Morocco: IES Abroad, Rabat
The city of Rabat is one of Morocco’s four Imperial cities and has been the capital of Morocco since 1912. Situated on the Atlantic Ocean, Rabat boasts a beautiful coastline with both rock and sand beaches that can be enjoyed year-round because of the pleasant climate. In addition to its natural beauty, Rabat’s architecture embodies a unique blend of old and new, both ancient and modern. The French occupation in the early twentieth century helped establish Rabat as the country’s political center with the rise of NGOs, international organizations, and the leading university, Universite’ Mohammed V.
Spend a semester in this culturally diverse and economically sound city with IES Abroad, whose program focus is on North African and Islamic Studies. Students will learn Arabic and take area studies courses that will provide insight of the history and current issues surrounding Rabat and Morocco. IES Abroad courses are taught in French and English. Business and Engineering courses are taught in English at the International Institute for Higher Education in Morocco. For students who want to challenge themselves, Arabic and French taught courses are available at the Universite’ Mohammed V-Agdal.
Program participants must be 18 years of age, have a 3.0 GPA or better at their home college or university, and have either sophomore, junior, or senior standing at the start of the program.
IES conducts a two weeks of orientation in Fez that covers topics such as academics, intercultural issues, housing, transportation, and health and safety. The orientation will also introduce students to the IES Abroad Rabat staff. During this period, students are accommodated in homestays, where two meals a day are provided. In the mornings, students take Colloquial Moroccan Arabic in the required intensive (one-credit) course, and afternoons are spent taking guided tours by Moroccan students, sitting through lectures, or other excursions related to the culture. Field trips to Meknes and Volubilis are a part of the orientation as well.
Students have the option of doing an internship during their semester abroad. IES places students with NGOS, schools, museums, and businesses. For most internships, French or Arabic proficiency is required. In addition to work experience, students are required to take an internship seminar, which includes assigned readings, lectures, and discussions pertaining to the field.
IES Abroad organizes several field trips—day and overnight—throughout the semester to locations in Morocco and Spain (Sahara Desert and Granada). The day trips occur during the orientation when IES brings program participants to Fez, the traditional capital of Morocco and largest medieval city in the world. Participants also visit Meknes and Volubilis. The multi-day field trips allow students to explore different regions and cities of historical importance. Trips and activities include riding a camel through the Sahara Dessert and camping in Berber tents overnight; visiting the Alhambra and Cordoba’s ancient mosque built in the 700s with the trip to Granada and Cordoba, Spain; and hiking through the Middle Atlas Mountains and then spending the night with a local family. (The Sahara Desert trip is included in the program fee.)
Students have two options for housing—homestays and residence hall. In the homestays, students live with a family within close proximity to the IES Abroad Center. Two meals are provided each day. In the residence hall (which is about 20 to 30 minutes by taxi or public transportation from the IES Abroad Center) students live among other international students. Meals are not included in this option, but students do have access to kitchen facilities.