There are not a lot of courses aimed at foreigners. Farsi teachers can be arranged through your embassy or one of Tehran's English-language newspapers, which also advertise private schools. However, these options are mainly for diplomats who don't have to fret about visa extensions.

Or you could arrange it all in advance and come to Iran on a student visa. For free online Farsi classes, try the excellent www

Two schools have good reputations for intensive courses.

Dehkhoda Institute (Map p94: §021-271 1902; [email protected] [email protected]; Bagh-e Ferdows, off Valiasr Ave, Shemiran, Tehran) The International Center for Persian Studies at the institute offers five-week and Vh-/seven-month courses. Tuition is inexpensive, but you'll need to find your own accommodation. University of Isfahan (Map p233; §0311-793 2039-41; [email protected]; HezarJeribSt, Esfa han) This sounds like a good bet. Bob, a traveller who completed a three-month course here in 2007, reported that his US$2000 paid for Vh hours of lessons each morning and comfortable accommodation in the university guesthouse on campus, where foreign students share a floor with views over the city. Apply about three months before you intend to arrive (longer for UK and US passport holders) and the university's International Office looks after the rest. One-month courses cost US$1000. The final word from Bob:'Needless to say, learning the language takes you into new worlds you might not otherwise see (eg two nights ago I spent a day and night with nomadic shepherds on the summit of Shah-e Kuh above Paveh - priceless)'.

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