Success Stories
Radu Titirca
Location: Romania
Learning: Arabic
Classes: 282

Radu joined Verbalplanet in February 2018 learning Arabic. Despite already being an accomplished language learner and completing several Arabic language courses, Radu felt that his progress in learning Arabic had ground to a halt and that he needed to try something different.

Radu needed a customized solution which allowed him to focus on areas of weakness and build on existing knowledge. By using Verbalplanet, Radu has been able to learn Arabic online in partnership with an experienced native speaking Arabic tutor who could tailor classes to his individual needs. The one to one language tuition provided through Verbalplanet has helped Radu to make significant progress towards fluency, as well as giving an authentic feel to his studies and real insight into the Arabic speaking world.

Language is a door to another culture

Learning foreign languages has been a necessity for me, because of my work – I have been working almost my entire professional life in international, big companies - but it has quickly become a hobby, even a passion.

Even though speaking a major internationally-used language (English is the case in point) is normally sufficient to get by in almost any country, it can not give you the real feeling of immersing yourself in a foreign culture and interacting fully with the people of the country you are in. There are so many different, rich cultures in the world, and the only real door into those cultures is through their language. Plus, nothing compares to the warm reception and wide smiles you get from the people when you speak to them in their own language.

I also like to travel, I have seen many different places, met many different people on all continents (Antarctica excluded). Of course I could not speak all those languages, but in some cases, one language can cover one continent (English, Spanish).


Looking for a challenge

After I retired, I continued to travel, at a more leisurely pace, and taking more time in each place. And because now I have more time and I want to spend it in a useful manner, I decided to take up the challenge of learning a really foreign language (I speak 5 Indo-European languages, and that is no major feat for somebody whose native language belongs to that family) which could give me access into a major non-European culture. With much idle time on my hands, I also needed a challenge to keep my brain in good shape, something more demanding than crosswords puzzles, so I thought a difficult language would fit the bill.

Oh boy! I wanted a challenge, I found it. With the self-confidence of a person who felt at ease in a few other languages, I embarked on the study of Arabic thinking that within a year, two at most, I would be fluent. I totally misjudged the magnitude of the endeavour, especially the amount of self study required and individual effort (it would probably have been more effective had I been obliged to live in an Arabic country). I tried several approaches: home study, then taking a few classes a week, even enrolling in special programs offered to foreigners in the Arabic-speaking countries – I spent altogether about 8 months in such programs.

There was progress, of course, but at some point, after two years of this, I felt I had reached a plateau. All courses for foreigners in Arabic countries were the same, advanced level was not really advanced, the students’ level was very heterogeneous, I kept redoing the same things all over again. What I needed was a personal, customized approach to the study, where I could focus on my weaknesses and build on what I had already achieved. Plus, I needed interactive practice (which my individual, self-teaching style could not give me) with native speakers. Plus, I needed an impulse, a more or less formal schedule (but very flexible) to make me stick to the tasks (I am by nature a rather lazy person).

After two years of study, I felt I had reached a plateau. I came across Verbalplanet by looking for various options of interactive study. I liked the idea of being able to interact with a native Arabic speaker, and the possibility of building my own curriculum with expert advise and coaching.

Meet Radu's Arabic Tutor: Rania Fakkar

Location: Egypt
Subject: Arabic
(9837) Lessons
 100% Positive

 (1253) Reviews
View full profile

Hello, my name is Rania Fakkar and I'm an online Arabic teacher with Verbalplanet. I am a native Arabic speaker and I have been an online language tutor since January 2016.

Radu Titirca has been one of my students on Verbalplanet, and to date I have taught 9837 classes and have 1253 reviews from other students who have also been learning Arabic online with me. If you would like to improve your ability to speak Arabic I am sure I can help you progress and achive your language goals. My classes have an emphasis on conversation and oral skills so really help to boost your confidence. I'm also currently offering a discounted initial trial lesson at 50% of my normal lesson price for new students.

If you would like to find out more, please click on my profile link to get in touch and we can discuss how I can help you learn to speak Arabic with greater confidence and fluency.

In my opinion the major advantage is that you can build a direct, personal relationship with somebody from a different culture, and you use the language as a real-life tool for building that relationship and understanding the culture and the person.

Building friendships as well as fluency

I came across Verbalplanet by looking for various options of interactive study. I liked the idea of being able to interact with a native Arabic speaker, and the possibility of building my own curriculum with expert advise and coaching. Mostly, I liked the idea of talking freely with somebody speaking Arabic as their mother tongue (Okay, the case of Arabic is a bit special, with all the local variants). So I tried Verbalplanet. It was not an instant hit. The offers (teachers) are numerous, you never know how you will get along with the particular person. And I say person, not teacher, because in my opinion the major advantage here is that you can use Verbalplanet to build a direct, personal relationship with somebody from a different culture, and you use the language as a real-life tool for building that relationship and understanding the culture and the person.

So now I have been using Verbalplanet for almost a year, at my own pace, not too intensive, but by no means slack, and I can finally say that I have made the qualitative quantum jump. I am not perfectly fluent yet, but I can sustain a decent conversation, I can read newspapers (even the editorials and "Opinion" articles), so I feel rather good with myself. So good, in fact, that I am planning for my next challenge: Japanese (and no, this is not an idle joke). I am sure Verbalplanet will help me there.

Quick Facts: Arabic

The Arabic language is the largest member of the Semitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family and is closely related to Hebrew and Aramaic. Arabic is spoken throughout the Arab world and is widely studied and known throughout the Islamic world with around 270 million speakers. Classical Arabic has been a literary language since at least the 6th century and is the liturgical language of Islam. Because of its liturgical role, Arabic has lent many words to other Islamic languages, akin to the role Latin has in Western languages.

During the Middle Ages Arabic was used widely in science, mathematics and philosophy, with the result that many European languages have borrowed numerous words from it. In common with other European languages, many English words are derived from Arabic, among them every-day vocabulary like 'sugar', 'cotton' and 'alcohol'.

You'll be in good company. Students from around the world use Verbalplanet to learn Arabic and you can too.

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I needed a more intensive approach, and luckily I came across Verbalplanet. This service provided the framework and the means for an incredible learning experience.

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