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This program examines the factors driving internal and international migration in Morocco and elsewhere in North and sub-Saharan Africa. You will consider how human mobility is shaped by religion, security, youth culture, desertification, poverty, and other pressing issues and how mobility engenders transnational art and multilayered identities. You will contextualize the social and psychological impact of migration through discussions with Moroccan residents in the Netherlands.
The Migration and Transnational Identity program examines the multifaceted factors — including historical, economic, political, and cultural forces — spurring migration, with a particular focus on Morocco.
The program is located at the Center for Cross Cultural Learning, housed in a beautiful, nineteenth-century Moorish style riad in Rabat's centuries-old medina. Rabat's medina dates back to the sixteenth century when it was founded by Moorish refugees fleeing Spain after the fall of Granada. The Center is ideally situated near important cultural sites students often wish to explore, including the twelfth-century Kasbah Oudayas and the Ville Nouvelle, established by the French colonial administration at the beginning of the twentieth century.
From the program base in Rabat, you will begin thematic coursework, intensive language instruction in both Modern Standard Arabic and 15 hours of Moroccan dialect, and the Research Methods and Ethics course. Cultural immersion is greatly facilitated through an eight-week homestay with a working- or middle-class Moroccan family.
During the program’s excursion to the Netherlands, you will meet with Moroccan immigrants and learn firsthand about various patterns of integration and marginalization. The excursion features lectures by local academics, NGO activists, and second-generation Moroccan/Dutch elected officials.
The excursion is also an opportunity to revisit many of the conceptual topics and theoretical discussions explored in the classroom, including immigrants and Islam in Europe, the perception of Moroccan immigrants in the Netherlands, the role of NGOs in the promotion of human rights for immigrants, and immigrant youth and identity.
You will travel with the rest of your group across the north of Morocco to the cities of Al Hoceima and Berkane and the border town Nador. Shortly after flying to Amsterdam, you will see firsthand many of the conceptual topics and theoretical discussions explored in the classroom, including the cross-border labor force and Morocco-EU relations.
Since most Moroccan migrants in the Netherlands come from the northeast of Morocco, you will gain a better sense of the socioeconomic and cultural environment from which these migrants originally come. While learning about these migrants’ daily lives before crossing the Mediterranean, you can have a multi-site learning experience that includes the sending and the host migration countries.
The program convenes regular discussion groups between SIT students and Moroccan university students at both Mohammed V University in Rabat and Iben Tofail University in Kenitra. Held both in and outside of the classroom, these discussions are an excellent opportunity to engage in cross-cultural dialogue with Moroccan youth.
Topics for discussion may include youth and migration, gender issues, religion, human rights, and the influence of Europe. You will have the opportunity to attend lectures at Mohammed V University with your Moroccan peers, while Moroccan students are invited to attend select lectures and field visits organized by SIT.
You will work closely with your academic director and an advisor to design an Independent Study Project (ISP) on a topic that pertains to migration, mobility, or transnational identity. The ISP provides you with an opportunity to pursue original research on a specific aspect of migration that pertains to your academic interests or personal inclination. The ISP is conducted in Rabat or in another approved location in Morocco appropriate to the project.
Sample topic areas for the ISP include:
There are no prerequisites; however, students with a background in French will find ample opportunity for French language practice, while also learning Arabic. Students with a background in Spanish will also have the opportunity to practice their Spanish language skills in northern Morocco.
The Migration and Transnational Identity course examines the historical, economic, political, and cultural underpinnings of migration. The approach is informed by the reality that migration is more dynamic than static push-pull models or simplified economic or demographic interpretations can reflect. Rather, the course challenges the student to approach migration from a multidisciplinary perspective in which migration is only one constituent part of more complex economic, development, demographic, and cultural processes. The Research Methods and Ethics course addresses culturally appropriate, ethical field methodology in the context of migration issues, in preparation for the Independent Study Project (ISP). Study of Arabic opens windows into the culture and the program’s theme.
Links to syllabi below are from current and forthcoming courses offered on this program. Because courses develop and change over time to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, actual course content will vary from term to term.
The syllabi can be useful for students, faculty, and study abroad offices in assessing credit transfer. Read more about credit transfer.
