Morocco

Multiculturalism, Human Rights, & Migration

Examine challenges shaping Morocco and the Arab World since the 2011 Arab Spring. Learn about human rights and social movements and meet with asylum seekers, migrants from sub-Saharan Africa and NGOs working on migration issues.

At a Glance

Credits

16

Prerequisites

None.

Language of Study

Arabic

Courses taught in

English

Dates

Sep 14 ‎– Dec 22

Online Component

Sep 14 ‎– Sep 18

On Site Component

Sep 20 ‎– Dec 17

Online Component

Dec 21 ‎– Dec 22

Program Base

Rabat

Critical Global Issue of Study

Identity & Human Resilience

Identity & Human Resilience Icon

Peace & Justice

Peace & Justice Icon

Overview

This program has been modified with a later in-country start date preceded by one week online. The online portion will include: program orientation; introductory activities to get to know your academic director and local program team; faculty-led sessions; guest lectures to provide the theoretical frameworks for the course and historical background to the sites and partner organizations; readings; preliminary assignments; and discussions about independent study projects and, if applicable, internship opportunities. We will also have online discussions to debrief sessions and prepare you to join faculty, local team, and peers in country. The program will conclude with one final week online. During this week you will present your Independent Research Project or Internship Paper along with final synthesis sessions to reflect on your time abroad.

Morocco is a mix of human and geographic landscapes including the Atlas Mountains, the vast Sahara Desert, and traditional Amazigh villages, where sub-Saharan African cultures are deeply rooted in age-old traditions emphasizing community and family. Against a backdrop of important migration dynamics, this program explores the characteristics, challenges, and complexities of multiculturalism and human rights in Morocco. Excursions will examine social development, international migration issues, gender dynamics, and the role of civil society. Learn the history of migration in Morocco at the ancient Roman site, Volubilis, and the medieval cities of Fes and Meknès. From a base within Rabat’s 16th-century medina, you will discuss migration, human rights and multiculturalism with prominent university professors and visit Moroccan and United Nations agencies and NGOs. In the northern cities of Tangier and Tétouan, you will visit NGOs working for the integration of Moroccan youth and sub-Saharan migrants. A southern excursion will introduce you to the multicultural diversity of Morocco with visits to Amazigh and Sahrawi villages and give you an opportunity to appreciate the efforts of local NGOs to support local development.

Highlights

  • Study issues impacting Morocco and the rest of the Arab World following the Arab Spring in 2011.
  • Meet Amazighs, Jews, Arabs, and sub-Saharan Africans to understand Morocco's cultural diversity.
  • Explore the sand dunes of the Sahara on a camel trek.
  • Examine the historical, economic, political, and cultural roots of migration.
  • Meet regularly with Moroccan students to discuss youth issues.
  • Hear from sub-Saharan asylum seekers and migrants.

Prerequisites

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.

Excursions

Travel throughout Morocco is a key component to the program. This program includes three excursions to northern, eastern, and southern Morocco. You will visit the Middle Atlas, the Southern Palm Tree Valleys, the Erg and Hmada Deserts, the High Atlas, and Marrakech, learning about the culture, people, and varied geography of the country. You will also visit the ancient Roman city of Volubilis and the city of Fes. Finally, you’ll visit the northern cities of Tangier, Tetouan, and Chefchaouen in the Rif mountains.

Southern Life

During the excursion to the south, you’ll explore Morocco’s history, indigenous industries, development issues, tourism, civil society, environmental challenges, and cultural diversity while meeting locals and NGO staff. You will have the opportunity to make observations and reflect on what you see through essays, discussions with specialists, and mapping exercises. During the visit to the imperial cities, you’ll learn about historic migrations in Morocco and get a firsthand look at the impact of modern-day migration on the local economy and culture. You’ll also meet with people from local communities to get their perspectives on migration and development.

Mediterranean Cities

While visiting Tangier and Tetouan, Morocco’s main Mediterranean cities, you’ll observe populations with transnational identity and learn about irregular migration on the border line with Spain. During this excursion, you’ll visit organizations working with youth from marginalized urban neighborhoods and undocumented migrants.

Northern Morocco

At the border with the Spanish enclave of Ceuta, you’ll meet NGOs providing relief services to migrants. In the northern towns of Tetouan and Chaouen, you’ll see the impact of migration and remittances on urbanization and rural development.

