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Morocco: Field Studies in Journalism and New Media

Morocco: Field Studies in Journalism and New Media

Advance your skills in journalism by studying under the expert guidance of professional journalists in an international environment. Learn from leading Moroccan scholars and experts in fields ranging from politics to art and culture.

This program provides students with an exciting opportunity to learn foreign reporting under the supervision of veteran journalists. Students engage in ongoing reporting assignments in their preferred media format — print, video, audio, photography, and/or multimedia. Students gather, analyze, and craft a major feature story, which has the possibility of being placed in a US media outlet.

Major topics of study include:

  • Identifying original stories, determining newsworthiness and developing techniques for executing an original, well-researched feature of interest to a global audience
  • Finding sources and gaining their trust and conducting interviews in an unfamiliar country and culture
  • Reporting in a manner that adheres to the highest standards of journalism
  • Utilizing technology in remote locations 





Working with a Moroccan journalism partner has been a fantastic part of my experience: We have shared skills, contacts, and ideas, and have become friends in the process. Doing journalism in a foreign country is a challenge, but collaborating with another journalism student with invaluable insight, who can navigate the culture and language easily, has made our work fun and even more enlightening, especially since we are working on a controversial topic (female homosexuality). I feel so lucky to have gotten this opportunity through SIT!

Marie von Hafften, Whitman College

In an increasingly globalized journalism market, Morocco is an ideal setting in which to study, generate news stories, and experience the work of foreign correspondents.

This program is ideally suited to any student with excellent writing and/or multimedia skills, including journalism and communications majors.

Newstand in MoroccoLive and study in Morocco’s capital.

The program is based in Rabat. Most classes are held at the Center for Cross Cultural Learning — SIT’s in-country partner — located in a 19th-century Moorish-style riad in the city’s historic medina. The Center is situated near important cultural sites, including the 12th-century Kasbah Oudaya and the Ville Nouvelle, established by the French colonial administration in the early 1900s. Some program components take place at the Higher Institute of Information and Communication (ISIC), at the Mohammed V University campus.

The city’s newly built tramway has made transportation in the city smoother and more fluid, helping students more easily execute reporting assignments, as well as explore different neighborhoods, such as Madinat al Irfane, the university city. For much of their time in Rabat, students live with a working- or middle-class Moroccan family. 

Advance your journalism and intercultural communication skills.

The program is designed to help students better understand:

  • the main challenges affecting the practice of journalism in Morocco and North Africa;
  • the dominant issues in Moroccan society, such as youth culture and (un)employment, gender issues, identity and ethnicity, urban-rural divisions, mass and social media, religion, education and literacy, art, film and music, and human rights;
  • the demands of news gathering in another culture, reporting/photojournalism that adheres to the highest standards of the profession, and techniques for executing an original, well-researched feature story of interest to a global audience; and
  • how Arabic or French (depending on the student’s course selection) functions in Moroccan culture.

group presenting their papers in MoroccoLearn from a diversity of in-country resources and partners.

Lecturers include experts from the following institutions:

  • Mary Stucky and other journalists affiliated with Round Earth Media, a nonprofit media organization, based in the United States, that works with experienced and early-career journalists to unearth stirring, life-changing stories in underreported areas of the world. These stories find a global audience in many of the world’s most prestigious media outlets. Mary Stucky and her team will introduce students to journalists working in Morocco, including reporters who cover Morocco for top-tier media outlets such as the Associated Press.
  • Higher Institute of Information and Communication, Morocco’s only public school for journalism. American students on this program are partnered with journalism students at ISIC who speak English. Together they produce a major feature story (ISJ).
  • Research Group on Migration and Culture, Faculty of Letters and Human Sciences, Mohammed V University
  • National Council for Human Rights
  • Ecole Supérieure de Journalisme et de Communication (Higher Institute of Journalism and Communication), owned by Ecomédias Press group

Students also engage with high-profile Moroccan journalists. Students are able to draw from these resources to advance their learning throughout the semester.

fieldwork in MoroccoCraft an original, feature-length story for a global audience.

