The best bits of the courses that I took were for me the very thorough drilling of sounds/letters, controlled oral practice ‘chains’ around the class, the slightly freer oral/aural pair work information gap activities we had from time to time, the use of visual aids to reinforce meaning, the use of very targeted task-based simple listening on audio CD, the very targeted letter recognition and copying exercises, and the relaxed concentration of trying to copy exactly the flowing pen strokes of my calligraphy teacher, Ahmed, who was a really neat and exact scribe.
There was a very useful PowerPoint introduction to living in Egypt delivered by the friendly school manager at the start of the course for new students. The social programme at the school was lively and included – while I was there – a Valentine’s Day dinner at the school, as well as the usual weekend sightseeing visits. (The weekend was of 3 days – Friday, Saturday and Sunday – which was good in order to be able to see a bit of Cairo.) There was a good-sized computer room with a number of PCs available and free wi-fi access at the school too, so it was very easy to stay in touch with family and friends (and work too when necessary) via email.