Sijal (سِجال): A spirited debate or intellectual contest in which both participants put forth equally compelling arguments.

Sijal is an institute of Arabic language and culture founded by scholars of Arab culture, history, and society. Through our intensive Arabic program, we offer outstanding instruction at all levels for students seeking to learn Arabic in Jordan. The Institute also acts as a hub of intellectual and cultural events, bringing together scholars, artists, and specialists across a broad range of expertise and disciplines, for seminars, workshops, exhibitions, and informal conversation.

The Institute is housed in a historic villa and gardens lying in the heart of the Rainbow Street cultural district of Amman. From this inspiring setting, we host students of the Arabic language, post-graduates working on the Middle East, researchers, artists, and the local intellectual community in Jordan and Palestine. 

Surrounded by some of the oldest buildings in Amman, our students learn ‘Arabic in context’, benefiting from first-rate language instruction in line with the latest pedagogy, as well as cultural and historical literacy. Immersion is reinforced by our location in a pedestrian neighborhood packed with local galleries, restaurants, and cafés, and with residents of all ages and walks of life. Courses are enriched by a full calendar of events that take place at the Institute, providing students with the unique opportunity to interact with creative figures from the Arab world and beyond.

Our curriculum was carefully designed and closely overseen by advisors with extensive experience in Arabic instruction at New York University, Harvard University, Dartmouth College, and the University of Texas at Austin. Qualified and approachable, our instructors craft personalized supervision in a friendly, open, and rigorous intellectual environment, ensuring students benefit from each class.
Students Speak
To date, we have hosted students from Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Columbia, NYU, Tufts, Georgetown, George Washington, Fordham, Swarthmore, Amherst, Vassar, Earlham, U. of Washington, U. of Houston, U. of Toronto, U. of Oslo, U. of Leiden, Oxford, Cambridge, SOAS and Sheffield among others. Below are some of the testimonials students have made about our program:

"After Sijal's intensive summer courses, I left with confidence in my conversational skills, a quicker reading pace, a deeper knowledge of and appreciation for the region, and the delight of having forged friendships and connections with an amazing cohort of students and staff alike. My only regret is that I could not have taken Sijal’s program sooner."

Kyle Gamble, 
PhD Student, University of Toronto

"The classes were inspiring and professionally taught, but I was most impressed with the atmosphere at the school itself. It proved to be very stimulating, and I was amazed by the enthusiasm and dedication of my fellow students. I recommend Sijal to anyone who is serious about learning Arabic."

Fieke J.M. Huisman
Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

"I came to Sijal without having formally studied Arabic before, but by the end of the two sessions I was able to communicate at an intermediate level...The faculty and staff at Sijal were professionally committed to each student’s academic progress, but they were also...available to talk about everything from Arabic grammar to Amman's music scene to regional history and politics, so I never felt like what we covered in class was isolated from the cultural and political context. Sijal's summer sessions were intense academically, but the fact that the faculty were so enthusiastic and knowledgeable made learning feel worthwhile and exciting. I loved how small Sijal was, especially in terms of class sizes.  The quiet back garden with its fountains and fruit trees was one of my favorite places in the city. All in all, I can’t recommend Sijal enough."

Elena Hodges
Yale University

"My arrival at Sijal was very welcoming, the staff obviously made efforts to make new students feel at ease with the institute, give them personal attention and make new students familiar with the area and Amman itself. Everybody was willing to help...on top of [this] the location of the institute is very beautiful and convenient."

Sophie Hollanders
Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands 
Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Sijal in the Media
Sijal was featured in Venture Magazine and The Jordan Times, available here and here
Our carefully crafted interiors have been celebrated by the designers at Amman-based TrenDesign Magazine. You can read that piece here. For more appreciation by the architects at Hers Khazeen, click here