Please note that in order to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, program excursions may occasionally vary.
Please note that in order to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, program excursions may occasionally vary.
The largest excursion on the program will allow you to trace the path of Moroccans emigrating from northeast Morocco to the Netherlands. In this cross-border excursion, you will be able to examine the complex impact of migration on both the sending and host countries.
The vast majority of Moroccan immigrants in the Netherlands (around 75%) are from the northeast of Morocco. Consequently, the program travels to Al Hoceima, Nador, and Berkane in Morocco’s northeast to enable you to situate migration in its cultural, historic, and economic contexts.
In Berkane, you will learn about return migrants from the Netherlands and their family stories. Through the program’s partner, the Dutch-Moroccan foundation for return migrants, you will learn about forced female return migration from the Netherlands, families left behind, and stories of transnational families in Morocco and northern Europe.
In the city of Al Hoceima you will meet with civil society activists involved in issues of migration, gender, memory and history of the region, and local development. You will also learn about identity-based movements with political and cultural claims that distinguish this region from the rest of the country.
You will also learn about and visit nongovernmental organizations working in collaboration with Moroccan government and international aid agencies such as the Spanish organization MPDL (Movemiento por La Paz) on opening the Rif region and improving people’s conditions. These NGOs provide vocational skills trainings and experience to youth and returning migrants. The Moroccan National Initiative for Human Development (Initiative National pour le Développement Humain — NDH) has a base in Al Hoceima and in the national park west of Al Hoceima.
In both the border town of Nador and the island of Badis, you will learn about Moroccan-Spanish border dynamics. Through site visits to Nador, you will observe and talk to human rights activists about immigrants’ attempts to challenge fortress Europe fences and militarized borders. In the island of Badis, you will observe the arbitrariness of borders where Spain and Morocco are separated by a Spanish outpost on Moroccan soil.
Other NGOs the program may visit include the following:
During the program’s excursion to Amsterdam, you will consider the growing presence of Moroccans in Europe, particularly in the Netherlands. You will typically have the chance to do the following:
You will also be immersed in many of the central debates surrounding the growing Muslim presence in Europe, including the varied reactions of Dutch politics and the rise of anti-immigrant/anti-Muslim parties, “success stories” of Muslim migrants and issues surrounding “integration,” and ideological constructions of Muslim identity.
The program may also spend some time in Leiden and The Hague. During the eight-day excursion, you will stay in guest houses and hotels.
The program’s third excursion is a village stay in Fqih Ben Saleh, where you will explore the many different causes of migration while considering its impact on the cultures and societies of several rural areas within Morocco.
Fqih Ben Saleh is a small town in Beni Mellal Province in the Tadla-Azilal plains, whose recent socioeconomic growth has been largely determined by remittances from Moroccan emigrants. You will meet with the staff and volunteers of local migrant associations and discuss the dynamic relationship between development and migration. You will also meet with local youth to compare perspectives on migration and disenfranchisement and of Europe and the US.
This village stay gives you the opportunity to gain firsthand experience of the impact migration has had on a local economy and culture. You will also have a chance to engage in a roundtable discussion with people from local communities on the issues of migration and development.
During the four- to five-day excursion, you will live in Fqih Ben Saleh in the homes of local families. Most of the families have relatives living abroad, which allows you to experience the dynamics of migration from the perspectives of families who have remained in Morocco.
Dr. Souad Eddouada, a native of Rabat, holds a PhD in cultural and gender studies from Mohammed V University in Rabat, Morocco. She has been affiliated with Ibn Tofail University in Kenitra, Morocco, for about eight years. In 2004, she conducted a research project on women’s NGOs in Tunisia, and in 2007 she was a postdoctoral research associate at Lund University in Sweden. From 2008 to 2009, Dr. Eddouada was a Fulbright Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, where she took part in various workshops and conferences on gender, Islam, and women’s rights in the Middle East and North Africa. In 2010, Dr. Eddouada served as an advisor for Freedom House’s MENA regional committee’s report on women’s rights in North Africa.
Dr. Eddouada has been involved with SIT programs in Morocco since 2006, initially as a lecturer and Independent Study Project advisor and, subsequently, as associate academic director of the Morocco: Migration and Transnational Identity program. Since 2011, she has been the academic director of the Migration and Transnational Identity program.