Students spend the majority of the semester finding, researching and executing a story topic of their choosing under the expert guidance of journalists from Round Earth Media. Outstanding features may ultimately be considered for publication (in print, broadcast, or online) in US news outlets with whom Round Earth Media works.
Students might find specific stories for the Independent Study in Journalism within these sample topic areas:

  • Social change and youth movements
  • Morocco’s place within the Arab Spring
  • Women’s health issues in rural Morocco
  • Alternative energies and sustainable development
  • Music festivals as political statements
  • Local farm issues, such as the impact of the Morocco-US free trade agreement
  • Media and the democratization of the political process 

Gain new competencies in Arabic or French.

Students take either Modern Standard Arabic (at the beginning or intermediate level), or French or Arabic (at the intermediate high or advanced level). Although Arabic is Morocco’s official language, French is primarily used in business and government settings.


Previous college-level coursework in writing, journalism, communications, and/or media studies, or other related fields. Strong writing skills and an interest in journalism are essential. A writing sample may be required as part of the admissions process.

Access virtual library guide.

This 15-week-long program consists of Contextual Studies in Journalism: Morocco and North Africa (4 credits), Field Ethics of Journalism in Morocco (3 credits), Independent Study in Journalism (6 credits), and Language Study (3 credits). The Contextual Studies course provides an intense introduction to vital aspects of Morocco and covers a wide range of topics via lectures from prominent academicians and subject-area experts. Students are expected to plumb these lectures for story ideas especially for the full-length feature that will be generated during the Independent Study.

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.

Contextual Studies in Journalism: Morocco and North Africa – syllabus
(JOUR 3000 / 4 credits / 60 class hours)
This interdisciplinary course combines lectures on journalism in the context of Morocco and North Africa and key issues of Moroccan society. Lecture topics from leading Moroccans in the artistic, social, and political realms including established academics include religious values, women’s issues, economy and migration, education and literacy, human rights, and artistic culture. The course covers the history of journalism in the region since Morocco’s independence (in 1956), the role that journalism and broadcast media play in the development of individual and public liberties and a democratic mode of governance, and the role of social media.

Field Ethics of Journalism in Morocco – syllabus
(JOUR 3500 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
This three-part course 1) introduces students to the intricacies of doing journalism in a Moroccan cultural context; 2) provides an overview of the Press Code unique to Morocco and the legal milieu in which Moroccan journalists practice; and 3) covers the ethics of conducting a journalistic assignment in a regional environment. Throughout the course, students learn techniques for accessing local resources, which will aid in gathering information for news and feature stories.

Independent Study Project in Journalism – syllabus
(ISPJ 3000 / 6 credits / 180 class hours)
Students propose, research, and execute a full-length feature (in the media format of their choosing), which will be considered for publication or broadcast in an actual media outlet. Students have the rare opportunity to work alongside journalists from Round Earth Media, whose bylined pieces regularly appear in media outlets around the world. Round Earth Media professionals provide hands-on advice and mentoring at every stage of story development, sharing expertise gathered from years in challenging global reporting situations. Story topics are assessed based on originality, richness, and appeal to a broad global audience. Students learn what it means to organize a story; select sources; question deeply; work toward balance; be alert to bias (and clichés); respond to an editor’s feedback; check facts; rework and rewrite; strive for clarity; and achieve accessible, flowing prose along with, in many cases, images and sound.

Language Study — French or Arabic
Students may choose between Modern Standard Arabic for beginning or intermediate levels or, alternatively, French or Arabic for intermediate high or advanced levels. Students who enter the program with intermediate high or advanced skills in French or Arabic may be able to produce their Independent Study projects in French or Arabic.

