Morocco: Migration and Transnational Identity

“It was the best decision in my college career to take part in SIT Morocco.”

-- Karolina Dos Santos, Harvard College

Explore the complex effects of human mobility on local communities, global politics, and transnational economies.

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Read our interview with Dr. Souad Eddouada, academic director, as she discusses why students should study migration in Morocco.

This program examines the factors driving internal and international migration in Morocco and elsewhere in North and sub-Saharan Africa. Students 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.

The program is based in Rabat, Morocco's academic, political, and cultural center. In Rabat, students receive thematic lectures and intensive language instruction in Modern Standard Arabic that includes 15 hours of Moroccan dialect. Learn more about the program’s coursework.

Excursions to northern and rural areas of Morocco as well as to Amsterdam in the Netherlands illuminate many different aspects of migration. Learn more about these excursions.

Students learn from Moroccan and European academics and policymakers, NGO and human rights activists, artists, and experts in the area of migration as it relates to law, international relations, and development. Lecturers are drawn from institutions such as:

Throughout the semester, students are deeply immersed in Moroccan society and culture. Homestays give students exposure to different Moroccan perspectives and daily life.

Read "'The world upside down': The rise of Spanish immigration to Morocco" by SIT student Karis Hustad. Published in The Christian Science Monitor, the article features a video by SIT student Rose Gunson.

Students on SIT’s three Morocco programs recently participated in a youth symposium in Rabat that brought together approximately 100 young Americans and Moroccans. Entitled “Youth & Civil Society,” the event — held at University of Mohammed V — sparked dialogue and debate. Read more about this symposium in an article written by fall 2012 student Karis Hustad. 

Asif Majid Asif Majid (University of Maryland, Baltimore County) studied on the SIT Morocco Migration program in fall 2011. He recently published a book entitled This Moroccan Life that was informed by his research and experiences on the program. Learn more.

People in Transit
Students on the Migration and Transnational Identity program examine how Morocco’s diverse human mobility has shaped, and continues to shape, the country's class and economic structures, ethnic and racial relations, and the overall tapestry of Moroccan culture and society.

Morocco has long been at the crossroads of human civilizations. Over thousands of years, successive civilizations have emigrated and settled in Morocco, including the Phoenicians, Vandals, Byzantines, Carthaginians, Romans, and eventually Arab tribes who moved from Arabia. Moments of intense mobility can be traced back to Moroccans' migration to Andalusia, the waves of Andalusian Muslim and Jewish refugees who fled Europe in the wake of the Spanish Reconquista and Inquisition, and the migratory flux to Morocco from a number of European countries during the colonial expansion.

Since its independence in 1956, Morocco has been a major source of unskilled, and more recently skilled, labor for expanding European economies. Today, Europe is home to more than two million first-, second-, and third-generation Moroccans. More recently, Morocco has moved from being a mere "labor frontier" country for Europe to becoming a popular country of transit for sub-Saharan African migrants, and it is rapidly becoming a receiving country of immigrants, as well.

Browse this program's Independent Study Projects/Undergraduate Research

Costs Dates

Credits: 16

Duration: 15 weeks

Program Base: Rabat

Language Study: Arabic

Prerequisites: None; however, students with a background in French or Spanish will have opportunities for French/Spanish language practice while also learning Arabic. Read more...


View Student Evaluations for this program:

About the Evaluations (PDF)

Fall 2013 Evaluations (PDF)
Spring 2013 Evaluations (PDF)
Fall 2012 Evaluations (PDF)

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