Past Review

By (Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, SUNY - Binghamton) for

SUNY Binghamton: Ifrane - Exchange & Study Abroad Program at Al Akhawayn University

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Even though I'm not even sure if my credits will transfer, I would do this program all over again. It was just so. much. fun. The things you learn about yourself, people in general, and of course Morocco are just so interesting and valuable. I am a much more knowledgeable person now, not to mention marketable. All I can say is DO IT.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months
The term and year this program took place: Full-Year 2009

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

It is the American educational system, so grading is the same (A-F). Classes are lecture style. I took a lot of Arabic classes, and workload for that was heavy. My other classes had average workloads. Overall it was perfectly manageable.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

It is a tiny office with an overworked staff, but despite that they were able to provide help whenever I needed it. It was run by an American, which was very helpful since she understood where exchange students were coming from.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Dorms are segregated by sex. There is very little friendliness or comradeship in the female dorms. The male dorms I wouldn't know. Bathrooms are in the rooms. Probably the best showers in Morocco are in Al Akhawayn dorms. <br /><br /> Bedding is included. My roommate was awful and I hated her. The entire campus is like a biodome so dorms were close enough to classes and food, though nightlife was found outside the campus completely. There was a curfew for all students, which was midnight on schoolnights. It was very frustrating.

* Food:

to be vegetarian is difficult (I tried) and vegan close to impossible. I thought the cost of food was appropriate in comparison to how expensive other things in the school were, but the quality of the food was pretty bad. Lots of repeated meals that got boring after a while. But it was manageable.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Despite being a small city, Ifrane has a really awesome nightlife. Going to the clubs and the bar was something my Moroccan friends did so I went too and it really showed me how the local students actually live their lives. Plus it was really freaken fun!

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Insurance is like this: you go to the doctor/dentist/pharmacy/hospital with an insurance form, pay the entire fee up front out of pocket, send the signed form to the insurance company, and you get reimbursed by check a couple of weeks later. It works fine pretty much. H1N1 was big there for a while but the school handled it really well and no one was seriously affected. Ifrane is really safe. I didn't mind walking around alone but some people did. Just do what you're comfortable doing. I doubt you will get hurt.

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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? when I didn't travel, 300 MAD. when I did travel, maybe 500-1,000 MAD.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Even though the exchange program fee includes 4,000 MAD for dining and the campus store, you will probably need more like 12,000 MAD for the semester. Off campus, be sure to bargain for things. Sellers usually inflate prices for tourists by at least 6 times initially. Don't ever pay that much. Dishonest selling is a big problem, don't support it.


If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Language acquisition improvement?

Practice practice practice. Be aware of what's around you and pay attention to what people say so you can understand and then use what they said in your own activities. Most students on campus spoke English very well, off campus English was minimally spoken. French, Spanish and Moroccan Arabic were what we had to use to communicate.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Morocco is the most incredible country and it will be extremely rewarding if you go into it with an open mind. I wouldn't suggest this program for people who have never been abroad before.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

History of the Arab World

Course Department: HIS
Instructor: Maghraoui
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This course was not what I expected it to be. I was excited for it but the instructor really just could not teach the subject matter. I highly suggest future exchange students avoid taking classes with Maghraoui.
Credit Transfer Issues: I don't know yet.