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



Jan 31 ‎– May 14

Online Component

Jan 31 ‎– Feb 4

On Site Component

Feb 7 ‎– May 6

Online Component

May 9 ‎– May 14

Program Countries


Program Excursion Countries


Program Base


Critical Global Issue of Study

Identity & Human Resilience

Identity & Human Resilience Icon


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. 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 historical, economic and political roots 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.


Imperial Cities

You will spend three days visiting the imperial city of Meknes, the ancient Roman city Volubilis and  the ancient city of Fes.  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, Tétouan, and Chefchaouen

While visiting Tangier and Tétouan, 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 undocumented migrants and others advocating for migrants rights. In the mountain city of Chefchaouen, you’ll observe the impact of migration and remittances on urbanization and local development.


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 spend a day with a Moroccan-Dutch community in Amsterdam meeting with three generations of Moroccans living in the Netherlands. Presentations and discussions will cover transnationalism, education, gender, and identity.

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.



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
  • The EU management of migration in the Mediterranean
  • African migrant communities in Morocco and resilience
  • Migration and human rights
  • Transnationalism and identity among Moroccan migrants to the Netherlands
  • 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 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. RME also addresses key ethical issues pertaing to internship in the context of Morocco.

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.


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



Your accommodations will be in a downtown hotel in Rabat with easy access to the SIT learning center, museums, libraries, and recreation facilities. You will break bread with a Moroccan family once a week and become familiar with the sounds and gestures of Arabic as it is spoken in Morocco (Darija).

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
Ahlam Baoui
Program Assistant
Abdelghani Al Ouadali
Arabic Teacher
Mariam Bakkali, PhD
Founder and Director of LangZone

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

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