Whether your Arabic is rudimentary or advanced, the CIEE Language + Culture study abroad program in Rabat is designed to help you develop both your language skills as well as your understanding of contemporary Morocco and give you insight into country’s role in the Arab world and its ties to Europe.
These goals are met through coursework and a variety of community engagement and field-based research opportunities. Students with strong French language skills can also take elective courses in French, adding to the overall cultural and linguistic experience.
Study abroad in Rabat and you will:
Choose an Arabic language course at your level, beginner through advanced
Participate in elective courses taught in English and French focusing on Moroccan and Arab studies, and the CIEE core course with one week in Fez or Marrakech
Engage the community through local volunteer opportunities
Immerse yourself in the culture through trips to local markets, performances at the National Theater and field trips including a visit to the ancient ruins of Chellah, and excursions to Chefchaouen and other popular Moroccan cities
The CIEE Difference
In addition to language learning, study abroad in Rabat allows you to explore a host of topics through electives offered in English, Arabic and French, including: literature, The Koran, political and historical perspectives, business issues in the Arab world, and gender dynamics, race, and ethnicity in Morocco. Interested and eligible students may undertake an internship for credit, typically with local NGOs and private institutions.
Learn from and give back to your host community. In Morocco, you may choose from a variety of volunteer activities with local NGOs, schools, and other organizations. Possible examples include projects with students who are visually impaired, mentally challenged youth, women’s groups, Berber groups, the World Health Organization, and the World Bank.
Excursions and Cultural Activities
The Language + Culture study abroad program includes a series of required and optional cultural activities and field trips in and around Rabat. Examples of local cultural activities include concerts and festivals; group activities in the Medina and Kasbah; field trips to the ancient ruins of Chellah and the Andalucian Gardens, and visits to local elementary schools and government agencies. As part of the language courses, students may practice their newly acquired language skills by visiting local markets and attending music and theater performances. The program also includes a one-week study tour to either Fez or Marrakech.
Total recommended credit for the semester is 16–17 semester/24–25.5 quarter hours and 32–34 semester/48–51 quarter hours for the academic year.
Course contact hours are 45 hours with recommended credit of 3 semester/4.5 quarter hours, unless otherwise indicated.
Students enroll in Intensive Moroccan Colloquial Arabic during the first two weeks of the program. During the regular academic session, all students enroll in Modern Standard Arabic and the CIEE core course, Contemporary Moroccan Society and Culture. In addition, students choose two CIEE elective courses. Students interested in furthering their language skills may choose to enroll in the optional Moroccan Colloquial Arabic course as one of their electives .
The majority of CIEE elective courses are taught in English, although at least one elective course is offered in French each semester.
Study abroad students participating in the academic year program are not required to take the CIEE core course during their second semester. These students take Modern Standard Arabic and three elective courses, one of which may be the organizational internship. They may also take the Moroccan Colloquial Arabic course.
Rabat, Morocco’s capital and second largest city, has a population of three million. Rabat hosts Morocco’s most prestigious universities, as well as many international institutions such as UNESCO and the World Bank. The city offers a combination of the modern and the traditional, and provides a wide range of opportunities for students to experience its culture through art exhibits, music, and theater. Central Rabat has a modern infrastructure with large office buildings, palm tree-lined boulevards, cafés, restaurants, and shopping centers.
Where You’ll Study
Université Mohamed V, Souissi
Université Mohamed V, Souissi offers undergraduate and graduate degrees as well as several non-degree opportunities, such as the Arabic for Speakers of Other Languages program. This program attracts study abroad students from Africa, Asia, and the Middle East contributing to the internationalization of the student body. CIEE students have access to facilities and services available to UM5-S students, including all student activities, a cafeteria, and library facilities.
All CIEE language study abroad courses are held at the Qalam wa Lawh Arabic Language Center (Qalam Center). The Qalam Center provides programs for the study of Arabic as a Foreign Language to students from around the world. It is conveniently located in Rabat’s prestigious neighborhood of Souissi within minutes from downtown. The campus features 12 large, air-conditioned classrooms, an on-site cafeteria serving Moroccan dishes, a library, and a large garden open space for study and relaxation. CIEE students have full access to all Qalam Center facilities and language activities.
Housing & Meals
Students live with Moroccan families in modern or traditional homes in various neighborhoods throughout Rabat. Families are carefully selected by local CIEE staff. Most homes combine western and traditional Moroccan elements and families are typically multilingual. Study abroad host families provide breakfast and dinner on weekdays and additional meals on the weekend. Students use public transportation to commute to and from their housing
Established in 2008, the Language and Culture program gives students the opportunity to enroll in special CIEE area studies courses taught by faculty from the Université Mohammed V. Students also take Arabic language courses taught by Arabic language specialists at the Qalam wa Lawh Center for Arabic Studies (Qalam Center).
Area studies courses are held at the Université Mohammed V-Souissi campus, while all language courses are taken at the Qalam Center. The program is designed to provide students intensive Arabic language training along with a multifaceted academic analysis of Moroccan culture and history. In addition to the courses offered, students can engage themselves locally through internship and volunteer opportunities. Students wishing to focus a larger percentage of their studies on Arabic language may choose to take an elective language course in Colloquial Moroccan Arabic.
The program is suitable for students with a strong interest in Arabic language and in French, as well as a variety of academic disciplines, including Moroccan studies, religion, business and economics, and literature.
Teaching methods involve lectures, tutorials, seminars, and fieldwork. Guest lectures, field trips, and excursions are an important part of the academic curriculum and add to the total number of official contact hours each week.
Nature of Classes
Courses are for CIEE students only.
CIEE Community Language Commitment
As students gain proficiency in Arabic, resident staff encourage them to use their language skills in everyday settings. The more students participate, the more a community that contributes to Arabic language proficiency and understanding of Moroccan society develops.
All courses utilize a continuous assessment model and may include quizzes, exams, individual and group presentations, research projects, and papers. Courses are designed to follow a standard U.S. grading scale of A–F.
Language of Instruction
Courses are taught by faculty from the Université Mohamed V and Institut Agronomique et Vétérinaire Hassan II. Language courses are taught by qualified language instructors from local universities and other organizations such as the Peace Corps. The Seminar on Living and Learning in Rabat is taught by the CIEE resident director.