Emirati Arabic in Al Ain

"We slept and breathed Arabic. I even dreamed in Arabic."

Building on the students' prior knowledge of Modern Standard Arabic, this course introduces the students to the unique aspects that make the Emirati dialect so lively and distinctive. Location Taught in Al Ain, the course serves as a gateway to accessing intimate aspects of life, culture, and heritage of the Gulf region.


I was able to get a taste of that complex network of interrelated life stories from every corner in the arab world that came together in this single space — UAE.

Gabriel Torres, Class of 2017

Arabic-only Environment

An essential part of this course is the Arabic-only environment in which students operate for the duration of the course. Students sign an education contract before leaving for Al Ain agreeing to speak only Emirati dialect from the time they leave Abu Dhabi to the time they return.


The Emirati Dialect J-Term course is academically centered around the textbook “Ramsah,” written by NYUAD professor Nasser Isleem. The intermediate course is designed to provide students with the strongest possible foundation in Emirati dialect, with the focus of the course being conversational. Students concentrate on listening and speaking, which reflects the oral nature of dialect in general.


Students are presented with a large variety of assessments, including quizzes, skits, interviews, daily oral homework, film analysis, a final oral exam, and extra credit for reading an Emirati novel. The Emirati culture is a large component of these assessments, and students are encouraged to engage with the community in many of their oral and written assignments.