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Center for Arab and Middle Eastern Studies (CAMES)
Frequently Asked Questions - Summer Arabic Program

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible for the summer intensive Arabic language program?
All applicants to the the CAMES summer Arabic program are usually required to have completed at least one semester of college or university study or the equivalent before being accepted. The CAMES summer Arabic program takes applicants from a variety of educational and professional backgrounds. The majority of participants are university students and researchers, while some are professionals seeking to improve their Arabic language skills.

How competitive is the admissions process for the summer Arabic program ?
Each summer, CAMES receives far more applications than there are places in the summer Arabic program, which makes admission into the program highly competitive and obliges us to turn down many good students. Since the program entails a very heavy workload, we require that our applicants have a strong GPA, good recommendation letters from their Arabic teachers or other professors, a strong interest in Middle Eastern Studies and Arabic and a high level of commitment to the program and its workload. CAMES gives priority to academics, graduate students, undergraduate students and professionals who require Arabic for academic and professional purposes.

How do I determine the appropriate level of Arabic instruction for me?
On the application form, applicants are required to list the number of years or semesters they spent studying Arabic, the texts they used and the number of chapters they covered. The application also requires a writing sample in Arabic or a copy of the most recent Arabic exam taken by the applicant. The summer Arabic program begins with a mandatory placement exam for all students who have had any exposure to the Arabic language. This testing ensures that the student will be placed in the appropriate level of Arabic instruction.

Are applicants obliged to register for all of the above services provided by the CAMES Summer Arabic Program?
Applicants are not obliged to register for all of the above services. The tuition fees for the Modern Standard Arabic Program or the separate Colloquial Lebanese Arabic Program are mandatory for all participants. (Please note that the Modern Standard Arabic Program includes a colloquial Lebanese Arabic component.) The fees for health insurance are mandatory for all participants who do not have international medical coverage. Students who have international medical coverage may provide proof of this coverage and sign a medical insurance waiver available at CAMES. The fees for accommodation on AUB campus and the use of AUB's sports facilities are optional. The cost of the services that applicants do not choose will be deducted from their total fees.

Does the American University of Beirut offer any financial aid to students enrolled in the summer language program?
AUB does offer limited financial aid to students in the summer Arabic language program. Click here for more information.

Can the center help students with travel arrangements to Beirut?
Students must make their own travel arrangements to Beirut. The center can sometimes help by offering advice about travel plans. It is recommended that students book their plane tickets well in advance because of the high demand for air travel to Lebanon during the summer.

Can students obtain a visa for Lebanon at the airport upon arrival in Beirut?
Visas obtained at Beirut airport are usually valid for one month only. Students who obtain a one-month visa will be able to renew it at Lebanese General Security in Beirut. Students may also obtain a three-month tourist visa to Lebanon from the Lebanese embassy in their country of residence. All visitors to Lebanon need a passport valid for a period of not less than 6 months from the date of entering Lebanon. It is important to note that passport holders with an Israeli stamp in their passport will be denied entry to Lebanon.

What types of field trips are included in the summer language program?
Trips include cultural and social outings in the Beirut area and day trips on Saturdays to sites of historical interest outside the Beirut metropolitan area such as Byblos and Baalbek.

What kind of University privileges do students in the summer Arabic program have?
Students enrolled in the summer Arabic program will have access to the university's student facilities for the duration of the program: sports facilities (basketball, the beach); Internet access from the computer laboratories on campus; wireless internet access for laptop users; use of the common areas of the library (without borrowing rights).

What do students need to bring to the program?
The following items will be useful: a laptop computer, additional passport photos and a mobile phone. Students may also bring their own bed sheets and towels, although these are provided in the dorms.

Do students need to make any financial arrangements for personal expenses?
Students must budget for their own travel expenses to neighboring countries and around Lebanon, as well as their meals, books and weekend field trips, which are not included in the fees. Credit cards are widely accepted in many, but not all places in Lebanon. There are many international banks in Beirut and ATMs are widely available. Traveler's checks are difficult to cash in many areas, but US dollars are widely used in additional to Lebanese liras ($1 = 1500 liras). It is important to note that international telephone calls to and from Lebanon are expensive, since a call to the US may range between $0.80-$1:00. students can use local phone cards to dial international numbers or buy mobile phone chips from which to send international text messages and dial international numbers.

Is credit earned at AUB transferable to other universities?
Most American universities will accept credits earned at AUB. CAMES keeps records of all summer Arabic students and will provide official transcripts upon request. Students are should inquire at their own university for any special arrangements that need to be made beforehand in order to transfer credits earned at AUB.

Can prospective students contact former participants in the summer program?
Prospective students should contact CAMES if they would like to be put in touch with former participants in the summer Arabic program.

What texts does the summer Arabic program use?
The main textbooks used in the program are the Al-Kitaab fii Ta'allum al-'Arabiyya series by Brustad, al-Batal and al-Tonsi:

  • Alif Baa: Introduction to Arabic Letters and Sounds, 2nd ed.
  • Al-Kitaab fii Ta'allum al-'Arabiyya: A Textbook for Beginning Arabic: Part One, 3rd ed.
  • Al-Kitaab fii Ta'allum al-'Arabiyya: A Textbook for Arabic: Part Two, 3rd ed.
  • Al-Kitaab fii Ta'allum al-'Arabiyya: A Textbook for Arabic: Part Three, 3rd ed.

The books will be available in the AUB campus bookstore. Students may buy the books once their level of Arabic is determined after the placement exam.

Do students need a dictionary?
It is recommended that all students purchase an English-Arabic dictionary. CAMES recommends A Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic by Hans Wehr (Beirut, Librairie du Liban and London, MacDonald & Evans Ltd.). This dictionary is available in Beirut, but students are encouraged to bring it with them.

How do students apply to the summer Arabic program?
Prospective participants may apply to the summer program by completing the application available on the CAMES website or may ask CAMES to attach a copy by email.

What is the next step after acceptance into the program?
A non-refundable deposit of $500 is required upon acceptance into the program and will be deducted from the applicants' tuition fees. The full fees are due around one month before the start of the program. Participants who wish to pay in the USA should mail a check to the AUB New York office, quoting "American University of Beirut/ CAMES ". Participants who wish to pay in Lebanon may do so at the Cashier's Office in College Hall, AUB. Payments can be made by check, cash, or bank transfer. Credit card payments are not accepted.

Can students in the program do research or work part time during the program?
The summer Arabic program is highly intensive, so students will have very little time to engage in any other activities. Students have 6 hours of classroom study per day and should expect an additional 4 or 5 hours of homework.

Do students obtain a transcript at the end of the program?
After completing the summer Arabic program, every student may request an official transcript from the Registrar's office at AUB. The transcript indicates the course number, the level of Arabic studied and the grade achieved.

What is the grading system followed by the CAMES summer Arabic program?
CAMES follows AUB's grading system, in which grades are given in multiples of one out of a total of 100, for instance: 87, 88...

How can students obtain more information about the summer Arabic program?
Please e-mail the CAMES staff and we will try to answer all of your questions.


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