Beginning Modern Standard Arabic – syllabus
(ARAB 1000–1500 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
Intermediate Modern Standard Arabic – syllabus
(ARAB 2000–2500 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
Advanced Modern Standard Arabic – syllabus
(ARAB 3000–3500 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
The Arabic courses are designed to prepare students to engage in everyday communication. They integrate reading, writing, listening, grammar, vocabulary, and conversation. Students with prior study in Arabic will notice the use of Modern Standard Arabic throughout the media. Homestays, field excursions, and everyday interactions assist in language acquisition.

French for Media and Communications: Intermediate High – syllabus
(FREN 2500 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
French for Media and Communications: Advanced – syllabus
(FREN 3000–3500 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
These courses aim to enhance students’ skills in French, with emphasis on written and spoken competency. The courses combine communicative exercises, comprehension, presentations, and debates with grammar learning, translation, and composition. The focus is on the French lexicon used in the fields of journalism, media, and communications.

Browse this program's Independent Study Projects / undergraduate research.

Please note that in order to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, program excursions may occasionally vary.

learning guembri in MoroccoImperial Excursion: Meknes, Fes, Marrakech, and Beyond

A six-day excursion takes students through the imperial cities of Meknes and Fes before going southeast to Errachidia, Rissani, and Merzouga. Students also spend time in Ouerzazate, the High Atlas Mountains, and Marrakech. They visit NGOs and local associations and learn about the everyday challenges individuals face in the outer regions of Morocco. The excursion gives students an excellent opportunity to develop new entries in their field notebook and identify potential stories for the Independent Study. Highlights of the imperial excursion include the chance to experience the Moroccan desert.

Rural Morocco

Students have the chance to compare and contrast rural versus urban lifestyles while spending a week in a rural village. During this period, students might become interested in stories, such as girls’ education, dreams of migration, the importance of water, and needs related to key infrastructure such as hospitals and markets. 

This program is directed by Mary Stucky, a veteran journalist from the US who is also president of Round Earth Media, a US-based NGO actively engaged in reinventing journalism by pairing veteran journalists with aspiring reporters to bring stories from places traditional newsrooms seldom visit. Mary Stucky will work in close collaboration with journalists from Morocco, Round Earth Media, and Poynter Institute to facilitate students’ access to a wider scope of local and international veteran journalists. Instruction will be supplemented by a hand-picked team of scholars that will include university professors, researchers, NGO leaders, and subject-area experts from the community. 

Mary StuckyMary Stucky

A founder of Round Earth Media, Mary Stucky is the company’s lead journalist and its president. She has broad media experience as a long-time contributor to public and commercial radio and television, notably, National Public Radio, Public Radio International and America Public Media (e.g., Marketplace, The World, All Things Considered), CBS Radio, FRONTLINE/World, NBC-TV and ABC-TV affiliates, Telemundo, and Univision. Stucky covers social and cultural issues, foreign affairs, public policy, the environment, and immigration, with a focus on underreported issues in neglected regions of the world.
Her reports on Chinese and Hmong immigrants were part of the documentary series “Crossing East,” which won a 2006 Peabody Award, broadcasting’s highest honor. Her reporting awards also include the New York Festival’s Gold World Medal. Prior to founding Round Earth Media, Stucky was a reporter/anchor for the NBC-TV affiliate in Minneapolis. She is a graduate of Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. Mary Stucky started the Field Studies in Journalism and New Media program in spring 2012.

Abdelhay Moudden, PhD, Senior Advisor

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 been the academic director of the SIT Study Abroad Multiculturalism and Human Rights Morocco program 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.

Khadija Zizi, PhD, Academic Coordinator

Khadija Zizi is senior professor of English for journalistic purposes at the Institut Supérieur de l’Information et de la Communication in Rabat, Morocco. She holds a PhD from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and was a Fulbright visiting scholar at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her teaching career, in the US and in Morocco, spans over 25 years. Her research interests include gender, the media, linguistics, cross-cultural communication, and translation.

In 1991, Khadija Zizi was elected president of the Moroccan Association of Teachers of English. She is the founder of her school’s magazine, ISIClick, and is an associate editor of the fourth volume of Women Writing Africa (2009).

