We all know the best and fastest way to master a language is through immersion. Not only are you surrounded by the language daily, but you also pick up idioms and cultural nuances that you typically can’t learn from a textbook. But what if traveling to a different country isn’t realistic right now?
If you’re learning Arabic, there are a ton of ways you can incorporate the language into your everyday life. Read on for recommendations for movies, TV shows, podcasts, and news resources that will speed up your learning process while also teaching you native speaker vocabulary and phrases.
Omar is a 2013 Palestinian drama that follows a baker named Omar, who frequently climbs the Israeli West Bank Barrier to visit his girlfriend, Nadia. After the arrest of an Israeli soldier, Omar agrees to work as an informant, getting caught up in the violence of occupation. The 2013 film was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards as is described as a modern classic.
Not gonna lie, this is a spooky one. In Dachra, a journalism student and her friends become trapped in an isolated village while trying to solve a 25-year-old criminal case. Maybe don’t watch this one alone.
If horror isn’t your thing, try the romantic comedy Qeset Hob. The film follows the relationship between a man and woman that grows more complicated after he goes blind.
In Paradox (إن بارادوكس )
In this thriller, a man tries to take control of his strange memories before they consume his life, all while on the run from assailants.
Ahlan Simsim (اهلا سمسم)
Kid shows aren’t just for kids when you’re learning a second language. Learn the basics by watching some episodes of the Arabic version of Sesame Street. A bonus - you can watch the episodes for free on YouTube.
Shankaboot was the world’s first Arabic web drama series. It follows Suleiman, a 15-year-old delivery boy and was praised for presenting Beirut life in a realistic style. The episodes are short, but there are five seasons for you to work through.
Top Chef (توب شيف)
If you’re into cooking reality shows, great news - there’s an Arabic version of Top Chef. Maybe you’ll pick up some new recipes along with new vocabulary?
Fill your teen drama quota with Jinn, a series that follows a group of teenagers whose lives are disrupted when a supernatural figure appears.
This is more of a learning resource than a podcast, but it has 270 beginner lessons, so it’s great if you’re just getting started with Arabic.
One Minute Arabic
If you’re short on time, try One Minute Arabic. It’ll teach you the basics in 10 lessons, and it’s produced by Radio Lingua, so you know it has language experts behind it.
Ma Wara Al Logha
This podcast is produced by a language coach and is focused on the Jordanian dialect. It’s best for intermediate learners.
SBS Arabic is a great option if you’re already an advanced learner. It’s a news station, so you’ll hear about current events, culture, and sports.
Al Jazeera (الجزيرة بالانجليزي)
You’re probably already familiar with Al Jazeera - you’ll find all kinds of content here to practice your reading comprehension.
Al Bawaba (البوابة)
Al Bawaba is a news, blogging, and media website that covers news stories related to the Middle East.
Arabian Business (أريبيان بزنس)
This is a great resource if you’re interested in Middle Eastern business and finance.
You can also check out this site that lists out Middle East newspapers by country.
Which resources are you most excited to check out? Let us know in the comments and good luck!