First Week in Tunis

I’m back in Sfax for the weekend after spending my first week in Tunis studying at the Bourghuiba Institute. For the next two and a half months I’ll be studying Arabic there intensively, 5 hours a day/5 times a week, then jetting back to Sfax to teach a bit and see my husband.

So, first impressions. Tunis is a beautiful city with the tree-lined streets and old colonial buildings. It’s also very diverting and culturally diverse. A block away from my school is a Russian Cultural Center and just across the street from that is the National Art of Marionette Center. And finally, Tunis has some of the usual colorful characters to be found in a big city. There is, for example, an old man who has lost both legs that sits near a large mosque next to my metro stop. He has dozens of pigeons wearing bright ribbons and flowers that fly to him when he calls. It’s enchanting to watch.

The Bourghuiba Institute has really surpassed my expectations. It’s professional and well-known, bubbling with international students, and the teachers are qualified and experienced in teaching non-native speakers. Five hours a day of Arabic is a lot, and at times exhausting, but it is well-worth it as my learning curve has sky-rocketed. The day is divided in two, with the first 2.5 hours dedicated to communication and listening, then we switch teachers and study grammar and writing. My classmates hail from Korea, Italy, Japan, and Brazil. We are a diverse group with very different backgrounds in Arabic, but we’ve all made it to the 3rd level “1st year advanced”. Hearing the class next to me, presumably first level, repeat the alphabet every morning makes me very grateful for taking care of the basics in Sfax.

So, first week is a success! I’ve fallen in love with both the capital and the language. I am looking forward to discovering Tunis and taking you there with me.

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6 Responses to First Week in Tunis

  1. Bev Mullett says:

    What a beautiful picture Britt…those cobblestone streets remind me of Rome!!! Love you…Mom

  2. Abdullah says:

    Hi, very glad to read your article. I’m bit more interested about your institute. it’s in sfax right? Would you tell me bit more details about the course and living there please. Like, how long the course is and the expenses living and tuition fees. Because I planning to study there. Thank’s .

    • Brittany says:

      Hi Abdullah,

      If I remember correctly the course is around 800 dinars for 300 hours (two and a half months). It is intensive so you study for 5 hours a day 5 days a week. There are a lot of different options for renting but I’d say plan to spend 400 dinars a month minimum for rent.

      Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

      • Abdullah says:

        Hi Brittany,
        Thank’s a lot for your information. if you do not mind, i have some more questions. After 300 hours would you able to speak and understand Arabic? Also how i can get contact with the school? Do they help to get accommodation? Thank’s once again.

  3. Brittany says:

    There contact information is listed on their website, as well as semester dates: http://www.iblv.rnu.tn/

    If you are starting at level 0 then I believe you’ll start by learning the Arabic alphabet. Classes are split with the first half dedicated to conversation/listening activities and the second half dedicated to reading/writing activities. You will definitely make a lot of progress but you have to be realistic about learning a language at the same time! The more you put into it, the more you’ll get out of it.

    As for housing, you’ll have to ask the school. A lot of students I met booked a week in a hostel while they looked for housing and many ended up sharing a house together.

  4. Pingback: First Week in Tunis | tunisiatweets

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