Past Review

By (Near and Middle Eastern Studies., The College of William and Mary) for

Arab American Language Institute in Morocco (AALIM): Intensive Arabic Direct Enrollment

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Morocco is awesome. I want to continue travelling throughout North Africa/The Middle East until I have conquered it all. Everything is so beautiful!! It did however make me more interested in working towards Women's rights in Muslim countries. Morocco is relatively liberal as far as Muslim nations go, which is great, but I want to see a lot of change in terms of Women's rights.

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.

Our teacher was very enthusiastic, friendly, and sweet. I learned a lot of Arabic and got to practice it every day. The grading system was easy; I was never worried about my grades (although I DID study!).

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Professor Driss is awesome! Actually, all the instructors were awesome. I felt comfortable talking to and asking questions of all of them; they were friendly and happy to speak with you. Things were usually done fairly efficiently, however "Moroccan time" tends to push back start-times and meeting-times, but that's just a part of the culture. I loved it!

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The breakfast food was amazing. Fresh-squeezed orange juice and pain au chocolat! However a few of our rooms did NOT have air conditioning and my friend's sink completely broke all over the floor of his bathroom. I was greeted by the occasional roach in my room. But the staff were very friendly and enjoyed talking to us in Arabic.

* Food:

Food at the institution was great, always delicious and safe to eat. I got sick three times from eating at restaurants outside of the university.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Everything I mentioned in that box above. The hamam was particularly memorable. I think going to the desert was probably the most amazing thing I have ever done in my life. Riding a camel through a sandstorm to a berber camp, having dinner, laying on my back in the sand with my new friends listening to berbers play us music as we stared at a sky that had more stars in it than I will ever see in my life again... it was amazing.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Fez was the most "dangerous" place we went, I think, but we had many 'guides' with us from the institute to help keep us safe/comfortable. My experience with healthcare is that the lady who works at the pharmacy down the street from the hotel is AWESOME. I got sick many times from the food and it sucked but that's what happens when you go to Morocco. Everyone got sick, but you get better. And it's worth it. I needed to get three vaccines to go on this trip but the blonde lady at the W&M health center was awesome about it and gave me tylenol and a juice box to make me feel better afterwards.

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


* 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)

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? The bus to and from Casablanca to Meknes costs $50. Both ways.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Beginner
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Arabic 202 (second year)
If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Language acquisition improvement?

I spoke with my teachers, people in shops, hotel staff, etc. All the students spoke English but interacting with any other person meant speaking in Arabic, which was great. I learned a lot and got more confident in my speaking skills.

Direct Enrollment/Exchange

* Did you study abroad through an exchange program or did you directly enroll in the foreign university? Direct Enrollment

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Hotel
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? DO IT! It's amazing, Morocco is beautiful, and everything is awesome. Just watch out for the food.