Please note that SIT will make every effort to maintain its programs as described. To respond to emergent situations, however, SIT may have to change or cancel programs.

Academics

Coursework

The following syllabi are representative of 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 expand the sections below to see detailed course information, including course codes, credits, overviews, and syllabi.

Key Topics

  • The interplay between authoritarianism and human rights following Morocco's Arab Spring
  • Tensions between secular and religious approaches to individual freedoms
  • Liberal reforms in areas such as human rights and cultural diversity
  • Drivers of migration in Morocco, North Africa, and African sub-Saharan countries
  • Effects of human mobility on communities, politics, and the economy
  • Social and psychological impacts of migration
  • Gender and migration

Multiculturalism, Human Rights, and Migration

Multiculturalism, Human Rights, and Migration – syllabus
(AFRS3000 / 6 credits)

This seminar aims on the one hand, to introduce students to the major current debates on the questions of human rights, multiculturalism, and social movements in the Moroccan hybrid political context. It also seeks to describe and critique the differing approaches, perspectives, and models toward multiculturalism and how they impact the ways in which the politics of identity is played out in the Moroccan context. Furthermore, it analyzes the gap between universal rights and grassroots realities in Moroccan context with attention to issues of power, privilege, and marginalization. 

On the other hand, this seminar provides the main context for students to learn about international migration and its management between Morocco and the EU as well as within Morocco. Issues pertaining to the monitoring of irregular migration to the EU, the externalization of borders, readmission and the integration of migrants within Moroccan society will be thoroughly discussed in the context of Morocco becoming a migration host country. Moreover, this seminar engages with the theme of migration from a multiple disciplinary approach looking at interculturality, transnationalism, and identity. Students utilize a multi-level and multidisciplinary approach that considers core issues about the local and global cultural politics, development policies, and their implications on national economies, local communities, and human rights in the context of transnational mobility. The seminar facilitates the student’s development of a critical perception capable of assimilating the reality about the interconnectedness and trans-nationalization not only of problems, but more importantly, of viable alternatives.

Arabic

Beginning Modern Standard Arabic – syllabus
(ARAB1003-1503 / 3 credits)

Intermediate Modern Standard Arabic – syllabus
(ARAB2003-2503 / 3 credits)

Advanced Modern Standard Arabic – syllabus
(ARAB3003-3503 / 3 credits)

The course is designed to equip students with a proficiency level in spoken Modern Standard Arabic in order to engage in everyday communication. The course integrates the skills of reading, writing, listening, grammar, vocabulary, and conversation. Students with prior study in Arabic will find reinforcement of Modern Standard Arabic through the media. Homestays, field excursions, and everyday interactions assist in language acquisition.

Research Methods and Ethics

Research Methods and Ethics – syllabus
(ANTH3500 / 3 credits)

This course is designed to provide firsthand and experiential knowledge about the richness and challenges of conducting field study in Morocco. It provides the necessary conceptual and methodological thread that enables the student to learn from experience, to apply the knowledge and skills gained in language study and the thematic course, and to prepare to undertake field study in Morocco in strict observance of research procedure involving human subjects and the regulatory ethical norms defined by the Institutional Review Board. At the end of the course, the student should have the cultural understanding and the methodological tools to successfully complete an Independent Study Project. The course is also designed to answer specific concerns that research on migration and multiculturalism generally raises. Migration involves minors, undocumented migrants in transit, friends and families of victims of clandestine migrants, associations providing support to migrants, policymakers, and international organizations. The lectures address issues that pertain to research methods, confidentiality and anonymity of informants, interviewing and data collection, safety and migrant psychology. Individual meetings are scheduled throughout the course to address research objectives and expectations of each student.

Course Options

In addition to taking the above courses, students will also need to enroll in one of the following two courses:

Independent Study Project
Independent Study Project – syllabus
(ISPR3000 / 4 credits)

Conducted in Rabat or another approved location appropriate to the project in Morocco, the Independent Study Project (ISP) offers students the opportunity to undertake significant, specific, and individualized independent study; students apply the concepts and skills of experience-based learning articulated and learned in all other program components. Although the ISP is largely conducted during the last four weeks of the program, considerable planning and preparation for the ISP is done throughout the term. The Research Methods and Ethics course addresses concepts and rationale, methods and techniques, and evaluation of field study, all designed to introduce the student to the general background of field study and to assist them with ISPs that will be of interest to them and relevant to the program theme. The actual fieldwork for the ISP begins with the ISP preparation sessions and individual sessions on resource search and identification of appropriate contacts and resources.

