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SIT Morocco Multiculturalism & Human Rights

Fast Facts

Sessions Offered:

Fall, Spring

Location:

Rabat, Morocco

Credit:

Transfer

Program Features

Affiliated Program
Research
Internship

Eligibility:

- 2.5 GPA

- Good academic and disciplinary standing

Application Due:

Spring 9/27

Fall 3/4

Royal Palace in Rabat with flag

SIT Study Abroad offers more than 60 accredited semester and summer study abroad programs in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East. SIT also offers the International Honors Program, which is multi-locational.

The SIT Experience

  • Rigorous academic programs through a field-based, experiential approach
  • Undergraduate research through an Independent Study Project
  • Cultural immersion through fieldwork, language classes, and urban and rural homestays with local families
  • A small group of students in each program, supported by SIT faculty and staff, homestay families, in-country experts, and community members
  • Access to SIT's extensive local resources and networks
  • A commitment to reciprocity as the foundation of our educational philosophy

Academic Program

This program examines human rights, religion, politics, and cultural diversity in Morocco contextualized within the broader region and beyond. You will consider Morocco’s cultural, historical, and ecological diversity and the role Morocco has played and continues to play in relation to Africa and Europe. A particular focus on gender issues includes looking at women’s roles in contemporary Moroccan society and Moroccan feminism.

Major topics of study include:

  • The interplay between authoritarianism and human rights
  • Tensions between secular and religious approaches to individual freedoms
  • Liberal reforms (proposed and enacted) in areas such as ethnicity, women's rights, and state violence

For more information, see SIT's webpage.

Program Structure

plaza square with two women sitting on ground

Interdisciplinary Seminars

Thematic seminars merge student experience with academic theory to examine critical issues from multiple perspectives. Students learn from SIT faculty as well as guest lecturers from local universities, research institutes, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and community and professional associations. Field-based activities and assignments complement readings, discussions, and research papers, allowing students to engage in a variety of study methods.

Intensive Language Study

Programs typically offer language study at the intermediate and advanced levels and/or beginning instruction in a less commonly taught language spoken by the local community. Language courses incorporate formal classroom instruction, discussion, and field exercises designed to enhance student engagement while improving oral and written competence. Select programs are taught entirely or partly in the target language.

Research Methods and Ethics

Students learn appropriate methodologies that prepare them to undertake fieldwork on topics connected to the program’s theme and specific cultural context. Students develop research skills and approaches including cross-cultural adaptation and skill building; project selection and refinement; contact and resource cultivation; observation and interviewing skills; gathering, organizing, and presenting findings; and maintaining a field journal. Students also examine the ethics and impact of their research on local communities and are required to follow the World Learning/SIT Human Subjects Review Policy, which serves as an approval process and guide for ethical field study practices.

Independent Study Project (ISP)

Typically conducted during the last month of the semester, the ISP allows students to pursue original field-based research on a topic of their choice within the program’s thematic parameters. The academic director advises each student on developing a project plan. Students also identify an ISP advisor who works with the student on the design, implementation, and evaluation of the student’s research project. Final projects generally include a 20- to 40-page paper and presentation to peers, academic staff, and interested members of the host community.

University of Iowa students who complete an Independent Study Project (ISP) must follow University of Iowa Institutional Review Board (IRB) policies and procedures. For more information on the Iowa IRB process please visit the Undergraduate Research Abroad webpage. An additional pre-departure orientation session, hosted by the Iowa IRB, will be offered on campus to help answer questions and ensure compliance.

Cultural Activities

Travel throughout Morocco is a key component to the program. You will visit the Middle Atlas, the Southern Palm Tree Valleys, the Erg and Hmada Deserts, the High Atlas, and Marrakech, learning about the culture, people, and varied geography of the country. During these excursions, you’ll explore Morocco’s history, indigenous industries, development issues, impact of tourism, civil society, environmental challenges, and cultural diversity while meeting with Berbers, Jews, and Arabs. You will have the opportunity to make observations and reflect on what you see through photographic essays, discussions with specialists, and mapping exercises.

