News on our online Arabic program, studying Arabic in Egypt,
Arab culture & Islam


Our Students Have Fun Cooking While They Learn Arabic

Eid al-Adha

During the last week of October, Muslims all around the world will celebrate Eid al-Adha (the Greater Eid). Eid al-Adha is an important religious feast celebrated annually on the 10th day of the Islamic Month Dhu al Hijjah; it starts after the Hajj (the annual pilgrimage to Mecca by Muslims) and lasts for 4 days.  Islamic and Arab countries announce official holiday during those days.

Muslims and Arabs keep several traditions during this Islamic festival; they dress up with their finest clothes and go to mosques to pray the Eid prayer and visit their families and friends. Those Muslims who can afford, sacrifice an animal and distribute third of its meat on the poor, usually it is a cow or a goat or sheep depending on the region. Distributing meat amongst people, making contributions to the poor, charity work and families’ visits are prominent traditions of this festival.

In Egypt it is no different than any other Muslim country, however there is one special thing that is common in all Egyptian homes but not anywhere else which is the iconic meal of “Egyptian Fatta”. Egyptian Fatta is a ruling dish in Eid al-Adha, and consists of meat, rice, bread and red sauce.

You can uncover more about Islam, Arabic culture and traditions when you learn Arabic. Learning the Arabic language will open you up to the deep and rich world of Islam. You can spend a summer, semester, or full year abroad practicing your Arabic language skills and learning firsthand about Arab culture. At Arab Academy, our on-campus students had the chance to live this formidable Islamic festival while taking Arabic lessons. They learnt how to cook the Egyptian fatta on the hands of  one of Egypt’s many talented chefs.








Eid ul-Fitr

Eid ul-Fitr marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. Eid prayer is performed in congregation in open areas like fields, community centers, etc. or at mosques. Gifts are frequently given to children and immediate relatives; it is also common in some cultures for children to be given small sums of money by adult relatives or friends (3idiya). Children will wear their new clothes and go out to amusement parks, gardens or public courtyards. Family gatherings involve cooking and eating all kinds of Egyptian food, but the item most associated with Eid al-Fitr are Kahk, which are cookies filled with nuts and covered with powdered sugar.

On such occasions, students learning Arabic abroad (in Egypt) usually get to indulge into Arabic culture. They live those traditions themselves and have the chance to eat the yummy Kahk. For those who take Arabic lessons online, they will get to explore more the Arab communities and their people.


Duke Engage Program

Arab Academy learning system and methodology is now available in Indonesia!

Arab Academy has partnered with “PT BENTARA AGUNG SEJAHTERA” whereby the latter would start opening Arabic centers across Indonesia.  Those centers would follow the Arab Academy curriculum and teaching system.  Arab Academy will pay evaluation visits to the Center for quality assurance purposes.  Students graduating from those centers are entitled to an “Arab Academy” certificate.

Apply for a Gilman Scholarship and Use it to Study Arabic at Arab Academy

Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program
Spring 2011 Application Open – Deadline: October 5, 2010
The Gilman International Scholarship Program is pleased to announce the opening of the Spring 2011 online application for U.S. undergraduate students participating in Spring 2011 study abroad programs.  The Gilman Scholarship is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and is administered by the Institute of International Education.  The Gilman Scholarship Program is celebrating 10 years of helping nearly 6,500 Gilman Scholars study abroad and during the academic year 2010-2011, over 2,300 scholarships will be awarded!
In order to be eligible, students must be enrolled as an undergraduate student at a two or four-year U.S. Institution
·        United States citizen
·        Receiving a Federal Pell Grant at the time of application or during the term of study abroad
·        Participating in a study abroad program that is no less than 4 weeks and no more than an academic year
·        Receiving academic credit for their study abroad program
·        Study in any country not currently under a U.S. State Department Travel Warning or Cuba
Reminder: Academic Year Deadlines
October 5, 2010 – Spring 2011 Deadline
March 1, 2011 – Summer 2011 Deadline
March 1, 2011 – Fall 2011/Academic Year 2011-2012 Deadline
For more information about the Gilman Scholarship, application deadlines & timeline, and application process, please visit the Gilman website at, contact the Gilman Program at 713-621-6300 ext. 25 or email

Visiting Al Azhar Park in Cairo

The small class sizes and friendly atmosphere at Arab Academy naturally leads to friendships between our teachers and study abroad students. Often the two groups enjoy socializing outside of class time. Last Friday, a number of teachers and students decided to go to al Azhar Park together.


Al Azhar Park is one of Cairo's success stories. For 500 years, it was a garbage dump covering 74 acres in the heart of Islamic Cairo. Then the Aga Khan Trust for Culture decided to transform it into a beautiful green space that commands a panoramic view of the city of Cairo. During the building of the park, archaeologists found a wall built 800 years ago by Salah al-Din that they restored. In this city of 20 million, a park such as this provides a much-needed breathing space for citizens and visitors to enjoy the great outdoors.


The weather was lovely for the outing and the teachers and students enjoyed speaking Arabic, seeing the historical sites and learning and playing some traditional Egyptian games.


Speaking Arabic at Azhar Park  Having fun at Azhar Park


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Free Cultural Lectures at Arab Academy

At Arab Academy, we believe that learning the Arabic language is enhanced by knowledge of Arab and Egyptian culture. Therefore, Arab Academy offers free weekly lectures (in Arabic or English) to all study abroad students. These lectures are given by instructors and staff on cultural topics about which they have a lot of knowledge. Not only do these lectures increase the cultural knowledge of students, but they also help develop students' Arabic listening skills.


This past week Ustaza Mervat (الأستاذة مرفت) gave a lecture entitled "Journey of the Egyptian Woman throughout Modern History" (رحلة المرأة المصرية عبر التاريخ الحديث). In this lecture, she spoke about the status of women in Egypt in the late 19th century and the beginning of the women's movement in Egypt during the 1919 revolution and about the leader of the women's movement, Huda Shaarawi.


The students are able to practice their comprehension and composition skills by writing essays the next day about what they learned during the lecture.

Teacher reviewing essay student
wrote about lecture

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Lafarge (Middle East and Africa) Signs on with Arab Academy



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President Obama at the Airport


On my way back from Washington, I could not resist taking a picture with President Obama!  That was a nice end to a pretty exciting short trip to Washington, D.C.  I stopped in London for 3 nights to visit my daughter who lives there, then returned happily to Cairo to resume my exciting work at Arab Academy.

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Middle East Studies Association (MESA) Conference – Day 1


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