Study Abroad in Morocco: Playing Hopscotch with Life Past Review

By (Kenyon College) - abroad from 08/23/2015 to 05/13/2016 with

AMIDEAST Rabat - Area & Arabic Language Studies

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned that listening is more important than speaking. The more I listened to Moroccans, the better I understood their diverse cultures and experiences. My experience abroad was certainly worthwhile.

Review Photos

AMIDEAST Rabat - Area & Arabic Language Studies Photo AMIDEAST Rabat - Area & Arabic Language Studies Photo AMIDEAST Rabat - Area & Arabic Language Studies Photo AMIDEAST Rabat - Area & Arabic Language Studies Photo

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

AMIDEAST Morocco does its best to provide a quality U.S. higher education curriculum to its Study Abroad Programme (SAP) students. I really appreciated that staff members (both Moroccan and American) tried to offer academic and logistical support to students. However, unfortunately the programme fails in two regards: 1) the educational curriculum is poorly defined. AMIDEAST brands its classes as "American-style", or "Northwestern University"-accredited, but almost all the professors follow traditional Moroccan/French pedagogy which is lecture heavy, negative towards academic dissent, and which follows a strict top-down power hierarchy in which the professor's word is final and student ideas are marginally relevant at best, or irrelevant. AMIDEAST's branding of its academic programme as "American-style" is certainly wrong. While I learned a lot from my Moroccan professors, I think that both the Moroccan faculty and their U.S.-based college students would be better prepared if they are told directly that the academic programme is in fact Moroccan. AMIDEAST cannot transform Moroccan professors into American-style lecturers overnight, nor is that goal necessary. Misleading advertisement regarding its academic programme leads students to enter their classes ill-prepared to engage appropriately with a Moroccan learning environment. 2) Student support has its problems. Poor housing arrangements left me basically homeless for a couple weeks during winter. At the end of this housing ordeal, I contracted from acute bronchitis and needed a medical squad to oxygenate me. I spent a lot of money out of pocket paying for basic housing services that AMIDEAST was financially responsible for. Although the SAP compensated me for a handful of my expenses and apologised to me a month later, I believe that student services could have handled my housing issues more responsibly.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I was deeply dissatisfied with my housing arrangements until the last two months of my academic year abroad, when i was placed with an amazing family, the Kabbajs.

* Food:

The food I ate during the first semester was great. Second semester, it was horrible aside from the food that my final homestay provided me with during the last two months.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Moroccan culture, especially Amazigh and Muslim society, stole my heart. <3

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

The Malian-Moroccan doctor who attended to me was very courteous and offered excellent healthcare. The paperwork AMIDEAST oversaw after medical treatment was confusing and poorly organized. I recommend that the insurance company reimburses AMIDEAST for student medical charges. Students should then receive their reimbursements from the student services manager. The current system uses AMIDEAST as a middle man and puts too much burden on the students to follow up with an American-based insurance company about reimbursements,

* Safety:

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes

If my study abroad programme improved its academic programme and offered better student services, I would use its services again. Without AMIDEAST, I would not have benefited from the handful of professors, language partners, friends, and amazing study abroad experiences that enriched my life and motivated me to work better at my field of study,


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Intermediate
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Fluent
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Arabic 401- Directed Studies in Arabic (Advanced)
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Read, listen to, and talk Arabic as much as you can!

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • some professors
  • Moroccan friends
  • the cultures, languages and histories of the Maghreb
* What could be improved?
  • homestay support
  • academic programme rigour- the over-emphasis on a 5-thousand word final research paper allows professors to facilitate less engaging class discussions. Students assume they can just write a good paper and use Facebook in class throughout the semester. Work on creating a healthy model for engaging class discussions.
  • minority/POC inclusion
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew that I would need to stand up for myself a lot. But I did so and, with the help of AMIDEAST folks like Abdellatif Harraida, Alex Novelli, Doha AIt Ahmed, Professor Rhouni, Chekayri, and Touhtouh. I thrived!

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Arabic 401

Course Department: Arabic Language
Instructor: Mohammed Chekayri
Instruction Language: Arabic (Classical/Modern Standard)
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Women and Gender in Islam

Course Department: Women's and Gender Studies
Instructor: Raja Rhouni
Instruction Language: English
Credit Transfer Issues: