18
Dec
11

Thinking About Doing Dream 2013?

Assalamualaykum!

As promised in my last post, here is the inside scoop about the 2012 Bayyinah Dream program, so you can see if this would be a fit for you, insha’Allah!

Here’s what you’ll read about in this post: Academics, Living, Expenses, and Why Dream? What’s so unique about it?

What is Dream?

In short, the Dream program is a 10 month Arabic intensive of the Bayyinah Institute.  It is a program that focuses on Classical/Qur’anic (fusha) Arabic.  It aims on equipping its students to be able to understand the Qur’an when it is recited, to analyze Qur’anic passages, to have conversations, to give oral presentations, to write essays in Arabic, to translate between English and Arabic, just to mention a few.

You can watch this video about the Dream program, which gives you an inside look into what the program is like.

*There are a few differences about the program from last year and the one from this year.  The campus is even nicer than what’s shown in the video,  and the syllabus/teachers are a little different.

You can check out more information about the Dream program from the Bayyinah website, at http://www.bayyinah.com/dream/.  The website is currently being updated and new information will be added soon, so insha’Allah keep checking back if you’re interested in the program.

Academics

Here’s an idea of what our days and weeks look like:

  • Sunday: Qur’an Day-We do tafsir of 2/3-3/4 of one Juz every Sunday.
  •  Monday-Thursday: Regular School Days, class from 8am-2:30pm, with 3 breaks (20-40 minutes each) throughout the day.  This is where most of the learning happens.  Just to give you an idea of what we do, some daily activities in class include:  lectures, learning Arabic idioms, grammatical analysis of an ayah and morphology of the words within it, conversation period, oral presentations, writing practice, etc.
  • Friday: Test Day, 8am-11am.
  • Weekend: Friday 11am-Saturday.

It has been 3 months into the program, and this is what we have learned to do so far:

  • Grammar and Morphology (Nahu & Sarf).
    • Qur’an: We now are able to basically take any ayah from the Qur’an and grammatically analyze the whole thing and do all the morphology (word derivations) for the words in the ayah.
  • Conversation/Speaking
    • We have completed the first Bayna Yadaik book and now are using the first Cambridge textbook (the orange cover).
    • We are able to understand and read basic texts without tashkeel/harakat (vowel markings).
    • We are able to hold basic conversations with one another, and have been supposed to be speaking to one another in Arabic on campus starting this last week.
    • We give presentations of short essays that we have written from memory in front of the class (sisters in front of sisters and brothers in front of brothers).
  • Writing
    • We write short essays, around 1-2 pages.  Some of our topics have been: Introduction to Me (our first, mine is posted below as another blog post), An Ayah I Love, Advice to  a Future Dream Student.
    • We also practice the grammatical and sarf concepts as well as our vocabulary by translating sentences.
  • Qur’an
    • Every Sunday we have Qur’an days, where Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan gives us a running translation of the ayaat that we cover that day, as well as a short tafsir of them.    We have gotten through all of Surat al Baqarah and now are very close to finishing Surat Al-Imran.
    • There is a tajweed component to the program.
    • We are expected to memorize Surat al Baqarah as well as Surat Al-Imran this year, which is something that we ourselves are responsible for keeping up with.

Teachers

This year, our program is a little different than last year’s because our main instructor is Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan, and we occasionally have a guest instructor.  For the first part of the program which is the fundamentals of Arabic (grammar and morphology) we have only had Ustadh Nouman as our teacher, but we did have a week where Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda was our instructor and we went over Shah WaliuLlah’s set of 40 ahadith.  We expect to have him as our instructor for 2-3 weeks when we go over the Ajroomiyyah (a classical text), and we will also possibly have other teachers who are specialized in certain areas to come in and teach us.  Our tajweed teachers are different this year as well, since Br. Wisam has relocated to California for the time being.

The program also has TA’s which are there to give us extra individual attention.  Alhamdulillah, the program is very professional.

Campus

The Bayyinah campus is a huge suite in a business building very close to the Irving masjid.  The campus is in an incredibly professional setting and is very state of the art.  The campus is very beautiful and nicely furnished and painted/decorated 🙂  The campus is basically completely segregated, which makes for a comfortable learning environment.  The brothers and sisters each have their own halves of the campus, and both have equal access to the instructors and etc.

Who is Dream for?

In the past 2 years, there have been students who range from 13-50s.  There are a few students who are doing high school at the same time (through home school) and there are also a few students like me who have taken a year off of college and are in the program.  It is also possible to get college credit for this program, depending on an Arabic placement test you can take.  There are some students who are recent grads from college, some who have taken a break from work, and even some couples who have children (this year, up to 11 years old).  There are even some aunties in the program 🙂

What prior knowledge should I have of the Arabic language?

I would suggest that you do not come into the program completely fresh to Arabic, since the program is pretty fast-paced and you don’t want this to be your first ever exposure to the Arabic language.  The students who have had almost no exposure to Arabic are the ones who are finding it harder to keep up.  If you’re serious about doing this program, you should be serious about learning Arabic by any means you can.

My background in Arabic before this program was studying tajweed with my Qur’an teacher (who is amazing, masha’Allah!!) for a year and a half before I came and the amount of Qur’an I had memorized is about a juz.  I also took the Bayyinah 10 day course and Bayyinah’s Meaningful Prayer, Tafseer of Surat al Rahman, Tafseer of Surat al Fussilat, and listened to the tafseer podcasts upon the Bayyinah website.  After I got into the program and specifically for preparing myself for the program, I did the University of Medinah’s first book with a student of the University of Medinah who was taking a break and was holding an Arabic class at the masjid.  I did not study Arabic at all in school/college.

If you are interested in learning Arabic, you should be learning Arabic and working on your Qur’an reading however you can and you should not wait around for the Bayyinah Dream program.  However, if you are specifically concerned about preparing yourself for the program, I would highly suggest taking Bayyinah’s 10 day Arabic course (which is offered all over the US) and I would also highly suggest getting a Qur’an teacher and working on your tajweed, reading fluency, and memorization.

Living

 There are all different kinds of students in different stages of life in the program, so Dream itself does not provide a hostel/dorm for students.  Most students stay in the apartment complexes (the main one is Avalon Villas) around the Irving Masjid.  From the apartments to the masjid, it is only a few minutes walk.   From the apartments to the Bayyinah campus is only a minute drive.  There are a bunch of halal stores around and shopping is not a problem at all.   The Dallas Fort Worth airport is a 5 minute drive from campus, which makes it very easy to fly.  The students all are put into contact with one another through a Google Group/emailing group, so it is easy to find roommates and set up a living situation with other Dream students.  You don’t necessarily need your car, but it if you’re not bringing your car, you need a friend who has one.  As for furniture and things for the apartment, many things from the previous Dream students are being passed down to future Dream students, and nearly everyone who is single pretty much lives a low maintenance lifestyle, just like college.  It’s actually great that almost all of us live in the same apartment complex because it’s almost like high-class dorms in college.  We can easily walk around to each others’ apartments, we make each other food, borrow things from one another, catch rides with one another, and etc.  It’s almost like living in college, but you have a lot more privacy and a lot more space and it is just all around better.

There are some students who have moved here with their whole families, so they opt to live in homes which are larger to accommodate their children and etc.  For couples with children, there are some very good Islamic schools in Dallas, the ones I know of are the Islamic school of the Irving Masjid and also the charter school (not an Islamic school, but basically one) Manara Academy.  Some of the children of the students in the program are also being homeschooled.

As far as working goes, there are a few students who are actually keeping their jobs and will fly back on the weekends (there is a doctor from last year and a doctor from this year who are both doing that), but it is very hard to have a job while doing the program and I would highly discourage anyone to try to look for a little job here to help pay the bills.

A monthly budget can start around $400, times that by 10 months and you get $4,000 for the year.  That is probably the bare minimum you could get by with spending, but most likely you will need more than that for your living expenses during the program.

The Dallas community is great and it’s an awesome place full of amazing resources.  There are actually a few students who end up moving to Dallas because they like it so much!…but that of course is very relative to where you’re coming from.

Expenses

The Dream program’s tuition is around $8,000 and living expenses are separate from that.  The lowest you can go would be around $4,000 for 10 months from what I can gauge.  So that comes up to a total of $12,000 at least, and I think that that estimate is still on the very low end.  You might think that this program is ridiculously expensive, but something to keep in mind is that it is being offered in the United States and that the program is extremely professional, it’s not like an Arabic class ran out of the back room of a broken down warehouse-turned musallah.  Also, any college tuition would easily be around the same, if not much more expensive.  This program is just like something you’d expect a top university to offer (but none actually offer something like this), so it kind of makes sense for tuition to be about the same and it is totally worth it.

