancement in technology, business and global presence has created many opportunities for professionals and young people to pave a career in their chosen industry. The continued expat presence in Dubai has led to growing respect for Emirate culture and heritage that continues to drive interest to the UAE.

Language School tips

The demand for Arabic has led to niche language courses dedicated to help people with their specific goals. It may be worth looking at specialised languages courses such as medical, media and business Arabic that can help become familiar with specific terminology in your field.

Which city is the best? 

These are some key cities we have identified from our research and talking to past students and teachers. Once you have a good idea of the city, you can start looking around for different study options available. Just make sure to consider your career goals, cost of living and type of teaching that suits you best.

For business and government officials who want to learn Arabic and have limited time, Berlitz Jordan recommends private classes or immersion programs.

For students, graduates and NGO workers semi-private and group courses may be the way to go to enhance your learning with other language learners and build your network for future endeavours.