Testimonial by Christopher Conlon

MPhil, Islamic Studies and History, University of Oxford, UK

3 weeks 2020 Online Persian Language School

As a result of Covid-19, the ASPIRANTUM language classes of Summer 2020 were held online. The summer school excelled in offering a diverse curriculum which spoke to the particular interests of the students. The thoughtful reading lists included excerpts from classical travel literature, poetry, short stories, and news articles. The diverse corpora introduced students to wide range of new vocabulary, both classical and modern. Vocabulary was explained in a friendly manner and was always accompanied with synonyms and antonyms of varying difficulties. The daily schedule was very organized, yet adaptable to the individual needs of the students. Students were encouraged to participate and classes remained active and stimulating throughout the duration of the course.

As a returning student, it was great to be back in the classroom with the formidable Professor Vardan Voskanian of Yerevan State University, whose breadth of Persian both in the classical form and the various vernaculars of modern Iran is magisterial. His pedagogical method is reminiscent of the erudite “Soviet School” of Iranian studies, which throughout the course of the late 19th and 20th centuries introduced the philological rigour of classics to the Iranian languages. Professor Voskanian frequently identified the etymologies and Indo-Iranian equivalents to his students in an inspiring way. Students were encouraged to spend time with their dictionaries and engage with challenging texts. As a result of Professor Voskanian’s field of scholarly research, students also learned about the different Iranian languages and dialectology. Additionally, our class frequently discussed the history of the Armenian-Iranian relations. The friendship between these two cultures was first attested in the Achaemenid Period (c. 700-330 BC) and persist right until the present day. Professor Voskanian emphasised cultural engagement as a crucial feature of language acquisition, and encouraged students listen to music, acquaint oneself with the rich folklore, and focus on the mentality of the language.

This course left a lasting impression on all participants. We are grateful to the ASPIRANTUM team for quickly adopting to the online format this summer. We are also grateful to Professor Voskanian for his encouragement, support, and friendship.

Interested? Check Upcoming Persian Language Courses!


Our Persian language courses are open to anyone with upper elementary or intermediate knowledge of the Persian language. The lectures are organized with the academic interests of our participants in mind. Students as well as researchers working in Iranian Studies and relevant fields will benefit the most from our courses.

Check Upcoming Courses

Other Testimonials.

Tabriz Mohsenin

Asia Society Museum, New York, USA

“After taking this course, I feel much more confident in my ability to read both prose and poetry, and I have the skills to work through a challenging text that I would not previously have even attempted.”

Read More

Shutong Liu

Graduate Student, University of Oxford, UK

“My language skills improved quickly over 3 weeks and I cannot wait to go to Armenia in person for future courses.”

Read More

Nadine Lützelschwab

Graduate Student, University of Oxford, UK

“I greatly benefited from this course and my level of Persian improved rapidly. I would definitely recommend this course and I hope to attend next year’s Persian Summer School in Yerevan in person!”

Read More