Testimonial by Rafay Muhammad Yousuf

Student, University of Oxford, UK

16 weeks 2024 Persian Language Semester Program

The opportunity to study Persian at ASPIRANTUM is one that I am so fortunate to have had. I believe the course was exactly what I needed at the intermediate level and has been instrumental in allowing me to develop my Persian skills. Whilst resources for Persian may initially seem scarce in comparison with other languages, our syllabus provided us with ample material to hone various skills in the language.

For 16 weeks, our cohort followed a set syllabus covering a variety of topics, broadly including: Persian Media, History and Geography, Human Geography and Persian Literature. Within each lesson, we were exposed to various forms of native content such as articles or novel excerpts to improve our reading skills or interviews and documentaries to improve our listening skills. Likewise, our written skills were tested through various forms of homework e.g., themed compositions, which allowed us to reinforce grammatical skills. Similarly, we would have short conversations about the respective topic of the day in order to practice our speaking skills. It goes without saying that our active vocabulary in Persian grew exponentially as we were exposed to a greater variety of topics.

Our learning, of course, was undoubtedly supported by our exceptional teachers, Professor Vardan Voskanian and Ani Beyt-Movsess, who both have extensive experience of teaching Persian at a higher-education level. They provided a supportive classroom environment which meant we could all strive towards improving our Persian skills and ask questions freely. It was clear throughout the programme of their expansive knowledge of Persian, both in modern and classical forms. Likewise, our encounters with new vocabulary were frequently enriched by etymological and cultural explanations, with many explanations covering various neighbouring languages such as Armenian, Kurdish, Urdu, or even dialectal forms of Persian within Greater Iran! I believe one of the things I will cherish from this course will be the phenomenal expertise of our teachers and the opportunity to have learnt from them for the duration of our study in Armenia.

Armenia was a fascinating country to have lived in, it was frankly awe-inspiring to come to understand the extensive heritage of this land. Whether it be as an ancient civilisation, its interaction with neighbouring powers, or the modern independent post-Soviet state, there are countless aspects of its history to uncover. Our course at ASPIRANTUM took us on various trips around the country which allowed us to understand and be exposed to more of the culture. Yerevan as a city is very dynamic and clearly developing, likewise, many diaspora Armenian communities have repatriated, and it is interesting to note how they are constantly enriching various aspects of life in Yerevan. Some of us also got the chance to learn basic Armenian whilst studying at ASPIRANTUM, which further allowed us to interact with locals.

All in all, the 16-week ASPIRANTUM semester in Yerevan is an experience I will remember fondly. Firstly, as an educational experience, for how my skills were able to improve. However, also as a personal experience, with the memories I could make with my classmates and the opportunity to experience living in Yerevan. I am also indebted to Khachik Gevorgyan for facilitating such an experience and being a reliable point of contact for all students throughout our time in Armenia.

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.

Eloise Stevens

Student, University of Oxford, UK

“Our teachers, Vardan and Ani were extremely knowledgeable and helpful. Their style of teaching and the structure of our classes were very clear and our lessons covered such a broad range of topics. We also were able to improve all language skills including writing, speaking and listening.”

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Rhett Perry

Student, United States Military Academy at West Point

“I attribute a great deal of our growth to the highly qualified teachers employed by Aspirantum, who leverages their vast knowledge of etymology and culture to ensure we each got the most from every class.”

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Jaden Wingfield

Student, United States Military Academy at West Point

“The level of knowledge that I gained about the Persian language was incredible, and it really is hard to believe how far I’ve come in just a few months. The instructors are fantastic and are some of the kindest and most intelligent people I’ve ever met in my life.”

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