Why choose Kelsey?

I came to Jordan to study Arabic, to be able to speak, read and write the Levantine dialect Ammieh, as well as Modern Standard Arabic (MSA).

I started with lessons at a language center that focused on listening and speaking Arabic. I appreciated this approach and was able to communicate quite fast.

But I also felt a little lost and needed more structure and grammar after 4 months. So, I decided to give the Kelsey program a try.

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Applications are currently being accepted for Fall 2024 and Spring 2025 Terms.

Please, contact us for further details.

The Kelsey Arabic Program is an Arabic language program located in Amman, Jordan.  Our students come from around the world to learn Arabic for work and service in a variety of capacities among Arabic-speaking peoples.  Come and study Arabic in Jordan with us!

With over 65 years of experience in teaching Arabic, Kelsey is an excellent choice for people coming from all over the globe. We invite you to explore our website and to write to us to know more about our program.

About Us

The late Dr. George E. Kelsey founded the Kelsey Arabic Program in 1964 in order to meet the linguistic needs of church workers coming to the Middle East. The school started with six students, and over the years it grew as the methods which Dr. Kelsey developed proved effective. Since its inception the program has trained over 2500 students in spoken and written Arabic, and the school now enrolls roughly 30 students at any one time from countries all over the world.

For more details about Dr. Kelsey’s journey founding Kelsey please download his story.

Program Details (Our Approach to Arabic Learning)

The Kelsey Approach

Our driving emphasis is on communication.  We want our students to communicate in Arabic with accuracy and cultural sensitivity.

Knowing the Arabic alphabet in advance is not necessary. We teach two kinds of Arabic at Kelsey: Jordanian “spoken” Arabic[1] and Modern Standard Arabic[2]. We consider “Spoken” Arabic and MSA to be two separate languages in terms of vocabulary, grammar, context of use and syntax. However Middle Eastern societies use “spoken” Arabic and MSA simultaneously in daily life[3]. Therefore, for foreigners to function normally in this region in the long run, the acquisition of both languages is essential.

At Kelsey we begin with an oral approach to the language, because we want to speed up your acquisition of “spoken” Arabic initially as much as possible. Accordingly, 1st semester students are initially taught to use a western script to phonetically record the spoken language. This strategy greatly increases the speed of your acquisition of “spoken” Arabic in this initial phase, and we consider it to be essential for the building of relationships between you and locals that will last for the duration of your language learning process. At the same time you will be introduced to the Arabic script, and by your 2nd semester you are expected to begin the transition of using the Arabic script instead of the western script as your exposure to MSA slowly increases. By the time you reach your 3rd and 4th semesters with us, you should begin to see how Middle Easterners use these two very different forms of Arabic in a practical sense as one language.  Then by the time you finish our full course, you should be functionally literate in MSA and begin to use it to grow deeper as a communicator of “spoken” Arabic.

Sound complicated? Learning Arabic is in fact a very difficult and challenging process, but with Kelsey’s approach, experience, excellent materials and God’s grace over your life, we expect your language learning process to be not only successful, but also rewarding and empowering. For more information on KAP’s approach to Arabic study please see Kelsey Arabic Levels (KAL).

[1] Also known as the Levatine dialect or Ammiya.

[2] Also known as MSA or Classical. Please note that some people would more specifically classify Classical Arabic as yet another form of written Arabic used only in Ancient texts, whereas MSA is the Modern form of written Arabic.

[3] This phenomenon is referred to by linguists as “diglossia”, which refers to a sociolinguistic phenomenon in which different varieties of a language exist and are used by members of that society depending upon social contexts. In the case of Arabic, MSA and/or Classical is used for all written communication and is spoken only in formal educational, religious, and political contexts, as well as in most forms of spoken media. Whereas “spoken” Arabic is used in all other contexts. Furthermore, there are also many contexts in which Arabs use a blend of both MSA and various dialects of “spoken” Arabic, such as in sermons at church or in Bible studies. Because of this, no serious student of Arabic can really choose one or the other but needs to focus significant attention to both MSA and a “spoken” dialect like ours here in Jordan.

How to Apply

Applicants for the full-time language program are considered for admission based on the following criteria:

  1. The applicant should ensure that we have received a completed and signed application and a non-refundable Pre-registration Fee of 100 JOD by two weeks before the first Registration Day (see calendar above).  Applicants who apply late will be admitted on a first-come, first-serve basis until classes are full.
  2. The applicant should pay in full the school fees and purchase books during Registration Days.  Late payment is subject to an additional fee of 30 JOD. Any portion of the school fees paid on or after the first day of classes is subject to this fee.
  3. Only applicants who can begin the semester on time will be admitted. Latecomers disrupt classes that have covered a great deal of special material already. Occasionally an applicant may arrive late if other arrangements are made with the Program Director to ensure that the applicant catches up with the class at the time of admission (i.e. through personal tutoring for an additional fee).
  4. All applicants must submit a letter of recommendation or equivalent.
  5. Under most circumstances, the applicant must be more than 18 years old, or attending the program with a parent.
  6. This list is not all-inclusive. Additional requirements will be clarified by the program office upon inquiry and/or submission of a Preliminary Registration Request Form.