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SIT Morocco Arabic Language & Community Service

Fast Facts

Sessions Offered:

Summer

Location:

Rabat, Morocco

Credit:

Transfer

Program Features

Affiliated Program
Service-Learning

Eligibility:

- 2.5 GPA

- Good academic and disciplinary standing

Application Due:

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.

Note: This program is not available for the Summer 2021 session.

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

Arabic Language and Community Service

Develop your Arabic skills rapidly through intensive study, field exercises, and interactions with native speakers. Whether your level is beginner or advanced, you’ll receive 45 hours of classroom instruction in Modern Standard Arabic in small groups. You’ll hone your language skills during weekly office hours with language instructors, homestays, and outings. You’ll also receive two sessions of survival Moroccan Arabic (Darija) instruction during orientation, with short lessons provided later as needed.

Explore a specific academic or cultural interest on a topic related to Morocco for the Arabic Writing Seminar. To help you prepare to write, the seminar includes sessions with guest speakers. These sessions are on a range of multidisciplinary topics to help you select a topic for your final paper. The academic director and other supervisors will help you frame your papers and learn techniques to develop a paper in Arabic.

Work with a Moroccan NGO for the Community Service Project. Gain practical work experience at an NGO dealing with social, environmental, human rights, education, or healthcare issues. You will also attend a related weekly course focused on ethics and the cross-cultural experience, fieldwork methods, and writing an academic paper.

For more information, see SIT's webpage.

SIT Academic Program

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.

Student Blogs

Arlinda Fasliu, Spring 2017

Preparing for Morocco: You probably won't need that
The nerve
College student cries on hotel rooftop in Morocco like a big baby- more at 6
The Mr. Crabs meme and your love life abroad
Planning is for the comfortable

Alexandra Kolker, Spring 2015

Livin' the easy life in Morocco
An ode to the family experience: Why you should choose a homestay
Morocco as told in 7 Darija (Moroccan Arabic) Phrases

Cultural Activities

Johannesburg is South Africa’s economic capital and largest city. See the Constitutional Court, the Apartheid Museum, and Nelson Mandela’s House, now a museum, in Soweto—one of the country’s largest settlements and a place of resistance to apartheid and its gross human rights violations. Tour Liliesleaf Farm, the Hector Pieterson Museum, and the underground headquarters of the armed wing of the African National Congress. Visit Freedom Park, the first museum designed from the standpoint of the dispossessed in South Africa.

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

For six weeks, you will live with a Moroccan family in Rabat. The family is the center of life in Morocco. Because mealtimes are very important in Morocco, the program’s schedule allows you to share most lunches and dinners with your host family.

All host families live in Rabat’s centuries-old medina, where most homes are in the Andalusian style, incorporating a courtyard and shared bathroom. Host families are part of a larger community; most residents know everyone within that community, and you will quickly become a part of the neighborhood’s life and will be greeted by neighbors and shopkeepers.

Through experiences with members of your host family, you will become better accustomed to the sounds, tones, and gestures of Arabic. You will also experience Moroccan multilingualism, as many Moroccans commonly speak two or more languages.

Village homestay

You will experience a short homestay with a traditional Moroccan family in a village near Ouezzane. There, you will complete a community service project with a local NGO and learn about rural Morocco, rural tourism, and sustainable development. These activities also give you the opportunity to practice your Arabic in new contexts.

The program usually concludes with a festive farewell dinner featuring a live musical performance to thank the host families.

Educational Excursions

Rabat downtown at night

Fes, Meknes, and Volubilis

Walk through the labyrinth of ninth-century Fes, the oldest Islamic city in the country, and learn about the dynasties that ruled Morocco. A visit to Meknes allows you to enter a seventeenth-century mosque and visit the granary of Moulay Ismail, the founder of the present dynasty. See the Roman ruins of Volubilis, the best preserved in the country.

Ouezzane

Experience simple traditional living, a contrast to life in Rabat. The excursion includes a short homestay with a family in the Ouezzane area. There you will complete a community service project with a local NGO. You will also visit the local souk, accompanied by your Arabic instructors.

Chefchaouen

Travel to the inland mountain town of Chefchaouen, known for its striking blue buildings, and spend time hiking and exploring on your own. On the way back to Rabat, you will have the opportunity to enjoy a swim in the Mediterranean Sea.

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.

Note: This program is not available for the Summer 2021 session.

Costs

The UI cost sheet for this program is forthcoming. General cost information can be found on SIT's webpage.

This document outlines the total estimated costs associated with participating in this program and can be used for financial aid purposes. It includes 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

The application for this program is due on 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.