Program Dates

Spring Semester: Late January - Mid May

Fall Semester: Early September - Mid-December

For more information

Steps to Studying Abroad

  1. Before initiating an application with SIT, students must complete a Discover Study Abroad session at the University of Iowa. 
  2. After completing the Discover Abroad session, students must call the Study Abroad office at 319-335-0353 to be assigned to the appropriate study abroad advisor.
  3. Once assigned, students must meet with their study abroad advisor to receive program application instructions.
  


Study Abroad
1111 University Capitol Centre
Iowa City, IA 52242

Phone: 319-335-0353
Email: study-abroad@uiowa.edu

Rabat, Morocco

barrels of spices in a market

This program is based in Rabat. Most classes are held at the Center for Cross Cultural Learning — SIT’s in-country partner — located in a 19th-century Moorish-style riad in the city’s historic medina. The Center is situated near important cultural sites, including the 12th-century Kasbah Oudaya and the Ville Nouvelle, established by the French colonial administration in the early 1900s. Some program components take place at the Higher Institute of Information and Communication (ISIC) at the Mohammed V University campus.

The city’s newly built tramway has made transportation in the city smoother and more fluid, helping you more easily execute reporting assignments, as well as explore different neighborhoods, such as Madinat al Irfane, the university city. For much of your time in Rabat, you will live with a working- or middle-class Moroccan family.

Safety

Tram going through city center in Rabat

SIT places the highest priority on the health, safety, and security of all students. Through their 80-plus years of running international experiential education programs, they have developed sophisticated proactive and reactive risk management strategies. Their proactive risk management begins with in-country assessments of safety and continues through student orientation and emergency preparedness. Their reactive risk management strategies include 24/7 on-call availability, emergency/crisis response protocols, and comprehensive student insurance. Their structure also allows for rapid response and adjustment to changing situations.
Morocco Travel Information

US Department of State Country Information

The US Department of State provides safety and security information for every country of the world to help you assess for yourself the risks of travel. Each country information page contains a Travel Advisory, Alerts, and other important details specific to that country that could affect you.

Pay close attention to the entry and exit requirements, local laws and customs, health conditions, and other details to help decide whether traveling to any given country is right for you. Non-US citizen travelers may also wish to seek guidance from the embassy of their country of citizenship. The UI International Travel Policy for Students addresses restrictions on student travel to high-risk locations and engagement in high-risk activities abroad.

Living Arrangements

Moroccan coast with water

You will experience everyday life in Morocco and improve language skills by living with local host families. The program’s two very different homestay experiences — in Rabat and a small village — reveal the enormous contrast between life in urban and rural Morocco.

Rabat homestay

You will spend eight weeks living with a host family in Rabat, where you can practice language skills and get a closer sense of Moroccan culture and society "at work."

Host families share a passion for building cross-cultural friendships and typically invite their students to participate in the family’s daily life. Activities could include attending family parties, visiting relatives, going to the movies with a host sibling, enjoying long dinners, socializing with neighbors over Moroccan tea, and exploring medina souks, sites, and the city center.

Most host families live in the city’s historic medina and are a short walking distance from the Center for Cross Cultural Learning and downtown area.

Rural Stay

For six days, you will stay with a host family in Ait Ouahi, a village of about 400 inhabitants located in the Middle Atlas Mountains. The village is a short distance from Oulmes, a small city known for its mineral water, livestock, and fruit. The middle school, high school, and hospital used by the villagers are located in Oulmes.

Most of the residents of Ait Ouahi speak Tamazight (Berber), and a few speak Moroccan Arabic. Most families work in agriculture for local consumption. You will share in the daily activities of your host families: farming, taking care of livestock, cooking, and singing and dancing in communal ceremonies. You will also contribute to community development activities at the village’s elementary school (e.g. tree planting and teaching English) and engage in group discussions with village residents. Most homes in the village have electricity and Turkish toilets.

Other accommodations during the program include hostels, private homes, or small hotels.

Educational Excursions

Rabat downtown at night

Southern Excursion

The southern excursion covers a wide geographic area; you will experience the Middle Atlas and its cedar forest, the High Atlas Mountains and their breathtaking gorges, and the desert. The excursion is punctuated by lectures and field study exercises. Topics of study include sustainability challenges in the Middle Atlas region, nomadic history and culture, and multiculturalism. You will have numerous opportunities to engage with the cultures of local communities. The excursion includes a camel ride on the sand dunes in Merzouga and a performance by a Gnawa music band in the heart of the desert.

