Dehkhoda Institute, situated on Tehran’s iconic Vali Asr Street, is Tehran’s best Persian language school. Established by the University of Tehran in 1989, Dehkhoda offers reputable and reliable language courses for international students.
Since moving to Tehran, I’ve completed two terms at Dehkhoda Institute. Although I am far from being fluent in Farsi, the courses gave me a great grounding for my daily life in Iran.
If you’re reading this article because you’ve decided to study at Dehkhoda, congratulations on your decision! Or maybe you’re still considering whether studying in Tehran will suit you.
Read on to find out more about life as a student at Dehkoda Institute, Tehran.
Whenever my non-Persian speaking friends hear me speaking Farsi, they invariably comment that it sounds musical, like a song or a poem. I usually reply by informing them that the exact translation of common Farsi phrases is somewhat like poetry itself.
For thousands of years Iranians have been mastering their language, massaging it into rhythmic prose. Famous poets such as Ferdowsi, Rumi and Hafez whose epic tales have captivated audiences from one generation to the next are the true masters of the Persian language.
Writing for The Conversation this week, Darous Sepehri says,
The traditional poetry and music of Iran aim to create a threshold space, a zone of mystery; a psycho-emotional terrain of suffering, melancholy, death and loss, but also of authentic joy, ecstasy, and hope.
Most Iranian households will contain books of Persian poetry that hold pride of place alongside the Quran.
Even after all this time, the sun never says to the earth,
“You owe me”
Look what happens with a love like that,
It lights the whole sky
Common ways of expressing “thank you” and “you’re welcome” in Farsi translate to, “may your hand not hurt” and “I’d die for you”. These are just two of many Persian Phrases You’ll Wish English Had.
Persian stems from the Indo-European language group and contains elements of Arabic, French, Turkish and English so knowledge of any of these languages will hold you in good stead for your studies.
Dehkhoda offers a number of course options for its students from elementary to advanced levels. As of September 2019, they offer the following courses:
|Course name||Time table||Duration|
|Farsi language – intensive courses||Saturday – Wednesday 9am to 12 noon||6 weeks|
|Farsi language – normal terms||Saturday, Monday, Wednesday 1pm to 4pm||11 weeks|
|Conversation (beginner or advanced)||Saturday & Tuesday afternoons||Continuous|
|Calligraphy training||Monday 1pm to 4pm||6 weeks|
|Persian poetry – intensive course||Saturday – Wednesday|
9am -12 noon
|9 to 12 weeks|
|Persian poetry – selected authors||Various|
Check the Dehkhoda Institute website for full course timetable and enrollment information. Students can take numerous classes simultaneously.
Most Dehkhoda students will need to apply for a student visa.
This is a relatively quick and easy process and the school handles the paperwork for you. Usually your student visa will be issued for a period of three months, and can be easily renewed.
Prices of an Iranian student visa vary from country to country. Check with the Iranian consulate in your country or Dehkhoda directly for all the details.
Dehkhoda is located in northern Tehran close to parks, museums, hip cafes, malls and bazaars. There is a bus stop at the door and metro station about 10 minutes walk away. Across the road is a currency exchange service, or if you don’t want to carry cash you can order an Iranian debit card.
Many international students choose to stay in the university’s dormitory. Located down town, near the University of Tehran’s main campus, staying at the dorm has you well placed to sightsee the old palaces, mosques and Grand Bazaar located in that district of the city. Dehkhoda also offers students accommodation in one or two bed suites nearby the school in the neighbouring suburb of Velenjak.
Keen to know about Tehran’s nightlife? Read Nightlife in Tehran: How to have fun at nights in the crowded capital city of Iran.
Need a fast internet connection to stay on top of your studies and keep in touch with your friends and family back home? For €15 per week get unlimited, high speed 4G with MahCell’s pocket wifi.
Even if you are completing the intensive program with classes five mornings per week, you will still have a fair bit of spare time to experience Tehrani life.
Tehran is close enough to plenty of great places. If you’ve studying in winter, take a day trip to Shemshak or Dizin, Tehran’s closest decent ski slopes. There are a bunch of hiking trails around Tehran like Darband and Darakeh. Tehran also has great sport facilities with gym basic memberships staring at €20 per month. You can also join the world class Enghalab Sport Complex for year round sports such as tennis, rollerblading, bowling, basketball, martial arts, golf and running.
Weekend trips around the country are affordable, even on a student budget. Dehkhoda runs weekend tours for their students to Tehran’s surrounding provinces.
Dehkhoda enrol students from all over the world. Applying for a student visa is one of the best ways for citizens from the UK and the US to visit and see Iran without needing the accompaniment of an official tour guide.
Many of Dehkhoda’s students are in fact expats who live in Tehran. Foreign embassy staff, business people and partners of Iranians who have relocated back to Iran choose to study at Dehkhoda due to its central location and good reputation.
Students who are undertaking an exchange program or completing a research thesis through the University of Tehran also often take a part-time Farsi language course. The remainder of the students are university students who want to discover Iran and learn Persian basics during their university summer break or a gap year.
A huge draw card to studying in Iran is the price tag.
With a monthly budget of €600 you can enjoy a high quality of life in Iran as a student. This includes your accommodation, tuition, transportation, food and leisure activities.
Tuition fees for Dehkhoda are very reasonable. The courses prices start at about €190 for the 6 and 12 week courses. You can stay in the student dormitory for about €80 per month or a private suite in northern Tehran for about €130 per month.
This table will give you an idea to help with budgeting:
|Under 10 cents||Under 1 Euro||Under 15 Euros||Under 100 Euros|
|500ml bottle of water||decent espresso||1 week unlimited 4G internet data||1 week rent for an apartment in Tehran|
|1 liter of gasoline (!!!!)||falafel sandwich||dinner at an up-scale restaurant||return flights from Tehran to Shiraz|
|metro ticket||15 minute taxi ride||inter-city bus ticket (VIP class)||3-day guided tour of Iranian desert|
|an apple||a notebook and pen||1 night in a hostel||Persian rug|
Budgeting in Iran requires slightly more planning than most other places. Due to sanctions, Iran is almost completely cut off from international banking systems. This means your bank card won’t work in Iranian ATMs. To manage this you either need to bring cash for the duration of your stay or pre-order an Iranian debit card.
The Iranian travel debit card is a great option, because you can top it up with your usual Visa or Mastercard online and then access the money in Iran. Find out more about Iran’s first and most trusted travel debit card on the MahCard website.
MahCard and MahCell are tried and tested products aimed at making your stay in Iran more convenient.
Check out more reviews on MahCard’s Facebook page.
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