Nasma of New York Culture Center, an organization offering language classes not only to New Yorkers but to everyone around the world through virtual sessions. Nasma focuses on the Levantine dialect using their very own curriculum. Nasma focuses on teaching the Levantine dialect using their very own curriculum. The Levantine dialect is an Arabic dialect spoken by people in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Palestine. As a widely used variation of the Arabic language, Levantine Arabic is the most popular dialect among the Arab countries and the Middle East. Nasma teachers also provid classes for Modern Standard Arabic (MSA).
Arabic language expert Carol Haidar founded Nasma in 2016. Like many New York immigrants, the city captivated Carol’s dream of becoming an entrepreneur when she arrived there in 2013. As a Lebanese/American Carol fell in love with the city’s diversity and thought of sharing with her fellow New Yorkers the beauty of the Middle Eastern culture through language, food, and art. She then started teaching Levantine Arabic in her Upper East Side apartment, hosting language and cooking classes.
“I noticed students who are interested in learning Arabic were actually taught MSA and that is the dialect that is not used or even spoken by natives. It’s only used in the news and in books. Natives use their own dialects on day to day conversations and the best way to communicate with locals while traveling in the middle east is using levantine dialect.,” Carol explained.
Carol saw a problem and when she probed it, she learned that there were not enough resources for Arabic dialects. This discovery led and motivated her to publish her own Arabic textbooks. To date, she has published three textbooks that sold more than 1,000 copies and counting. She is also working on her 4th copy that is expected to be released summer 2021.
Along with her book project, she continued her passion for teaching the Arabic language. She started with one student and now, she has more than 100 students enrolled at Nasma. The increase in demand led her to hire more teachers and build a team. Several schools in NYC has adopted Nasma’s curriculum and use our textbooks for their Arabic classs.
When her program started to grow rapidly, she and her team started offering Levantine classes for children and adults. They have different packages and programs that fits everyone’s need and budget. She launched “Levantine Masterclass” for those who want to learn at their own pace and at the comfort of their own home. She even published children’s stories in the Levantine dialect. These publications sold more than 600 copies in one year with zero marketing and just word of mouth.
“Every project I made was inspired by students. My students were asking me about things they can watch and listen and that motivated me to start a podcast for them! I started my podcast with my students just to help them practice their comprehension and give them a platform to practice, speak, and build their confidence. I was surprised with the number of people wanting to listen to the Levantine dialect. The ‘Levantine Arabic, Made Easier’ podcast is now in Season 2 and is ranking among the most-listened podcasts in the Language Learning category. It feels great to know that in Albania, it ranked No. 2 in January. In Denmark, it ranked No. 10, and this is not among Arabic language but all other languages. That’s huge! Levantine Arabic, made easier is available on iTunes, Android, and Spotify.” Carol explained.
According to Carol, people want to learn Arabic to land a better job or to connect with their ancestors. As the 5th most spoken language in the world, she and her team at Nasma believe that learning the language gives people an edge in the workplace that open new opportunities. Carol also works with major tech corporations offering Arabic language courses, introduction to middle eastern cooking, as well as team-building activities for a group of employees.
About Nasma of New York Culture Center
Nasma of New York Culture Center offers language courses along with cooking lessons, team-building classes, and more to both kids and adults. It also specializes in teaching Arabic in several languages and dialects – including Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) and Levantine Dialect.
The organization is founded by a native Arabic language instructor Carol Haidar, who has been teaching Arabic since 2010. She has developed Arabic curriculums for both kids and adults for Nasma. After 11 years of teaching, success has strengthened her foundation to provide the nation’s youngest generation with the intellectual stimulation and educational advantage gained through early exposure to other languages. She has also published three Levantine textbooks and children’s stories in the Levantine dialect. She’s also the host of the “Levantine Arabic, Made Easier” podcast.