Northern Excursion

A weekend trip to the northern part of the country highlights Morocco’s cultural diversity, and you will learn about various topics related to multiculturalism and human rights. You will visit the city of Ouezzane, the spiritual capital of the north; Chefchaouen; Fnideq; and the enclave of Ceuta. Various themes are discussed during the excursion either through lectures by the academic directors or through presentations by students.

Village Stay

The village stay takes place in the village of Ait Ouhai in the Middle Atlas Mountains in the province of Oulmes. Ait Ouhai is a reference to the tribe that settled in the area centuries ago. The spoken language in the village is Tamazight (Berber), and some families speak Moroccan Arabic. Most people work in agriculture and ranching. In addition to the homestay, which is one of the highlights of the excursion, you will participate in different activities, e.g. group discussions with villagers and young students, activities with children at a local school, planting trees, hiking, and learning the local dance of Ahaidous.

Passport

US Citizens

If you do not have a passport, it is important that you apply for one as soon as possible to ensure you receive it before the program begins. US citizens can find more information about how to apply for a passport on the US Department of State’s website.

Important notice for students without a valid passport or whose passport will expire within the next 12 months:

US citizens can find more information about how to renew a passport on the US Department of State’s website.

Students without a valid passport should apply for a new passport or a passport renewal as early as possible.

Students with a valid passport should check the expiration date. Passports must be valid for at least 6 months AFTER the anticipated return to the US from studying abroad. If your passport is not valid for at least 6 months after your anticipated date of return to the US, you must renew your passport before applying for the visa you will need to enter your host country.

Expedited processing service is available for US passports (although this still takes several weeks and is at an additional cost). UI Study Abroad encourages students to ask the passport agency at the time of application whether expedited service is recommended.

Non-US Citizens

Students who are not US citizens should contact Ryan Ourada (ryan-ourada@uiowa.edu) for information on how to ensure that their passport is valid for the duration of their time abroad.

Flights

Students will work with their program provider to make travel arrangements to their program site. The cost of travel is not included in the course fee. UI Study Abroad will not arrange a group flight to your study abroad destination.

Do not purchase plane tickets until you have received instructions on how to do so from your program provider.

Local Transportation

Within your host city and around the country, students will utilize public transportation such as buses and trains. Excursions and general travel require a lot of walking, so bring some comfortable shoes!

Eligibility

Students must have a 2.5 GPA or higher, and be in good academic and disciplinary standing. You must be in good academic and disciplinary standing with the university at the end of the semester, too. If you are not in good standing at the end of the semester, your acceptance will be revoked and you will be responsible for the associated withdrawal fees.

Costs

PDFSpring 2018 Cost Sheet

PDFFall 2017 Cost Sheet
Updated cost sheet is forthcoming

These documents outline the total estimated costs associated with participating in this program and can be used for financial aid purposes. They include fees charged on students’ U-Bill as well as out-of-pocket expenses. Actual out-of-pocket expenses will vary from individual to individual. Quoted estimates are conservatively high, yet realistic.

The cost sheet includes the Study Abroad Administrative Fee and Mandatory Iowa Regents CISI Travel Insurance. Please see the respective websites for further details. If the fee is inclusive of UI tuition, it is calculated by Current Tuition. Please contact your study abroad advisor with questions regarding this cost sheet – call 319-335-0353 to schedule an appointment.

Upfront, out-of-pocket expenses

Some costs are incurred prior to departure and will be due before financial aid/scholarship disperse. Here are the expected upfront costs for SIT:

  • Iowa application fee: $50
  • Airfare: $1,000-$1,500
  • Passport: $135

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Most financial aid (scholarships, grants, and loans) is applicable to study abroad programs. Please check the Study Abroad website for information on financial aid and how it may be applied to studying abroad. You are also encouraged to speak with someone at the Office of Student Financial Aid to explore financial aid options.

Scholarship opportunities exist for study abroad participants. Please explore Study Abroad’s websites for UI Study Abroad Scholarship Opportunities and Non-UI External Awards.

SIT automatically gives students from Big Ten institutions a $1,500 scholarship. There is no application necessary — the amount is automatically credited to your account. SIT offers additional awards that can be found on SIT's webpage.