Sample ISP topic areas:

  • Cultural importance of cooking 
  • Fiction and the Moroccan Jewish community 
  • HIV/AIDS in Morocco 
  • Human rights 
  • Informal economy 
  • Inheritance rights and ijtihad 
  • International and local NGO human rights organizations in Morocco 
  • Islam in daily life 
  • Moroccan music and architecture 
  • Moroccan views of the outside world 
  • Multilingualism 
  • Nongovernmental organizations in Morocco 
  • Political pluralism 
  • Rural development projects 
  • Rural schooling 
  • Social organization among tanners 
  • The Arab Spring 
  • The culture of volunteering in Muslim countries 
  • The Sahara question 
  • Women’s issues 

OR

Internship and Seminar
Internship and Seminar – syllabus
(ITRN300 / 4 credits)

This seminar consists of a four-week internship with a local community organization, research organization, business, or international NGO. The aim of the internship is to enable the student to gain valuable work experience and to enhance their skills in an international work environment. Students will complete an internship and submit a paper in which they process their learning experience on the job, analyze an issue important to the organization, and/or design a socially responsible solution to a problem identified by the organization. A focus will be on linking internship learning with the program’s critical global issue focus and overall program theme. 

List of possible placements for Internship:

  • Working within a local NGO advocating migrants’ rights 
  • Teaching English to adult migrants at a local NGO 
  • Participating in the evaluation of migrant startups 
  • Cultural animation with a local NGO 
  • Defending women’s rights within a local NGO 
  • Advocacy and fundraising for a migration NGO 
  • Association Marocaine des Droits Humains 
  • Organisation Marocaine des Droits Humain 
  • Association Marocaine des Droits Humains 
  • Organisation Marocaine des Droits Humain 
  • GADEM (NGOs Network for sub-Saharan migrant’s rights) 
  • Plateforme des Associations et Communautes Subsahariennes au Maroc (ASCOMS) (Platform of Sub-saharan Associations and Communities in Morocco) 
  • Azeta Network for Amazigh Cultural rights 
  • Azeta Network for Amazigh Cultural rights 
  • Association Bayti 
  • Transparency Rabat 
  • Association Tanmia 

Homestays

Rabat

You will live with a family for four weeks in the medina of the capital, Rabat. The historic medina is characterized by Andalusian-style homes with secluded interior courtyards, arched doorways, and blue-and white-painted exterior walls. Most residents know everyone in this tightly knit community, where you’ll quickly become part of neighborhood life.

The family is the center of life in Morocco. You’ll break bread with your host family twice a day as mealtimes are an integral part of the day. Spending time with your host family, you’ll become familiar with the sounds and gestures of Arabic as it is spoken in Morocco (darija).

Through your hosts, you will have a window into the daily life of Moroccans, accompanying members of your host family on regular activities such as shopping in the souk, sitting in cafés, and visiting the local bakery. You’ll also have an opportunity to go to the public bath and cheer at a soccer match. You may even take part in a family wedding or newborn naming ceremony.

During your four-week ISP period, you may choose to continue living with your host family or receive a stipend to arrange your own accommodation.

 

Other accommodations

Hostels, private homes, or small hotels.

Faculty & Staff

Morocco: Multiculturalism, Human Rights, & Migration

Et-Tibari Bouasla, PhD
Taieb Belghazi, PhD

Discover the Possibilities

  • COST & SCHOLARSHIPS

    SIT Study Abroad is committed to making international education accessible to all students. Scholarship awards generally range from $500 to $5,000 for semester programs and $500 to $3,000 for summer programs. This year, SIT will award more than $1.5 million in scholarships and grants to SIT Study Abroad students.

    See Full Breakdown
  • Alumni Stories: Hannah Rose

    SIT Study Abroad Alumni Hannah Rose, Talks about her experience in the SIT program, Morocco: Multiculturalism and Human Rights.

    Video