Studying Arabic in Sana'a
Replies: 49 - Last Post: May 22, 2013 5:35 PM Last Post By: npr7
Feb 1, 2013 12:17 PM
30Institutes issuing visas through travel agencies, my dear, no one can get a visa through any Yemeni Embassy.Only Japanese citizens can get a visa through the Yemeni Embassy in Tokyo.Any nationality
Others can only get through a local agency. The tourist must rent a car from the agency which issued the visa.
Feb 1, 2013 10:22 PM
31Oh, how funny. YCMES does get the visas themselves. and many travellers report getting visas, with no supporting document in Djibouti. Also many travellers on this site (and others) have reported using a travel agent for a "short" tour, but then travelling on their own. But keep trying to sell your services. I wish you luck.
Feb 2, 2013 1:37 AM
32I studied with YIAL online before I arrived in Yemen and found my tutor, as well as the admin staff to be very professional. The only thing I didn't like was that the program was TOO structured, as in they were teaching me formal Arabic from that infamous 'Al-Kitaab' book which bored me and I wanted to be more conversational. I think that would be okay for most people, especially if you are in-country and can be practicing in daily life.
As for security, it is a volatile country and has been for years so it seems pointless to assess now, when you would be arriving towards the end of the year. If there is a way to secure a spot in a program with minimal money down, and for a shorter period of time, do it. Then extend as the situation allows.
I feel completely safe walking through the streets of Sana'a or Aden. There are a lot of protests, especially in Aden, but they are political and not geared towards foreigners. That being said, I know in the back of mind that it just takes being in the wrong place at the wrong time to be kidnapped. And that is a chance you'll take by being here.
Feb 4, 2013 2:53 PM
33I am re-checking this thread, sadly nobody has reacted on my post with questions except for the Yemeni person who said it was good information (what information?) I am asking questions not providing information, ha ha.
This is what I wrote, to get an idea where one should and can go THESE days in Sana'ah:
Hopefully people here can give some actual information and tell me which spots are safe, which need care, and the same goes for schools.
Which spots are GOOD and SAFE for westerners right now if I choose from these:
Suq al Milh
Sana'a al Kadeema
Bab al Saila
Bab al Yemen
Hadda street (maybe no-go)
Hadda shopping mall district (Shumaila)
Sabaeen park and big mosque
These are the popular places for tourists and expats , can you do recommendations where it's safe to remain for a longer time, and which places must be left (probbaly those like Hadda and Tahrir next to the big roads??)
And about schools, which schools are located in a safe compound or area, if I must choose from:
Thank you !
Feb 24, 2013 5:41 PM
34This stuff about YCMES is a bit of a worry.
I'm visiting Sanaa in June-July 2013 to study Arabic. I'd planned to attend Yemen Institute for Arabic Language (YIAL) but then decided that YCMES might be a better option because I could also undertake a course on Yemeni politics taught by Robert Burrowes.
If YCMES doesn't take security seriously, though, I will reconsider.
In my correspondence with YIAL, they'd been frank about security risks and had even suggested online learning until the situation improves. That inspires a little more confidence.
I'm not exactly sure about the location of YIAL: the address on its website is not enough to pin it down on google earth.
May 5, 2013 4:00 PM
May 5, 2013 4:42 PM
36YCMES costs a fair bit more than CALES. You need to read the fine print.
- 4 hours/day for 1 month at CALES in a small group (2-3) lesson is $520 (in a big group of 4-8 it's $370). 5 weeks of 4 hours/day at YCMES in a group is $700.
- A single room at CALES is $160/month. A single room at YCMES is $287/month
Already that's $680 vs. $987 for a month. I could go on-and-on about how YCMES charges more from visas to internet to airport pick-ups to whatever. While neither school is particularly better than the other, YCMES is certainly A LOT more expensive.
May 5, 2013 7:00 PM
I was actually hoping you would reply to this thread. I'm a fan of your blog, and you do seem to know your stuff, especially a lot about Yemen.
It looked to me that the package deal at YCMES ( http://www.ycmes.org/index.php/learn-arabic/special-summer-progammes ) was about $3295 for the two months, which includes roundtrip airfare and accommodation. So it didn't look too bad at first. I was also somewhat impressed with the YCMES credentials (board members include people from Harvard and Princeton, former Prime Minister of Yemen; school is actually accredited - not that I need credits, but it's nice to know).
Anyway, like I said, you honestly seem to have a solid grasp on this stuff, so I value your input. And anyone else's. I'm dead set on going to Yemen (probably a poor choice of words), and trying out Arabic there for a couple of months (if I like it, I'll stay).
If you feel comfortable PMing me, @fluffy_bunny, please feel free to do so at purespammail @ yahoo.com . I'm really interested in what you have to say. Or we can keep the discussion to this thread.
May 5, 2013 8:18 PM
38The board of directors for YCMES is just a list of names Sabri has put together. The board members make no decisions or have any input in YCMES. They do not contribute financially. Only a couple have visited the facility. Most of the schools no longer support study there (although they don't for Yemen in general)
YCMES claims to be accredited, but it's not really. Go ahead and google something like Universities colleges yemen. A list of 10 or so public universities and 12 or so private universities will pop up. But no YCMES. But the University of Science and Technology, which CALES is affiliated, IS.
Furthermore, YCMES has been advertising guest speakers for years, but the last one they had was 2010. I don't know if the current advertised lecturers will actually arrive.
The president of YCMES is a used car salesman and will say anything to make a buck. I can't vouch for CALES, but YCMES has certainly gone downhill since its heyday a decade ago. They promise day-trips, yet last summer (2012) he did not organize a single day-trip for students or interns. And they haven't included breakfast in years.
But let's do some more math. I don't know where you're coming from, but let's say New York. A return flight to Sana'a is $1,200 to $1,500. Again in the fine print is, if YCMES doesn't have a group for you (which they likely won't as there are only a handful there at any time), they will give you 2 hours of private instead of 4 hours of group. Private 2hours/day for 2 months at CALES is $770. 2 months of single accommodation is $320 (YCMES has a shared room). That's $2,200-$2,500 for a CALES "summer programme". That make YCMES, nearly $1,000 more expensive that CALES.
May 5, 2013 10:06 PM
May 9, 2013 12:04 PM
40I will be travelling to Yemen this summer (from June to August) and I would like to know which school you would recommend? I can understand that YCMES is no-go but what about the others that # 28 pointed out - I would like to improve my conversation and reading skills:
I dont think Im going to take any classes during Ramadan, but I thought it might be a good idea to do some volunteer work - maybe at an orphanage? I know its off topic - but does anyone know where I could volunteer or who I should contact?
May 9, 2013 1:13 PM
May 9, 2013 1:33 PM
May 9, 2013 1:54 PM
May 11, 2013 7:09 AM
(4 star Hotel)
From US$143.96 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$118.15 per night
(4 star Hotel)
From US$159.99 per night