In July 2011, Dr. Eddouada was invited to speak at a symposium on “Europe and the World” organized by the Peace Institute in Tampere, Finland. Dr. Eddouada’s presentation addressed the impact of Morocco-EU partnership on Moroccan women’s rights reforms. In February 2013, during the program’s excursion to Amsterdam, Dr. Eddouada was invited to speak at a workshop organized by Amsterdam Centre for Globalisation Studies on “Deportation, Detention, Drowning in la Mer Morotelle.” Dr. Eddouada’s presentation addressed human rights issues surrounding European borders in Morocco. In addition to an article on gender and migration in Morocco, Dr. Eddouada is currently completing a book entitled Women and the Politics of Reform in Morocco. In May 2014, Dr. Eddouada was invited to give a presentation on “Women Left Behind: Representation of Migration in a Village on the Foot of the Atlas Mountains.” The presentation was scheduled as part of a conference co-organized by Oxford Migration Institute and the International University of Fes on Moroccan migrations.
In January 2015, Dr. Eddouada began a two-year training on engaged transformative gender research led by distinguished professor of anthropology and women and gender studies, Suad Joseph, University of California, Davis. During these two years, Dr. Eddouada will be conducting fieldwork on the rural women’s land claims movement known locally as Soulaliyat Women. In July 2015, Dr. Eddouada received a $5,000 award from the University of California, Davis to continue this research.
Dr. Abdelhay Moudden earned his PhD in political science from the University of Michigan and has been a professor of political science and international relations at Mohamed V University in Rabat since 1978. He was the academic director of the SIT Study Abroad Multiculturalism and Human Rights program in Morocco from 1992 to 2013. In 1995, Dr. Moudden founded the Center for Cross Cultural Learning and, since that time, has served as the center’s academic director. In 2013, he was appointed senior advisor to SIT programs in Morocco. Dr. Moudden is a member of the Consultative Council on Human Rights and a former member of the Moroccan Truth and Reconciliation Commission (2004–2005). He has published several articles on Moroccan politics and culture and two novels, the latest of which, The Farewell Sermon, won the Morocco book award for 2004.
Dr. Abadi is a professor of theology and comparative religions as well as the General Secretary of the Mohamedan League of Ulemas (Muslim Scholars). He is an expert in Sufi philosophy and thought. Dr. Abadi has organized and participated in international conferences and roundtable discussions on interfaith issues and cross-cultural dialogue.
Dr. Elalamy is a professor of media studies at Ibn Tofail University, Kenitra. Dr. Elalamy is also a novelist and artist who has produced works in Morocco and internationally. He is the author of A Moroccan in New York and Sea Drinkers (published by Lexington Books) and of a transnational book project entitled Un roman dans la ville (A Novel in the City).
Dr. Elmadmad is an attorney with the Rabat Bar Association of Law and holder of the UNESCO Chair in Migration and Human Rights at the University Hassan II in Casablanca. Additionally, she is president of the Casablanca Center on Migration and Humanitarian Laws; the legal coordinator for Morocco of the Euro-Mediterranean Consortium for Applied Research on International Migration (CARIM) in Florence; a member of the scientific board of the Africa Governance Monitoring and Advocacy Project; and the UNESCO chair on women’s rights. She is a consultant for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, UNESCO, the International Labor Organization (ILO), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and the Moroccan Red Crescent. Dr. Elmadmad's published books include Asile et réfugiés dans les pays afro-arabes (Asylum and Refugees in the Afro-Arab Countries) and Les migrants et leurs droits au Maghreb (Migrants and Their Rights in the Maghreb).
Dr. Maghraoui is a professor of history and international relations at Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane. Dr. Maghraoui teaches courses on North African immigration in Europe, modern imperialism and its culture, history of the Arab world, and history and memory in twentieth-century Europe. He has been a visiting professor at Yale and the University of California, Santa Cruz. His most recent publications include "Secularism in Morocco: A Stagnant Word in Motion," "Northern Africa: Historical Links with Sub-Saharan Africa," "Perceptions of External Pressure to Democratization: The Moroccan Case," and "The 'Grande Guerre Sainte': Moroccan Colonial Troops and Workers in the First World War."
