AMIDEAST Area & Arabic Language Studies in Morocco
AMIDEAST is a leading American non-profit organization engaged in international education, training and development activities in the Middle East and North Africa. Founded in 1951, AMIDEAST in its early years focused on promoting U.S. study to students in the MENA region; today, AMIDEAST programs and services touch the lives of a million individuals a year.
The AMIDEAST Area & Arabic Language Studies program in Rabat offers a diverse set of courses, and semi-intensive instruction in Modern Standard Arabic and Moroccan Arabic. Courses are taught by English-speaking Moroccan faculty members from AMIDEAST’s partner, the College of Letters and Humanities of Mohammed V University, and other universities in Rabat and neighboring cities.
For additional information, visit the AMIDEAST Morocco website.
The City of Rabat
Morocco is a gateway to Africa and the Arab world. A meeting point for civilizations and continents situated on the northwest tip of Africa, contemporary Morocco, with its nearly 35 million people, is a fusion of Arab, European, and African cultural influences. Situated at the confluence of the Bou Regreg River and Atlantic Ocean, Rabat is Morocco’s cosmopolitan and national capital with a population of approximately 1.7 million people, making it the second largest city in the country. The population is overwhelmingly Sunni Muslim, adhering to the moderate Maliki School of Islamic law. Moroccan Islam has attracted considerable attention from scholars for its openness to democratic reforms (support for multiparty democracy, human rights, women’s rights, and acceptance of liberalism in government). The new emphasis on Amazigh (Berber) culture is another area of increasing interest in many fields as well. Morocco is one of the most politically stable countries in the Arab world, and a long-time ally of the United States.
Did you know…?
The Kasbah Mosque, built in 1150, is the oldest mosque in Rabat. It is located in Rue el Jamma in the Kasbah district, which also happens to be one of the city’s best locations for sightseeing.
The program at AMIDEAST Morocco is for College and Huntsman students.
Minimum GPA Requirement: 3.0
Language Prerequisite: Previous study of Arabic is recommended.
Additional Course Pre-requisite(s): Successful completion of at least 1 Area Studies course in language or culture by the end of the academic semester (fall or spring) prior to departure is required.
Language of Instruction
A full course load on the AMIDEAST Jordan program consists of a 14-17 credit hour course load per semester. Penn students must maintain a full course load while abroad and may only enroll in courses at the undergraduate level.
All students enroll in Arabic (Modern Standard Arabic for five credits and Colloquial Moroccan Arabic for three credits) plus two or three other elective courses (three credits each). Five credit courses consist of 80 contact hours and three credit courses consist of 45 contact hours.
Elective course offerings are in Middle East and North African studies and include a variety of disciplines taught in English including: political science, religion, sociology, women's studies, history, and Amazigh studies.
All courses are taught exclusively for the AMIDEAST program, and students take classes only with other program participants.
As on all Penn Abroad programs, grades are recorded on the Penn transcript and are calculated in the cumulative grade point average. The pass/fail option can be exercised according to the Penn on-campus policy of your home school. For more on Penn Abroad’s academic policies, click here.
All Penn students are required to attend the orientation activities organized by AMIDEAST prior to the start of each semester. More information on AMIDEAST Morocco’s orientation activities can be found here.
Upon arrival in Rabat, students participate in an in-depth, week-long orientation designed to introduce them to Moroccan culture and daily life, and familiarize them with the logistics of the program. During orientation students are also introduced to the principles of intercultural communication. Students stay in a hotel in central Rabat during orientation, and move to their accommodation for the semester at the end of the first week. The orientation combines structured informational sessions with organized activities and free time to familiarize participants with the city of Rabat. Topics such as safety and health, family life in Morocco, cultural adjustment, program regulations, participant responsibilities and other essential information are all discussed during orientation. During the on-site orientation students also meet their professors, receive final language placements, and become familiar with the program’s IT environment.
Language Courses & Language Partners
Modern Standard Arabic and Colloquial Arabic are offered at multiple levels and accommodate students from beginning to advanced proficiencies. Media Arabic is also offered as an elective for those students who wish to deepen their focus on the Arabic language during a semester abroad. Students are paired with local students as part of the Language Partner Program in order to improve their conversational Arabic. More information can be found here.
Program-organized excursions provide students a way to experience the Arab World first-hand, taking them places they might not otherwise be able to go. Semester students travel on two to three major organized excursions. More information on AMIDEAST Morocco’s group excursions can be found here.
Participants must be willing to live under local conditions for students.
Students enrolled in the AMIDEAST Area & Arabic Studies program in Rabat, Morocco live with a Moroccan Host Family that has been carefully screened by AMIDEAST from a database of qualified applicants. Students usually are placed with a roommate from the AMIDEAST program into families who have previous experience hosting American students through AMIDEAST. Most host family members speak Arabic as a first language and also speak French; a small number of family members also speak Spanish or Amazigh (Berber) as well. While all placement preferences may not be met in every case, AMIDEAST will strive to make the best match to ensure a rewarding and pleasant living experience. In the event of a problem, AMIDEAST staff members will be available either to mediate or to arrange a new host family placement. Students living with host families will be given a stipend for lunch, as often class schedules prohibit students from return to their host families for lunch.
Information regarding accommodation can be found here.
Cost and Finance
Penn Abroad Financial Policies
Students are charged Penn tuition and academic fees for all Penn Abroad programs. Additional expenses will typically include items such as housing, visas, and airfare. Please see the program budget sheets below for more information. For more on Penn Abroad’s financial policies, click here.
Financial Aid and Study Abroad
In most cases, financial aid applies to Penn-approved programs. Student Financial Services reviews program budget sheets each semester to determine how to appropriately adjust your aid package. For more information on how Financial Aid will work during your semester abroad, click here.
David L. Boren Undergraduate Scholarships for Study Abroad: Supports undergraduate study abroad focusing on geographical areas, languages, and fields of study deemed critical to US national security. (Excludes study in US, Canada, Western Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.) These US government grants entail a service obligation.
AMIDEAST Scholarships: Provides need-based and blog abroad scholarships for undergraduates studying abroad on AMIDEAST programs.
For information on the Penn Abroad application process, click here.
To open an application or learn more about the program, please click here to schedule an appointment with a Penn Abroad Global Programs Manager.