3 Best Sites for Online Arabic Tutors and Classes - Live Fluent

3 Best Sites for Online Arabic Tutors and Classes

Arabic is a notoriously difficult language for native English speakers to master. If you're serious about learning the language, be prepared for a long haul. I'm not going to lie and tell you otherwise. 

Even though the language ranks in the most difficult category of foreign languages for native English speakers to learn (according to the FSI), students of Arabic have more resources at their fingertips today than ever before. 

In the past if you wanted to learn Arabic you were limited to where you lived, and what resources you could scrounge up at your local library or university.  

Now that's simply not the case. The internet has opened the floodgates to opportunistic learners. Now you can find and connect with Arabic teachers and tutors from around the world, while staying in the comfort of your own home. 

In this article we look at 3 of the best sites you can use to take online Arabic classes with a teacher or tutor. 

Enjoy!

What are online Arabic classes?

Online Arabic classes are typically one-on-one sessions between a student and teacher/tutor through an online video chat. Essentially the teacher and student do everything they would do in an in-person tutoring session, the only difference being that it's online. 

An example of an online Arabic class with an advanced student

Why should you take online classes?

It's ridiculously convenient 

The beauty of taking online Arabic lessons is their sheer convenience. You don't have to spend time traveling to your tutor, or having your tutor travel to you. You could literally throw on a shirt and have an impromptu class in your bedroom if you wanted. 

This also makes scheduling a lot easier. With multiple tutors to choose from, each with their own schedule, it's not that difficult to accommodate even the strictest of busy schedules. 

They're more affordable than in-person tutors

For a local tutor or teacher you're looking at paying at least $30 per hour, though you might get lucky and find an international college student who will tutor for cheaper.

The price for online Arabic teachers can vary greatly but it's very common to find a highly experiences and credentialed teacher for $15 per hour (sometimes even less).  

So what are the best sites for learning Arabic?

Without further adieu, let's take a look at some of the premier online options for Arabic students!

Price

Median price is $9

Trial

None

Teacher Quality

Low-High

Dialects

Quranic, Egyptian, Levantine, Modern Standard

Preply

Pros

  • Best selection of teachers
  • Different price points
  • Good for Classical (Quranic) Arabic. 

Cons

  • Site not specific to learning foreign languages
  • Some dialects aren't featured

What makes Preply different?

Preply is a site for finding tutors for almost any subject (not just foreign languages). More than just Arabic you can use the site for learning other subjects centered around math, science, and technology. 

Pros

Many Arabic teachers to choose from

In terms of numbers, Preply has the largest selection of teachers. There are over 200 on the site. 

Great option for Quranic Arabic

If you're looking to learn Quranic (aka classical) Arabic then Preply is probably your site. Many teachers on Preply specialize in Quranic Arabic and teach Tajweed and Quran memorization. 

Cons

Outside of Quranic and Egyptian Arabic there isn't a lot of variety. 

Arabic dialects vary widely and often aren't mutually intelligible. Thus which teacher is right for you will largely be determined by the dialect you're learning. Egyptian Arabic, because of its proliferation,  is the most common dialect to be learned. 

The majority of the Arabic teachers on Preply teach Egyptain and or Quranic Arabic. There are some teachers of other dialects (most notably Levantine), but not many.

Also Preply makes no distinction between Arabic dialects when listing its teachers. If you use the site be sure to double check with the teacher to make sure they teach the dialect you're learning.  

Not solely a language learning site

Other sites offering online language lessons have features that aid in language learning. As you'll see in a minute Italki has a lot of free community features, and Verbling features a great video lesson interface. 

You won't find any of that on Preply. With this site you get the video lessons and nothing more. 

No free trial

Preply offers no free or discounted trial lessons.

Price

Median price is $9

Trial

3 trail lessons at a discounted rate

Teacher Quality

Low-High

Dialects

Egyptian, Gulf, Levantine, Modern Standard, Maghrebi, 

Italki

Pros

  • Large selection of Arabic teachers
  • Many dialects
  • Great language learning community

Cons

  • Class quality can vary between teachers

*Use this link to purchase a minimum of $10 (US) of Italki credits and receive an extra $10 free! (Bonus added after completion of 1st lesson)

You can check out a more detailed review of Italki here. 

What makes Italki different?

It's the biggest site overing online classes

Even though it's second to Preply in terms of how many Arabic teachers it has, Italki is the largest site overall for learning foreign languages. There are 40 languages taught on the site.

At the time of this article Italki has well over 100 Arabic teachers on the site, making it numerically smaller than Preply but still a notable option. 

