Morocco

Migration and Transnational Identity

Using a multidisciplinary approach, enrich your understanding of migration through meetings with asylum seekers, Syrian refugees, Moroccan immigrants in Europe, and effected communities.

At a Glance

Credits

16

Prerequisites

None

Language of Study

Arabic

Courses taught in

English

Dates

Jan 26 ‎– May 9

Program Countries

Morocco

Program Excursion Countries

Netherlands

Program Base

Rabat

Critical Global Issue of Study

Identity & Human Resilience

Identity & Human Resilience Icon

Overview

Why study migration 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. From your base within Rabat’s 16th-century medina, 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. On a seven-day stay in the Netherlands, you’ll discuss transnationalism, identity, and integration with Moroccan migrants, Dutch professors, and NGO workers.

Highlights

  • Examine the historical, economic, political, and cultural roots of migration
  • Live and study in Rabat's centuries-old medina
  • Meet regularly with Moroccan students to discuss program issues
  • Hear directly from sub-Saharan asylum seekers and Syrian refugees about their experiences
  • Explore the impact of migration during a seven-day excursion to the Netherlands

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

Imperial Cities

You will spend three days visiting the imperial city of Meknes, the ancient Roman city Volubilis,  the ancient city of Fes and the town of Moulay-Idriss Zerhoun, Morocco’s Mecca. During this excursion, 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.

Tangier and Fnideq

While visiting Tangier and Fnideq, Morocco’s Mediterranean cities, you’ll observe populations with transnational identity and learn about international migration. During this excursion, you’ll visit organizations working with youth from marginalized urban neighborhoods and illegal youth migration. At the border, 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.

Amsterdam

On a seven-day trip to Amsterdam, you’ll interact with the growing community of Moroccans and explore the impact of migration on European communities. You will become familiar with debates about the growing Muslim presence in Europe, including varied reactions of Dutch politicians and the rise of anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim parties. You will also hear success stories and the issue of integration into wider society.

You will meet Moroccan migrants, including first-generation women and second-generation Moroccan-Dutch elected officials and discuss key themes with Dutch students.

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

Academics

Coursework

Access virtual library guide.

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. Study of Arabic opens windows into the culture and the program’s theme.

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
  • Effects of human mobility on communities, politics, and economies
  • Moroccan immigrants in Europe, the cross-border labor force, and Morocco-European Union relations
  • Perceptions of Moroccan immigrants and Islam in the Netherlands
  • Social and psychological impacts of migration
  • 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.

Arabic

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 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 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 in Morocco appropriate to the project. Students work closely with their academic director and a local advisor to design and build their Independent Study Project (ISP). Field-based ISPs on migration include the study of socioeconomic conditions of migrants, healthcare and social protection, informal and formal education, migrants rights, migrant women, local perceptions of migration, intercultural communication, identity and resilience among migrant communities.

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
  • Causes and consequences of clandestine migration
  • 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.

OR

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

Homestays

Rabat

You will live with a family for eight 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

During excursions, accommodations include hostels, guesthouses 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
Academic Director
Badrdine Boulaid, MA
Program Assistant
Abdelhay Moudden, PhD
Senior Advisor
Bouchra Sahimda
Language Director
Doha Lmachichi
Homestay Director

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.

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  • ACCESSIBILITY

    Prepare for an accessible educational experience with SIT Study Aborad! In-country conditions and resources vary by site. Students with disabilities are encouraged to contact disabilityservices@sit.edu for more information.

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