Ifrane University MoroccoThough the views throughout Morocco are gorgeous and vast—think panoramas of cities old and new, miles of rolling sand dunes, picturesque mountains and intricately decorated minarets—for most, a quick excursion either solo (or with Journey Beyond Travel) is about more than just sightseeing. It’s also about getting a glimpse into an ancient culture, its history and another way of life.

For some, a glimpse is not enough. And if college is in your present or future, a study abroad program can offer you an opportunity to experience cultural immersion in Morocco for a few months or even up to a year.

Types of Learning Experiences

As a student attending a university in Morocco, you’ll likely have an array of classes available to learn about the specific aspects of culture that interest you. Learn about nomadic or political history. Learn about Islam. Learn about the country’s arts. Opt to begin or enhance your French skills, or start learning Arabic.

Moroccans are outgoing and hospitable, and building friendships with Moroccan students will often lead to invitations for tea or a meal with their families, giving you a unique peek into daily life. Of course, genuine friendships would result in cultural insights that go deeper than a single encounter.

The extended stay of studying abroad also provides more time for travel, potentially allowing you to explore more places throughout the country than a brief tourist holiday permits. And like universities just about anywhere, Moroccan schools with study abroad programs tend to organize trips and other cultural experiences for their international students.

Finding Opportunities

If you’re interested in studying in Morocco, start by looking into the opportunities available at your university. Admittedly, Morocco isn’t among the most common study abroad destinations; however, even if your school doesn’t offer a Morocco program, an advisor may be able to recommend a program from another university that you can take advantage of and still receive college credit.

You can also search the web for organizations that help students find study abroad opportunities. For instance, StudyAbroad.com lists Morocco programs offered through universities and non-university organizations.

Study Locations

A handful of the study abroad programs available send students to Rabat, the country’s capital. There are also programs based in Meknes, Fes and Tetouan. These programs tend to focus on Moroccan culture and learning Arabic.

Ifrane, located in the Middle Atlas Mountains and not far from Fes and Meknes, is home to Al Akhawayn University, where all students study in English. In addition to culture and language classes, international students can also enroll in other subjects, such as business, social sciences and natural sciences. Al Akhawayn attracts students and faculty from Morocco and around the world, and it offers a variety of campus clubs and activities.

Not a University Student?

Studying in Morocco for university credit is not the only option—many programs also exist that focus on learning Arabic and providing cultural experiences for anyone who’s interested. These programs tend to offer a few hours of daily language instruction with optional cultural activities. And rather than committing to a semester, year or summer session, many language immersion programs let their students choose the length of their course—often ranging from a couple of weeks to several months. We list some of these places on our Morocco travel guide and blog, so even if you are not a student, you can still be a student of life!

Written by Shelley A. Gable, instructional designer and freelance writer.

Photo by rustinpc.