40 Great Adult Education Classes in Chicago

Learn to whip up a soufflé, snap a fab photo, get ahead at work, or even save a life—at just a few short classes this fall.

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BEGINNING ARABIC
University of Chicago

The U. of C., which has been teaching Arabic since the 19th century, has developed a pedagogic framework that doesn’t require an intensive graduate-level commitment. The Graham School’s 10-week class covers Modern Standard Arabic, the base necessary to understand the structure of the language. You’ll learn to read, write, and pronounce Arabic characters, memorize simple conversations, and gain enough fluency to get by while traveling in Arabic-speaking countries.
WHERE: Gleacher Center, 450 N. Cityfront Plaza Dr., 773-702-1722, grahamschool.uchicago.edu
WHEN: Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., September 28 to November 30
COST: $560

 

BEGINNING GERMAN
Goethe Institut

Enter the land of bratwurst without leaving Chicago by taking this 11-week beginners’ class. From the moment you walk into the school, which is affiliated with the German government, you’ll hear nothing but German: The staff speaks it exclusively (you’ll get a glossary to ease the way). Even its library is a haven of Deutsche kultur: The stacks brim with German newspapers, and the televisions play native shows.
WHERE: 150 N. Michigan Ave., Ste. 200, 312-263-0472, goethe.de/ins/us/chi/enindex.htm
WHEN: Thursdays, 5:30 to 8 p.m., September 26 to December 12; Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., September 28 to December 14
COST: $400

 

BEGINNER LEVEL 1 CHINESE
Chicago Mandarin Chinese Center

This introductory class is ideal for adults who want to learn the basics of Mandarin—China’s dominant language—for business or travel. Over eight weeks, you’ll start the long journey of learning to read and understand Chinese, through exercises in memorization, phonetics, and dialogue. You’ll also learn about Chinese culture and business etiquette.
WHERE: 17 N. State St., Ste. 1700, 312-316-6038, chicagomcc.com
WHEN: Tuesdays, 6 to 7:45 p.m., September 11 to November 3
COST: $295

 

BEGINNING I ITALIAN
Casa Italia

The first class in a multilevel series, this 16-week course for beginners covers the basics of vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation. A local organization that promotes Italian-American culture, Casa Italia believes that you can’t learn the language without understanding the culture from which it comes. All instructors are native speakers: They’ll teach you not only what to say but how to speak through body language and role-playing.
WHERE: The Shrine of Our Lady Pompeii School Hall, 1220 W. Lexington St., 708-345-5933, casaitaliachicago.net
WHEN: Saturdays, 1 to 3 p.m., September 21 to January 4
COST: $220

 

CONVERSATION & COMPOSITION THROUGH STORIES
Instituto Cervantes of Chicago

If you have a basic knowledge of Spanish—say, you took it in high school or aced a college class or two—this advanced-level course is a great way to refresh your knowledge of the language while exploring Spanish cultures. Over 10 weeks, you’ll discuss en español Spanish-language short stories and excerpts from novels. You’ll also investigate the authors’ countries of origin, delving into cultural differences of Spanish-speaking nations such as Peru, Colombia, Spain, and Mexico.
WHERE: 31 W. Ohio St., 312-335-1996, chicago.cervantes.es/en
WHEN: Tuesdays, 5:30 to 7 p.m., September 17 to November 19
COST: $250

 

FRENCH FOR TRAVELERS
Alliance Française de Chicago

Dream of visiting France and blending in with the natives? This 16-session course will help you master the most common situations you’ll confront. Designed for beginners, it covers how to order in a restaurant, make purchases, understand directions, chat with the hotel receptionist, and avoid embarrassing faux pas (for example, using the familiar tu when speaking with people you don’t know well). You’ll also get practical tips—such as when to punch your train ticket to avoid a fine.
WHERE: 810 N. Dearborn St., 312-337-1070, af-chicago.org
WHEN: Mondays and Wednesdays, 7:45 to 9:45 p.m., September 16 to November 6
COST: $590

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