Testimonial by Sandra Williams

PhD student, History of Art Department, University of Michigan, USA

2 weeks 2021 Learn Persian Through the Shahname

“Learn Persian Through the Shahnameh” is a challenging but rewarding course. 

You will learn a large amount of vocabulary within a short time and also gain exposure to the distinct ways in which Persian was used in a literary mode in the medieval period (the grammar is very different from modern Persian!). 

Ruben is a wonderful teacher with a great depth of knowledge of Persian history, literature, and the ins-and-outs of the language. He is also incredibly patient. The class was above my level of competency, but he tolerantly worked with me and I felt I learned a lot from the class. The class size was small, which allowed us plenty of time to each read aloud and work through the nuances of Ferdowsi’s poetry. 

Ultimately, I feel I have a better understanding of medieval Persian and I am better prepared for the work it will take to read manuscripts in the future. 

I would consider taking this course again to practice reading more of the manuscript. I highly recommend the “Learn Persian Through the Shahnameh” course to anyone interested in medieval Persian literature or learning about the evolution of the language.

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.

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Other Testimonials.

Christopher "Carson" Conlon

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

“The Shāhnāma course was a great way to learn Persian by sparing with a classical Persian text. Students left with a better understanding of Firdawsī’s magnum opus (shāhkār) and will never envision the Shāhnāma the same way again.”

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Piotr Szustakiewicz

MA student, University of Warsaw, Poland

“The course ”Learn Persian Through the Shahname” in which I took part in September 2020 was a wonderful experience.”

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Raha Rafii

Postdoctoral Researcher, Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter, UK

“The pedagogy was excellent, and the classes were organized to reinforce the previous day’s learning while going over the next assignment, a very effective strategy for retaining large amounts of new information in a short, intensive period (and on Zoom, no less!).”

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