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Migration and Transnational Identity

Using a multidisciplinary approach, enrich your understanding of migration through meetings with migrants, local NGOs, international institutions, and effected communities in Morocco and the Netherlands.

At a Glance





Language of Study


Courses taught in



Sep 10 – Dec 23

Program Countries


Program Excursion Countries


Program Base


Critical Global Issue of Study

Identity & Human Resilience


Why study abroad in Morocco?

Get an introduction to the history of migration in Morocco at the ancient Roman site, Volubilis, and the medieval cities of Fes and Meknès. In Rabat, discuss migration issues with prominent university professors and visit Moroccan and United Nations agencies and NGOs dealing with migration. In the northern cities of Tangier and Tétouan, you’ll visit African NGOs working with migrants and the border with Spain, where sustained undocumented migration takes place. On a seven-day stay in the Netherlands, you’ll discuss transnationalism, identity, and integration with Moroccan migrants, Dutch professors, and NGO workers. You will also spend a day with a Moroccan-Dutch community in Amsterdam. You will have the option of either interning with an organization focused on issues related to migration or carrying out an independent research project.


  • Examine the push and pull factors of African migration to Europe.
  • Meet with scholars and professionals working on migration
  • Hear directly from undocumented and documented migrants, asylum seekers, and refugees about their experiences and resilience
  • Observe civil society organizations’ support for migrant groups, including adults, women, and children
  • Explore the impact of migration in the European Union and related issues of integration politics, transnationalism, and identity during a seven-day excursion to the Netherlands


There are no prerequisites; however, students with a background in French will find ample opportunity for French language practice while also learning Arabic.

program map


The Northern Excursion: Tangier, Tétouan, and Chefchaouen

The northern excursion enables students to gain an understanding of migration issues in destination countries through site visits to Moroccan, African, and Spanish migration NGOs supporting various categories of sub-Saharan migrants and refugees in the border cities of Tangier and Tetouan. Visit the border between Morocco and the Spanish enclave of Ceuta, reflect on colonialism, decolonization, and migration. In the mountain city of Chefchaouen, you will observe the impact of migration and remittances on urbanization and local development.

The Netherlands

Interact with three generations of Dutch Moroccan migrants in Amsterdam during a site visit to the NGO Al Maarif Stichting, and discuss issues of integration, identity reconstruction, and cultural resilience in the European context. You will also visit the Dutch NGO Wereldhuis, which supports undocumented migrants in the Netherlands, to learn about the political and legal framework of international migration in Europe. On a boat trip in Amsterdam run by the NGO Rederij Lampedusa, you will ride on vessels once used to smuggle people across the Mediterranean, listen to migrants share about their journeys to the Netherlands, and learn about the city’s history of welcoming and settling migrants.

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.


Program Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the program, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate proficiency in the Arabic language speaking and writing capacity and basic conversational skills in Moroccan colloquial Darija.
  • Explain main migration theoretical issues and the relative analytical importance of various concepts in the study of migration.
  • Articulate push factors of African migration to Europe with specific reference to Moroccan migration.
  • Analyze the international regulatory framework of the protection of refugees and asylum seekers as they apply in the case of Morocco.
  • Assess the European context of migration flows, conflicting political ideologies on migration, the process of integration of third generation of migrants, and transnational identity.
  • Describe the challenges and risks of sub-Saharan migrants’ journey to Morocco including migrant women.
  • Acquire professional experience through internship placement with associations providing child/adult education, cultural animation, or socioeconomic integration of migrants.
  • Synthesize the learning acquired through interaction with academic advisors, resource persons and institutions in an Independent Study Project or internship experience paper.

Read more about Program Learning Outcomes.


Access virtual library guide.

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

  • Factors driving migration in Morocco, North Africa, and sub-Saharan Africa
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  • The EU management of migration in the Mediterranean
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  • African migrant communities in Morocco and resilience
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  • Migration and human rights
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  • Transnationalism and identity among Moroccan migrants to the Netherlands
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  • Gender and migration

Migration and Transnational Identity

Migration and Transnational Identity – syllabus
(AFRS3000 / 3 credits)

This course provides the main context for students to engage academically, epistemologically, and intellectually with the theme of migration and mobility. Students utilize a multi-level and multi-disciplinary approach that considers core issues of local and global cultural politics, development policies and their implications on national economies, local communities, and human rights, all in the context of transnational mobility. The course facilitates the student’s development of critical perspectives capable of assimilating the reality of interconnectedness and trans nationalization not only of problems, but more important, of viable alternatives. The course is divided into modules, which explore the following themes: culture and the Mediterranean space; sub-Saharan African immigrants in Morocco and trans-Saharan crossings and related issues of human rights and refugee status; Moroccan immigrants in Europe and development; European Migration to Morocco, European migration policy, gender and migration, social movements, and transnational identities. Throughout the course, readings and class discussions address issues of religion, race, gender, identity, undocumented and underage migrants, citizenship, and nationality.