Pell Grant Recipients will have their application fee waived by SIT, are eligible for additional SIT scholarships, and are competitive candidates for the Department of State's Gilman Scholarship. Please talk to your Study Abroad Advisor for more details.

Withdrawal policy

SIT's withdrawal policy can be found here: Withdrawal and Cancellation. After applying and being accepted students will then be asked to confirm their participation in the program. After confirmation, students are responsible for the following:

Date of Withdrawal Student Financial Responsibility
After submitting the Confirmation of Participation Study Abroad Administrative fee: $400
Portion of course fee: As determined by the program contract with SIT
Less than 30 days before the program start date Study Abroad Administrative fee: $400 or 50%, whichever is greater
Portion of course fee: As determined by the program contract with SIT
On or after the program start date Study Abroad Administrative fee: 100%
Portion of course fee: As determined by the program contract with SIT

Consult with your Study Abroad advisor for any clarification about fees and billing. Note that when you withdraw from a program, any money already paid directly to a program provider and/or a host university will potentially be forfeited. Check with your specific provider/host university for details. Additional penalties for cancellation of airline tickets may also apply. Check with your airline for further details.

Application Deadline

Spring: September 27

Fall: March 4

How to Apply

You can find the application for this program on our website here: UI Study Abroad Application. Applicants must meet with a Study Abroad advisor before their application will be processed. You can schedule a meeting by calling 319.335.0353.

Participants must also complete the SIT application and complete all the application components by SIT's deadline. The SIT application can be found here: SIT Application.

Acceptance and Confirmation Materials

Coming soon.

Health & Safety Planning

In addition to submitting their Confirmation of Participation form, students should review the following:

Study Abroad Resources

Passports and Visas

Iowa Regents CISI Health Insurance Information

Students are also encouraged to complete the PDFHealth Preparation Guide for International Travel form with their medical practitioner. This document is intended to help you plan for your medical needs abroad. Please DO NOT turn this form in to UI Study Abroad.

Scholarships & Financial Aid

For more information about receiving financial aid while studying abroad, please review the following:UI Financial Aid Information

You can find more information about options for funding your study abroad experience including scholarships on Undergraduate Scholarships for Study Abroad.

In addition, take a look at SIT Scholarship website for information about scholarships offered directly through your program provider.

Visa

U.S. passport holders should follow the Visa batch process instructions provided by SIT. Make sure to submit all required documents by the submission deadline. Otherwise you will have to apply for your student visa independently.

U.S. Citizens will need a student visa if they are going abroad for a semester, or academic year. Typically, they will not need a visa for the summer sessions.

UI Study Abroad will hold advising appointments and/or information sessions to provide details on the visa application process. UI Study Abroad staff can provide some assistance on the Italian visa application process, but ultimately the individual traveler (the student) is the person who is responsible for providing correct information on the visa application and securing the visa and all other required documentation prior to travel.

Prior to starting the visa application process check in with SIT for more information; they have a preferred timeline that students need to follow.

Orientation

In order to prepare for your time abroad, you are required by the University of Iowa to complete two orientations. These may be in addition to orientations provided by your on-site provider. See below for more information.

Online Education Abroad Pre-Departure Orientation

You are required to complete the International Programs ICON course "Education Abroad Pre-Departure Orientation" prior to departure. This orientation is mandatory for all students going abroad under the auspices of the University of Iowa. It covers many practical matters about living overseas, such as health and safety, communication, money, goals, and much more. You will be enrolled in this course by International Programs and an email will be sent to you once enrolled. If you have any questions, you can email safety-abroad@uiowa.edu

Program-Specific Orientation

This orientation will be facilitated by your study abroad advisor and will cover content specific to your program and host country. It could be conducted in a group setting or one-on-one depending on your type of planned activity abroad. Your study abroad advisor will send you more information about this mandatory in-person session.

Pre departure Resources

SIT will provide you with a variety of pre-departure resources to prepare you for your study abroad experience. These will include a packing list, cultural information, housing instructions, etc. Ensure that you thoroughly review any information provided to you by SIT and refer back to it if you have any questions.

These materials may be periodically updated to reflect new program information prior to departure. Be sure to check your SIT Account often.