Fouad Laroui was born in Oujda in 1958. His father disappeared when he was eleven, presumably arrested by the Moroccan authorities, and was never seen again. Dr. Laroui studied engineering at the École Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées in Paris and became an engineer. After working for a phosphate mining company in Morocco, he lived in England and then moved to Amsterdam, where he teaches econometrics and environmental science. He has written novels, short stories, and essays, but his work has yet to be translated into English. His style tends towards critiquing Morocco, particularly its corruption and bureaucracy.
Dr. Bourass was born in Amsterdam in 1981. She holds a PhD in history and specializes in issues of gender and Moroccan immigration and transnationalism in the Netherlands. She is a member of the governing bodies of the Euro-Mediterranean Migration and Development Centre (EMCEMO) and Gresen Links Amsterdam (Green Left Party).
Living with a host family is an integral component of the Morocco: Migration and Transnational Identity program. Homestays provide you with a unique window into the daily life, values, and perspectives of Moroccan families and with an opportunity to practice language skills, particularly darija (Moroccan Arabic), and in some cases also French. The program contains two homestay experiences in very different environments, illustrating the enormous differences between life in urban and rural Moroccan communities.
You will live with middle- and working-class families in Rabat for eight weeks. Homestay families are located in the city's seventeenth-century medina, a captivating and historic area of Rabat with an original and independent architectural style.
With your host families, you will experience Moroccan daily life, accompanying family members on regular activities such as shopping in the souk, going on café outings, and taking bread to the neighborhood faran (local bakery). You will also have the opportunity to visit the hammam (Moroccan public bath). Homestays provide you with an opportunity to participate in family cultural events, which could include family weddings or newborn naming ceremonies. You may also be invited by your host brother or sister to a weekly soccer match.
The homestay in Rabat is coordinated by the program's host institution, the Center for Cross Cultural Learning (CCCL), which has been collaborating with homestay families for more than a decade.
The four-day rural village stay in Faqih Ben Saleh, in the province of Beni-Mellal, offers you a different perspective on the host culture in contrast to the homestay in urban Rabat. Many customs and features of Moroccan culture derive from rural or agrarian traditions; the experience of living in rural homes sheds new light on Morocco’s cultural norms.
The village stay is also an opportunity for you to learn about the realities of Moroccan ethnic groups and marginal rural communities distinct from the mainstream urban culture. This offers you important insights on the historical formation of national identity and ways in which local ethnic or political power is maintained.
Other accommodations during the program include hostels, guest houses, or small hotels.
A diversity of students representing different colleges, universities, and majors study abroad on this program. Many of them have gone on to do amazing things that connect back to their experience abroad with SIT. Learn what some of them are now doing.
The dates listed above are tentative. Please note that travel to and from the program site may span a period of more than one day.
Student applications to this program will be reviewed on a rolling basis between the opening date and the deadline.
Application Deadline: Nov 1, 2015
SIT Pell Grant Match Award. SIT Study Abroad provides matching grants to all students receiving Federal Pell Grant funding; this award can be applied to any SIT semester program. View all SIT Study Abroad scholarships.
The tuition fee covers the following program components:
The room and board fee covers the following program components:
International Airfare to Program Launch Site
International airline pricing can vary greatly due to the volatility of airline industry pricing, flight availability, and specific flexibility/restrictions on the type of ticket purchased. Students may choose to take advantage of frequent flyer or other airline awards available to them, which could significantly lower their travel costs.
International Phone: Each student must have a phone in each country. Cost varies according to personal preferences, phone plans, data plans, etc.
Personal expenses during the program vary based on individual spending habits and budgets. While all meals and accommodations are covered in the room and board fee, incidentals and personal transportation costs differ depending on the non-program-related interests and pursuits of each student. To learn more about personal budgeting, we recommend speaking with alumni who participated in a program in your region. See a full list of our alumni contacts. Please note that free time to pursue non-program-related activities is limited.
Please Note: Fees and additional expenses are based on all known circumstances at the time of calculation. Due to the unique nature of our programs and the economics of host countries, SIT reserves the right to change its fees or additional expenses without notice.