Arabic with AMIDEAST FAQ

How will I be placed in an Arabic course?

Students are placed into appropriate Modern Standard Arabic and Colloquial Arabic levels based on a written Arabic exam conducted prior to their departure and an in-coutnry Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI). Students will be told final Arabic level placement once they are in the host country. Because students come to AMIDEAST from a variety of Arabic backgrounds and institutional programs, the placement test and OPI results are used to put students in courses where they will meet the right balance of being challenged while also being able to succeed. This means that the Arabic class a student is placed in will not necessarily match with the courses they have taken previously.

Students should keep in mind that the material covered from level-to-level is cumulative. In other words, students will need to be familiar with all material in past levels in order to be placed in a higher level. We encourage students to take some time to review the chapters listed for the levels they have already covered. Is there material that your class skipped or did not focus on? Are there areas that you struggled with or have forgotten? Students should set aside some time to review any of these problem sections in past levels so they are prepared to move up to the next level.

Tips for Estimating the Right Level:
  • Carefully read the course descriptions on the website to determine your current level of Arabic.
  • If you are between levels or you need to be in a specific level to receive credit, you should spend time going over the chapters that need to be covered and review them.
  • If you are not using Al Kitaab (using another textbook such as Ahlan wa Sahlan) or using the third edition of Al Kitaab, which AMIDEAST does not utilize, you should keep in mind that it may take you some time adjust to using the new book. If possible, you should spend some time going over Al Kitaab vocabulary lists in the second edition books which AMIDEAST uses in all MSA courses and any other competencies you might have not covered. This is very important as the second and third editions are quite different and also differ from the materials in other Arabic textbooks.
  • It is your responsibility to know what level you are required to be in to receive credit from your university. AMIDEAST does not guarantee you will be placed in that level because placement depends on the placement test and the assessment of our Arabic faculty.

Will I need to bring textbooks with me?

Yes. All students participating in an Area & Arabic Language Studies Program or the Intensive Arabic programs must bring Arabic Language textbooks. It is your responsibility to estimate which MSA level you believe you will be placed into and bring the appropriate version of Al-Kitaab fi Ta’allum Al Arabiya (second edition). Al-Kitaab will not be available for purchase in your host country, so you must bring this with you.

Books are notably more expensive in your host country and they are often unavailable. It is recommended that all students bring the following Arabic dictionary (or another of your preference): Hans Wehr Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic edited by J.M. Cowan. While there are some Arabic dictionaries available for use in the AMIDEAST center library, it is recommended that you bring an Arabic dictionary that you are comfortable using. If you will be taking Arabic for the first time, you must purchase and bring Alif Baa and Al-Kitaab Book 1 (second edition) with you to your host country. If you are planning on taking Media Arabic on a semester program (ARAB 215, 216, 315, or 316) you must purchase and bring Media Arabic: A Coursebook for Reading Arabic News (Revised Edition, 2014) by Alaa Elgibali and Nevenka Korica with you. See the Required Texts learning content on the Student Portal for additional information regarding required Arabic textbooks.

Can I bring a different edition of Al Kitaab?

No. Remember that AMIDEAST uses only the second edition of Al Kitaab. Please DO NOT bring the third edition of Al Kitaab as it will not be able to be used for your Modern Standard Arabic course.

Why does AMIDEAST use the Second Edition of Al Kitaab and not the Third Edition?

After review of the Third Edition of Al Kitaab and consultation with our Arabic Language Faculty and our Arabic Language Consultant, AMIDEAST has decided to continue to use the Second Edition of this textbook. This decision was made because the Second Edition keeps Modern Standard Arabic and Colloquial Arabic separate in the text.

AMIDEAST teaches these two varieties of Arabic as separate classes and so it is helpful to use a text which also separates these two aspects of the Arabic language. When studying Arabic outside of the Middle East/North Africa (e.g. in the United States), using a text like the Third Edition of Al Kitaab is often quite useful as it exposes students to the many facets of Arabic in one course. However, when studying Arabic in an Arabic speaking environment, we believe that the textual approach of the Second Edition is most appropriate.

My home institution uses the Third Edition of Al Kitaab. How can I figure out what the equivalent would be in the Second Edition of Al Kitaab?

Below is a chart which AMIDEAST has compiled to give you a sense of the equivalencies between the two editions.


Al Kitaab Second Edition Chapters

Al Kitaab Third Edition Equivalent Chapters


Alif Ba’a + Book 1 Chapters 1-5

Alif Ba’a + Book 1 Chapters 1-5


Book 1 Chapters 6-13

Book 1 Chapters 6-13


Book 1 Chapters 14-20

Book 2 Chapters 1-6


Book 2 Chapters 1-5

Book 2 Chapters 7-10


Book 2 Chapters 6-10

No Equivalent – Book 3 3rd Edition is not yet published


Book 3 Chapters 1-5

No Equivalent – Book 3 3rd Edition is not yet published

How can I best prepare for my Arabic classes before going abroad?

One great resource for students at all Arabic levels is the YouTube channel from the Qasid Arabic Instiute. The Qasid Arabic Institute is one of the leading programs in the Middle East for Arabic language learning. AMIDEAST works closely with the Qasid Arabic Institute to develop our Arabic language program.

Students with no Arabic background should attempt to begin learning the alphabet prior to departing for their AMIDEAST program. Please visit the following LINK to begin learning.

Once on site and assigned to my Arabic course, can I change levels?

Maybe. You will need to speak with your teacher and AMIDEAST’s Arabic Language Coordinator to decide if it is appropriate for you to change levels. The ultimate decision regarding language level placement is determined by the Arabic Language Coordinator.