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Learn about Moroccan culture and society while studying Arabic language and culture in the historic city of Fez. Students can study for a semester or for one of two 6 week summer sessions. Students will have the opportunity to explore madrasas, fondouks, palaces and 13th century ruins while living with warm and welcoming host families, and surrounded by the Arabic language. Weekend excursions allow students to travel to the imperial city of Meknes, the capital city of Rabat, the hypnotizing markets of Marrakesh and the Sahara desert.
Fez is the fourth largest city in Morocco and is located along the Atlas mountains. Fez's medina, declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1981, is one of the largest and most enduring Medieval Islamic settlements in the world.
Fez was the capital of Morocco for more than 400 years, is home to the oldest university in the country and is the leading cultural and spiritual center. Fez is also the home of the oldest and largest medieval city in the world where the hustle and bustle of the dried fruit, leather, ceramics, textiles and food markets can overwhelm the senses.
Getting to Your Program
Sometimes the University of Minnesota offers a group flight for this program. If so, participants receive information at a later date. Students may also make their own arrangements; however, they are given guidelines for arrival dates and times.
A visa is not required for U.S. citizens for this program. U.S. citizens must have a U.S. passport valid for at least six months beyond the end of the program. The on-site staff will assist in getting students the proper documentation to remain in-country for the duration of the program.
OrientationIAP expects you to be an active participant in preparing yourself for your study abroad experience. As a participant on an IAP program, you will receive a pre-departure orientation, either in-person or online. The type and format of this orientation will vary by program and will be provided to you upon acceptance to the program.
Upon arriving in Fez, students will participate in a two-day orientation to the host country and city, the staff and faculty.
HousingHomestays are an integral component of the Arabic Language & Culture in Morocco program learning experience. All students live and share most meals with Moroccan families. Students can choose to either live in old Medina or to live in the modern part of Fez.
Excursions and Activities
Excursions may include vineyards, a walking tour of Fez, Mid-Atlas Mountains, a Desert tour, Volubilis, Chefchaouen, as well as an excursion to neighboring Meknes.
There are also opportunities to volunteer for 5 hours/week.
The University of Minnesota offers mandatory international health insurance for education abroad opportunities provided through Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI). Students on University of Minnesota sponsored programs through the Learning Abroad Center are covered by this policy. The cost of this insurance is included in the program fee.
Returned Student Network
to see testimonials from students abroad or to contact a returned student.
Check out student profiles to learn more about their experience abroad.
"It was extremely culturally enriching, especially living in Fes as opposed to a major tourist city. On a daily basis, I was forced to be totally submersed in the culture, living as a local."
"I will never forget the experiences I had in such amazing places as the Sahara and in the Rif Mountains."
This is an intense Arabic language program, and is best suited for students who have Arabic language-learning as the primary goal for a study abroad program. Program participants study at the Arabic Language Institute of Fez (ALIF), a large villa surrounded by a lush garden and patio in the "modern" Ville Nouvelle neighborhood. Students have the option of taking standard Arabic or colloquial Moroccan Arabic at their proficiency level as well as content courses that delve into studies of Arabic media, gender and social change, and literature and post-colonial identity. All classes are with other program participants and are taught by local faculty. For the semester program, students register for 4 courses including the required Moroccan Society and Culture course. During each of the summer sessions, students register for an Arabic language course and Moroccan Society and Culture.
All courses are taught by Moroccan faculty members from local universities. ALIF's instructors hail from prestigious modern state universities in Morocco, like Mohammed V in Rabat, and traditional institutions such as the Qarawiyyin University, an Islamic institution of higher learning in Fez.
In addition, students have the option to enroll in the one-credit online course titled "Global Identity: Connecting Your International Experience to Your Future." This course enhances the learning abroad experience and covers topics related to intercultural communication.
Arabic Language Institute in Fez (ALIF)
Program Web Page(s)
UMN program in Fez, Morocco
Use the links below to see a list of courses that students have taken on this program before and the UW equivalents. Note: this list only includes pre-approved courses for your program and may not be an exhaustive list of courses or departments. You will get instructions on the course equivalent process after acceptance.
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