If you don’t have the money for the program, there are many ways for you to fundraise for yourself.  Sometimes masajid are willing to help sponsor a student so that they can come back and teach the community.  I heavily fundraised in order to attend Dream, and a lot of the funds I ended up raising were not through masajid (which I, unfortunately, found were not as helpful as I thought they would be), but through individuals I knew and the many friends I had through organizations I was a part of (MSU, MSA West, AlMaghrib, MuslimMatters, my Qur’an teacher, etc.)  I approached people in person, as well as I launched an online campaign.  It’s not impossible…so if you’re a little gutsy and are willing enough to work hard and Allah has meant it for you, He will make a way and provide for you.  There were other spiritual acts that I was doing in order to help me with my finances, like reading Surat al Waqiah every night, offering extra prayers/fasts, and making tons of dua.  Things just ended up working out somehow, everything just fell into place for me, alhamdulillah.

Why Dream?  What’s so unique about it?

I would suggest Dream for many reasons, and I think it is a very good alternative and possibly even better than going overseas to study Arabic.  Why?

  • We are being taught in English, from the perspective that everyone has an English-language background.  We are not being explained Arabic grammar and etc. in Arabic, but in English and relative to the grammatical concepts in English, so it is easier and faster to understand.
  • We are living in America…even though it’s Texas (just kidding…not really.)  It’s a great way for parents to be able to do this program, since they can just move to a different state and it’s an easier adjustment for the whole family and basically stuff will stay the same.   It’s also a great option for younger students, and especially for single students.  I was shocked that my parents let me move all the way to Texas since they didn’t let me move out for college, but alhamdulillah convincing them to let you move to Texas for a year is a lot easier than convincing them to let you move to Egypt for a year.  The main thing that’s awesome about this program being in the US is that you aren’t really put through that much of a culture shock.  Sure, things in Texas are a little different than things in California or New York or wherever you’re from, but it’s not that hard to adjust to, especially compared to moving to some place abroad.
  • Our teachers are American Muslims, just like the rest of us.  We get an incredibly relevant experience with the Qur’an and understanding of Islam that makes sense to where we’re coming from.
  • It’s Bayyinah….let’s be honest, here.  Masha’Allah, Bayyinah is an AMAZING organization and the quality of their classes and instructors is incredible.  The thing I really like about Bayyinah is that they have come up with clever shortcuts and loopholes and have reorganized the way Arabic is learned from a Classical standpoint (don’t let your bidah alert go off, it’s nothing like that).  They have figured out many ways for us to learn faster, learn easier, retain more, and continue to find better ways to teach Arabic to their students.  Bayyinah’s motto is The way forward in Arabic Education, and I really do believe that is true from everything I’ve seen so far.
  • The Dream program is all about the Qur’an.  Even though we do things like conversation and essay writing and etc., at the essence of it all is Qur’an and Islam.  Whatever we learn in Dream is basically what we need to have to be able to approach the Qur’an.  We are not taught in a way like they teach Arabic at universities, which is completely secular and anti-Islamic.  The examples we use in class when learning grammatical concepts, the vocabulary we’re learning, and etc. are basically all Qur’an-based.  Of course in Dream they don’t just cut it off to Qur’anic Arabic only, in conversation classes we push our vocabulary towards more practical/life-related things.  I know that this will be able to bring dunya benefits as well as deen benefits for its students.  For example, I am studying Comparative Literature as my Undergrad, and I know that the level of proficiency I pick up in Arabic after a year will give me a good chance at going into doing a Masters of English and Arabic literature if I want to, or it would even help me with serving Arab clients if I chose to go the Law School route.  But at the end of the day…most Muslims who want to learn Arabic are learning it to build a connection with the Qur’an and to come closer to Allah and to become better Muslims; the great thing about this program is that the whole thing is contextualized and centered around that very desire.

I think that’s about it 🙂 Feel free to ask me questions by leaving comments and I will try my best to answer them.  As soon as the applications go out, I will spread the word insha’Allah!  Here are some pictures from the campus, some of which I’ve already posted on my blog.

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4 Responses to “Thinking About Doing Dream 2013?”


  1. 1 Saraiza
    December 18, 2011 at 4:59 am

    Do you take international students how about our visas

  2. 3 Azmah
    December 18, 2011 at 8:30 am

    Assalamualaikum. I have always been interested to register for the programme. I was told that there will be an option soon for International students to take part in the programme without being physically there, in other words, there will be an online study option. May i know whether this is possible for upcoming classes?

  3. 4 Farry
    December 21, 2011 at 11:37 am

    Maasha allah that was very informative and thorouogh. Enjoyed reading it and have also now been very tempted to enrol only issue is I am in UK! Maybe I should migrate to US!


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