Morocco

Arabic Language and Community Service

Advance your spoken and written Arabic skills through community service and immersion in Moroccan culture.

At a Glance

Credits

9

Prerequisites

None

Language of Study

Arabic

Courses taught in

English

Dates

Jun 7 ‎– Jul 26

Program Countries

Morocco

Program Base

Rabat

Critical Global Issue of Study

Identity & Human Resilience

Identity & Human Resilience Icon

Overview

Why study Arabic in Morocco?

Please note that SIT will make every effort to maintain its programs as described. To respond to emergent situations, like COVID-19, however, SIT may have to change or cancel programs.

In Rabat’s centuries-old medina, rapidly develop your Arabic skills through intensive study, homestays, and frequent outings within the community. Bargain with shopkeepers in souks, order mint tea in cafés, discuss current issues with Moroccan university students, and learn about Moroccan history and arts at museums and monuments. You’ll travel to Meknes, Volubilis, and Fes. Explore small towns in the Rif Mountains such as Chefchaouen and Ouezzane, and experience rural life in a nearby village. You’ll also complete a community service project with a Moroccan NGO.

Highlights

  • Hone your Arabic skills through language classes, outings, and homestay
  • Experience Moroccan culture through activities such as cooking, calligraphy, and costuming
  • Participate in a community service project working with a Moroccan NGO
  • Explore small towns in the Rif Mountains and get a taste of rural life in a nearby village

Prerequisites

None

Excursions

Highlights of your excursion on this program include:

Fes
You’ll stroll though the labyrinth of ninth-century Fes and explore the oldest Islamic city in the country. Fes’s thousands of alleyways are too narrow for cars, making it one of the largest car-free urban zones in the world. Here, you’ll explore shops and stalls selling dates, fragrant spices, and fresh cuts of meat, as well as  mosques and madrasas (Islamic schools). One of the highlights is the open air tannery with its enormous stone pits used for centuries to dye animal skins.

Meknes
Known for its imperial past, Meknes boasts a number of 17th century historic sites and is mostly off the tourist map. You’ll take in remnants of its former glory including Bab Mansour, a huge arched gate with colorful mosaic tiling, and the Mausoleum of Sultan Moulay Ismail, who made the city his capital and the founder of the present dynasty.

Volubilis
These partly excavated Roman ruins between Fes and Meknes are the best preserved in the country. Volubilis was part of the administrative center of the Kingdom of Mauretania and was one of the most remote outposts in the Roman empire. You’ll see remains of ancient mosaics, archways, an olive press and hammam (traditional baths).

Ouezzane
In Ouezzane, you’ll experience simple traditional village life in contrast to the urban experience of life in the capital. The excursion includes a short homestay with a family in a village near Ouezzane. You’ll participate in a community project with a local NGO, a group discussion with villagers, and a hiking activity to explore the natural richness of the region.

Chefchaouen
Chefchaouen, also known as Chaouen, is a tranquil town in the Rif Mountains. On your own, you’ll explore its old town with its striking blue-washed buildings where you can meander along steep cobblestone paths leading to traditional weaving and leather workshops. Take a rest in a shady square or kick back with a glass of mint tea and watch the cats wander the streets.

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

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

  • Modern Standard Arabic
  • Colloquial Moroccan Arabic (Darija)
  • Writing skills to produce a short research paper in Arabic

Arabic Writing Seminar

Arabic Writing Seminar – syllabus
(ARAB3050 / 3 credits)

This course aims to introduce students with no prior background in the Arabic language to the writing skills necessary for the production of a short paper in Arabic. Students learn how to use an Arabic dictionary, an Arabic keyboard, the Web, and other study resources in Arabic. The content of this course is coordinated by the academic director and the Arabic department so students develop the skills required to produce a written paper in Arabic and perform an oral presentation—in Arabic—of their field study project. The approach of this course is based on combining Arabic language instruction with community service, while giving priority to students’ academic interests.

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 to prepare them to engage in everyday communication. The course integrates instruction in reading, writing, listening, grammar, vocabulary, and conversation. Based on in-country evaluation, including oral proficiency testing for non-beginners, students are placed in intensive beginning, intermediate, or advanced classes. Students also learn spoken Moroccan Arabic (Darija) during program orientation, and then during homestays, lectures, and site visits. Students with prior study in Arabic find reinforcement of Modern Standard Arabic through media such as newspapers, TV, and the Internet.

Community Service Project

Community Service Project – syllabus
(PRAC3000 / 3 credits)

The community service course aims at allowing students to put their academic achievements and personal development into practice in order to gain knowledge and professional skills in their field of study. It helps students gain practical experience in an international framework and gives them the opportunity to develop a deeper interest in a specific field of professional development and to apply theory learned in the classroom to the real world. The course is an academically directed, for-credit, training program through which students gain practical work experience as a volunteer under both academic and professional supervision and guidance. Throughout the summer term, the course focuses on combining academic coursework with community service experience. These two strategies, theoretical and professional, are designed to complement each other. The course focuses on ethics and the cross-cultural experience as well as on methods of fieldwork study and of writing an academic paper. The course is structured to enable students to do community service while allowing contact hours for the accompanying course lectures and meeting sessions.

Homestays

Rabat

The family is the center of life in Morocco and you will live and share meals with a Moroccan family in Rabat for five weeks. You’ll break bread with your host family twice a day as mealtimes are an integral part of the rhythm of live here.

All host families live in Rabat’s historic medina, in Andalusian-style homes characterized by secluded interior courtyards, arched doorways, and blue and white painted outer walls. Host families are an integral part of life in the medina and most residents know everyone in this tightly knit community. You’ll quickly become part of the neighborhood life and will be greeted by shopkeepers and neighbors

Spending time with your host family, you’ll become familiar with the sounds and gestures of Arabic as it is spoken in Morocco. You will also experience multilingualism, since it is common for Moroccans to speak two or more languages.

Rural Homestay

You’ll experience what it’s like to live in a Moroccan village through a homestay with a traditional, modest-income Moroccan family in Ouazzane, a village with Sufi roots at the southwestern edge of the Riff Mountains. You’ll deepen your Arabic language instruction through games and other activities. Village life is more conservative than city dwelling; you will most likely be sharing space with family members of the same gender and should dress appropriately at all times to get the most out of the experience. The program usually concludes with a festive farewell dinner featuring a live musical performance to thank the host families.

Faculty & Staff

Morocco: Arabic Language and Community Service

Badrdine Boulaid, MA
Academic Director
Doha Lmachichi
Homestay Coordinator
Mina Laabadel, MA
Program Assistant
Abdelhay Moudden, PhD
Senior Advisor
Bouchra Sahimda
Language Director
Mohammed Hassar, MD
Health Counselor

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