She enjoys travelling, writing poetry, and painting, and her artwork has been exhibited in national and international art shows.

Said Graiouid, PhD, Lecturer

Said Graiouid is SIT Study Abroad’s academic dean for the Middle East, North Africa and Europe and head of the Research Group of Migration and Culture at University Mohammed V-Agdal, Rabat. He has an MA (1989) in comparative literature and critical theory from University Mohammed V-Agdal, Rabat, Morocco, and a PhD (2000) in communication and cultural studies from the School of Performing Arts, University of Surrey, UK. From 1992 to 1996, he had a Fulbright Scholarship to study at the Radio-Television-Film Department at the University of Texas at Austin.
Since 1986, Dr. Graiouid has served as an assistant professor and then full professor of communication and cultural studies at University Mohammed V-Agdal, where he has designed, coordinated, and taught undergraduate and graduate courses in cultural studies, communication, migration, postcolonial theory, and media studies. He was also a founding faculty of the communication studies program at Al Akhawayn University, Ifrane, Morocco, and the Institute for Language and Communication Studies in Rabat. Dr. Graiouid is the general editor of Langues et Littératures, University Mohammed V-Agdal's journal in the humanities and social sciences.
Dr. Graiouid's most recent publications are the book Communication and Everyday Performance: Public Space and the Public Sphere in Morocco (2011) and a co-edited book entitled International Education & Global Justice.

Students experience everyday life in Morocco and improve language skills by living with local host families. The program’s two very different homestay experiences — in Rabat and a small village — reveal the enormous contrast between life in urban and rural Morocco.

homestay in RabatRabat homestay

Students live with local families in Rabat’s 17th-century medina for eight weeks. Accompanied by their host family, students may shop in the souk, visit local cafés, and take bread to the neighborhood faran (local bakery). They may also visit the hammam (Moroccan public bath). Homestays provide an opportunity to participate in family events such as weddings, newborn naming ceremonies, and community soccer matches.

The homestay in Rabat is coordinated by the program's host institution, the Center for Cross Cultural Learning, which has been working with Moroccan homestay families for more than a decade.

Village homestay

Students live with Moroccan families in an inland village near Oulmes for four days. During the time in the village, students meet in discussion groups with rural youth to debate such topics as education, employment, and prospects for the future. As they experience Moroccan daily life far from the coast, students acquire a stronger sense of rural gender dynamics, as well as many of the development challenges faced by rural Moroccan communities.

Other accommodations during the program could include hostels or small hotels.

Program Dates: Fall 2015

Program Start Date:  Aug 30, 2015

Program End Date:    Dec 12, 2015

The dates listed above are subject to change. 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:   Jun 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.

Tuition: $15,015

The tuition fee covers the following program components:

  • Cost of all lecturers who provide instruction to students in:
    • Journalism in context
    • Cultural representation in Morocco
  • Field Ethics of Journalism in Morocco course
  • Intensive language instruction in Arabic or French
  • All educational excursions to locations such as the cities of Meknes, Fes, Errachidia, Rissani, Merzouga, Ouerzazate, the High Atlas Mountains, and Marrakech, including all related travel costs
  • Independent Study in Journalism (including a stipend for accommodation and food)
  • Health insurance throughout the entire program period

Room & Board:$2,960

The room and board fee covers the following program components:

  • All accommodations during the entire program period. This includes during orientation, time in the program base (Rabat), on all planned educational excursions, during the Independent Study Project, and during the final evaluation period. Accommodation is covered either by SIT Study Abroad directly, through a stipend provided to each student, or through the homestay.
  • All homestays (eight weeks in Rabat and four days in a rural village)
  • All meals for the entire program period. Meals are covered either by SIT Study Abroad directly, through a stipend, or through the homestay.

Estimated Additional Costs:

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.

Visa Expenses: Not yet available.

Immunizations: Varies

Books & Supplies: $120

International Phone: Each student must have a phone in each country. Cost varies according to personal preferences, phone plans, data plans, etc.

Discretionary Expenses

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.


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