It offers lessons with professional teachers AND informal tutors

One unique thing about Italki is that it makes a distinction between community tutors and professional teachers. Other sites don't do this. 

Differences between teachers and tutors on Italki

 Typically a professional teacher has teaching experience and some sort of verified degree or certification. A community tutor doesn't have to have anything except a high level in the language. 

Professional teachers are usually more expensive but they will provide all of the guidance and learning materials for your lessons. All you have to do is show up to their lessons and trust their method. 

A community tutor is cheaper but doesn't usually provide learning materials or direction for the lesson. When you use a tutor it's on you to decide what to practice. 

I've found that tutors are great for speaking practice and independent learners. 

 An intro video for one of Italki's community tutors

Pros

Wide selection of dialects

While the number of teachers for specific dialects can vary greatly, Italki offers tutors for Egyptian, Gulf, Levantine, Modern Standard, and Maghrebi Arabic.  The site also lists teachers under each dialect so it's easy to tell who teaches what. 

Community features (free)

You have to pay for a lesson with a teacher or tutor on Italki, but there are also a number of free features available on the site that you can use to help you learn Arabic.

Some of these are: a virtual notebook where you can write in Arabic and be corrected by native speakers, a language exchange where you can help Arabic speakers with their English while they help you with their native language, public discussion forums, and an Arabic learning blog. 

Cons​

Quality differs from teacher to teacher

The methods and quality of teachers and tutors varies on Italki. The site features a review system where past students rate their experience with their teachers. 

Still it's important to note that there will be a large difference in between cheaper community teachers and more costly professional teachers. 

No free trial

Italki won't offer you any free lessons with its tutors and teachers, but upon making a free account you will be given 3 trial lessons. Each trail lesson will allow you to take a 30 minute lesson with a teacher at a discounted rate. 

Teachers choose whether or not they want to accept trial lessons. They also choose how much the discount will be. The size of the discount varies between teachers, but it's no uncommon to see trial lessons for 90% off a teacher's regular price. 

*Use this link to purchase a minimum of $10 (US) of Italki credits and receive an extra $10 free! (Bonus added after completion of 1st lesson)

Price

Median price is $12

Trial

1 free 30 minute class

Teacher Quality

Medium-High

Dialects

Egyptian, Levantine, Modern Standard, Maghrebi, Gulf

Verbling

Pros

  • Offers individual & group classes 
  • Free trial lesson
  • Offers class packages
  • Professional teachers

Cons

  • Higher quality means higher price
  • Small pool of teahers

You can check out a more detailed review of Verbling here.

What makes Verbling different?

Verbling is similar to Italki. Verbling doesn't have free features like Italki does, but it does have a great in-site interface for online lessons. 

Pros

Professional Teachers

Verbling requires that all teachers have teaching experience before they can teach on their site. This means that overall Verbling's quality of teachers is a bit higher than other sites. 

Free trial lesson

Verbling is one of the few sites that allows you to take a trail lesson with a teacher for free. After setting up a free account you will be able to take one free 30 minute lesson with a Verbling teacher. 

Technology​

Verbling is the only site offering online classes which uses its on in-site system for video lessons. Other sites leave the lessons to be carried out on Skype or Google Hangouts

Verbling's video interface and workspace is more than just a flashy feature. Both give you the ability to file share files, text chat, the ability to type using non-English characters, and a virtual flash card maker. 

The features go a long way toward making the lesson experience more productive and efficient. 

A tour of Verbling's exceptional user interface


Course packages

Verbling also allows you the option of buying lessons in bulk through course packages called "classes".

Usually a class is made of several lessons with a teacher, all of which work together to cover a specific topic such as survival phrases, beginner modules, or even Quran recitation and tajweed.  

Verbling's packages offers a unique way to purchases Japanese classes online

Cons​

Smaller Selection

Selection is where Verbling falls short. At the time of this article there are less than 30 Arabic teachers on the site. There are some different dialects available but most offer Egyptian Arabic.

Higher prices​

Teachers on Verbling usually cost more than on other sites, mainly because they tend to be more professional and experienced. That being said you can still expect to find a good teacher for $15 or maybe even $10 per hour. 

Conclusion

Between these 3 sites there are literally hundreds of Arabic teachers for you to choose from. Though each site has some inherent strengths and weaknesses, it's important to remember that at the end of the day it's the individual teachers themselves who really make the difference.

I recommend browsing through each site to see if there are any teachers that specifically stick out to you. If you find a teacher you think could be a good fit, then sign up for a class with them!

About the Author Chris J

I'm definitely an unlikely language learner. I failed Spanish in high school. I started learning German as a hobby while studying abroad. Long story short...and a couple languages later...I love language learning!

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