x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Institute to offer free courses during Ramadan

DUBAI // Expatriates can learn everything from beginner's Arabic to the proper etiquette at Iftar for free during Ramadan.

DUBAI // Expatriates can learn everything from beginner's Arabic to the proper etiquette at Iftar for free during Ramadan. For the fourth year, the Eton Institute of Languages will offer free language and cultural sensitivity courses during the holy month, giving expatriates an opportunity to become better educated about the stricter standards of behaviour that are expected from them.

The workshops would help them better understand the culture and way of life of Arab people, said Moaz Khan, the spokesman for the institute. "People will receive education on the religion, laws and regulations," said Mr Khan. "They will learn what they can expect during Ramadan and what the community expects from them." Non-Muslims were expected to be mindful of local customs, he said. For example, eating in front of fasters is forbidden before sundown, while smoking in public is banned and modest dress is required.

"We will explain about Iftar banquets, what is halal [permissible] and haram [prohibited] and what to do when there is a prayer being performed," he said, adding that it was appropriate to sit quietly or ask how to join in. Arabic courses at the institute cost Dh1,250 (US$340) at any other time. Students will still have to pay about Dh200 for course materials. "Obviously, it's important to take cultural sensitivity training because the majority of people in Dubai are from expatriate communities, so it's important to understand Muslim culture," said Mr Khan.

"It can become easy to forget that the laws and regulations are strict." The free Arabic classes will be held three times a week during Ramadan, on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays between 4pm and 5pm at the Eton Institute in Dubai Knowledge Village. The cultural sensitivity workshops will be held twice during the month, on Sept 10 and Sept 24, between 6pm and 9pm. During the workshops, participants are free to ask questions concerning Arabic culture.

The courses were expected to fill quickly, Mr Khan said. To sign up, visit www.eton.ac or call 800 3866. @Email:jgerson@thenational.ae