Beginning Modern Standard Arabic – syllabus
(ARAB1006-1506 / 6 credits)

Intermediate Modern Standard Arabic – syllabus
(ARAB2006-2506 / 6 credits)

Advanced Modern Standard Arabic – syllabus
(ARAB3006-3506 / 6 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 introduces students to the conceptual and practical tools for gathering primary data and the knowledge and skills that are essential to forming constructive relationships with organizations and/or individuals, which are necessary for completing an academic project in the cultural context of Morocco. In particular, the course enhances students’ skills at building rapport; initiating purposeful dialogue in the cultural context of Morocco; gathering, recording, and analyzing primary data; and writing a scholarly academic report. The course also pays particular attention to U.S. higher education ethical considerations that guide primary data collection and how these could be translated within the local cultural context of Morocco. Broadly, the course introduces students to both qualitative and quantitative approaches of social science field research.

The main emphasis of the course is on the development of empirical tools and ethics of interactive research skills involving the collection of primary data. The course includes lectures on qualitative methods of research in social sciences as well as development of a research proposal or internship proposal, and preparation of an application for review of research with human subjects. All students will participate in an overview of research design and methodological approaches to program themes. Ethical considerations related to conducting research or completing an internship will be discussed. The overall aim is to help students hone their experience-based learning processes and prepare them for the development of an Independent Study Project (ISP), which is largely based on the data gathered from primary sources, or an internship at a local organization.

Independent Study Project or Internship

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)

The Independent Study Project (ISP) is a self-designed research project offering students the opportunity to undertake a personally significant and independent investigation, which highlights  the regional and cultural reality that can only be encountered during a study abroad experience. The ISP is the academic component in which the student most directly applies the concepts, skills, tools, and techniques of experience-based learning articulated through the Research Methods and Ethics course and the thematic course, while enabling students to further integrate their language skills and the contacts they have developed at the level of the international community in Rabat as well as the regional (Moroccan, North African) levels.

Each student will plan, develop, and independently undertake a research project with the advice and guidance of the academic director and the ISP advisor. The topic may be anything of interest to the student, within the scope of the program, and is usually developed out of lectures,  discussions, field visits, and educational excursions. The final project should provide material evidence of students’ capability in utilizing appropriate methodologies and in synthesizing experiences in the host culture in Rabat. Students are expected to complete field-based (non-archival, non-library) research on their topic, submit a written paper, and/or creative project, and      accompanying oral presentation. It is not uncommon for ISPs to strongly contribute to students’ choice of subject for graduate studies or professional career.

Sample ISP topic areas:

  • The relationship between the Kingdom of Morocco and its residents abroad
  • Consequences of irregular migration on racial perceptions
  • African migrants in Morocco
  • LGBT refugees in Morocco
  • Migrant images in Moroccan media
  • Youth and emigration
  • Sub-Saharan immigrants and their integration in Moroccan society
  • European immigration laws and their impact on migration trends in Morocco
  • Migrant remittances and local development
  • Life narratives of migrants
  • Sub-Saharan migration and access to healthcare
  • NGOs and the informal education of migrants in Morocco
  • Migrant women’s activism in Morocco
  • Intercultural mediation and migration
  • European ‘expatriate’ community in Morocco

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


Internship and Seminar
Internship and Seminar – syllabus
(ITRN3000 / 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.

Sample internships:

  • 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



For eight weeks, you will live with a host family in the historic section of Rabat. you’ll experience daily life and get a deeper understanding of the culture. You will participate in every facet of your host family’s life including mealtime, shopping, cafes, attending family events, visiting relatives, and socializing with neighbors.

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).

You will have plenty of opportunities to practice Arabic and gain insight into the multiple uses of this language in real life settings.

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.

Excursion & Orientation Accommodations

Hostels, private homes, or small hotels.

Career Paths

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. Recent positions held by alumni of this program include:

  • Intern at an immigration law firm

  • Intern at the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Geneva, Switzerland

  • Fulbright scholars

  • Education volunteer with the Peace Corps working with a Haitian immigrant community in the Dominican Republic

Faculty & Staff

Morocco: Migration and Transnational Identity

Et-Tibari Bouasla, PhD bio link
Et-Tibari Bouasla, PhD
Academic Director
Ahlam Baoui bio link
Ahlam Baoui
Program Assistant
Asmae El Laouzi, MA bio link
Asmae El Laouzi, MA
Arabic Instructor
Mariam Bakkali, PhD bio link
Mariam Bakkali, PhD
Founder and Director of LangZone

Discover the Possibilities

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