Qalam wa Lawh: academic, cultural and personal improvement April 19, 2019

By (Pablo de Olavide University) - abroad from 01/20/2019 to 04/05/2019 with

Qalam Center for Arabic Studies: Rabat - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Not only language skills, but also cultural immersion. I learnt a lot about the Moroccan lifestyle and about history of the Arabic world in general.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

It was in the university when I started studying Arabic. The approach to the language there was so purely academic that I felt frustrated and imagining myself having a fluent conversation in Arabic was just impossible. All this changed as soon as I made the decision to start my studies in Qalam. After 6 years of Arab studies, I began to feel comfortable speaking the language, and both the teachers and the educational system carried out in this academy, make sure that each class that I received was worthwhile. It was not simply the classes in small groups which made my level improve in just two months, all the complementary activities that are carried out during the week are also very helpful: immersion with Moroccan people through the clubs, excursions to places of interest with Moroccan guides, conferences of different topics each week, linguistic discussions with native university students every Thursday... For all these reasons and for the kindness of the staff that make a huge effort to make the academy work, I consider that studying in Qalam wa Lawh was one of the best decisions I have ever made at an academic and personal level.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

They offer different options for housing. You can live either with a Moroccan family or in the school residence. I opted for the last option but knew people who were also very happy with the family, which is a better option if you are looking for a complete immersion.

* Food:

The cafeteria is a great choice if you want Moroccan food, since al the staff were Moroccan and great cooks.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

You will meet not only international people, but also Moroccans, since the teachers are Moroccans and the academy also offers language tándems with university students.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

It is probable that you will get sick at the begining of yours experience, since it will take a while for your stomach to get used to the country. The staff is always very helpful and will advice you what to do if this is your case.

* Safety:

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

Finances

* 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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 70

Language

* 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

The language immersion in qalam is 100% encouraging.

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? Advanced
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Advanced 1
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? Do not get frustrated, at the begining it is aways hard to get used to a new language, specially Arabic. That will change after a couple of weeks and you will find yourself feeling confortable very soon.

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

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • International Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • International Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with? 10+

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Language immersion
  • Staff
  • Students
* What could be improved?
  • Nothing
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? The level of academic demand is very high, which, in my opinion, was a greta thing for my improvement. Anyway, that was something I was not expecting at that much

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!