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Arabic 1 Beginners


Admission requirements

This course is only available for students in the BA International Studies programme.


The official language of 22 of Europe’s closest neighbors and a United Nations official language, Arabic is the 5th largest language in the world and is relevant to the studies of the Middle East, North Africa, and parts of Asia. In this course students will begin learning Modern Standard Arabic (MSA), the written variety common to the 22 Arab countries, and Egyptian Arabic, the most widely used variety of spoken Arabic.

Course objectives

This course is the first course in a series of three language acquisition courses within the International Studies program. The final objective of this course series is to obtain a lower intermediate level of proficiency in Arabic, aimed at communication with people in the region in simple situations and enabling students to follow current affairs in the region mostly in written media.
This course enables the student to achieve a good A1 of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR).

Skill CEFR Level
Reading A1
Writing A1
Listening A1
Speaking A1


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction


Three two-hour tutorials every week, with the exception of the midterm exam week. Preparation, attendance and active participation are obligatory for all tutorial sessions. This course is offered as part BA International Studies, which is a full-time program of study, and therefore work commitments, holidays, or overseas travel do not constitute valid reasons for absence. The lecturer should be informed in writing of any classes to be missed for a valid reason (i.e., due to unforeseen circumstances that are beyond the student’s control, such as documented illness, family bereavement, problems with residence permits, victim of crime, or railway delays). In case of a justified absence, it is up to the Lecturer to decide whether the missed class should be made up with an extra assignment. The maximum of justified absences during a semester is five. Being absent will result in a lowering of the participation grade by 50% for every absence after the first five (5) times. Absence without notification and approval could result in a grade deduction, work not being marked or a failing grade for the course.

Assessment method


  • The final grade of the course is established by determining the weighted average of the following:


Partial grade Weighing
Participation 10%
Projects 20%
Homework 15%
Quizzes 15%
Midterm Exam 20%
Final Exam 20%

End Grade

  • To successfully complete the course, please take note that the End Grade of the course is established by determining the weighted average of the in-class oral and listening performance, and written exams.

  • The End Grade needs to be a 6.0 or higher to pass the course.


If the End Grade is insufficient (lower than a 6.0), there is a possibility of retaking the full 40% of the exam material (Midterm Exam and Final Exam). No resit for the tutorial (quizzes, homework, or project) is possible.

The BA International Studies program does not allow students to resit passed (constituent) examination(s) within the language courses. Language acquisition is, primarily, accomplished through in-class acquisition activities and practical assignments which contribute to the (final) examination. The diverse structure of the language courses and characteristics of language acquisition therefore withhold the possibility to resit a passed examination.

Exam review and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

  • Younes, M., Huntley, E., Weatherspoon, M., Featherstone, J. (2019). Arabiyyat Al-Naas Fii MaSr (Part One): An Introductory Course in Arabic. Taylor & Francis.
    Leiden University students can purchase the book at a discounted price by using this link.


  • Enrolment for the workgroup through My Studymap is mandatory.

  • No enrolment needed for the language exams.



Passing this course is an additional requirement for a positive Study Recommendation at the end of the year.

This course uses an integrated communicative language learning approach. Therefore, active participation in the classroom activities is essential for successful learning outcomes.