Arabic Language and Culture in Morocco by pop14118


									Arabic Language and Culture in Morocco

                                         ON-SITE GUIDE
         ICA        T
     AFR     E  EAS
      MI DDL
 T HE          O
Important Names &                                                    Your Address in Morocco
                                                                     During your stay in Fez, mail should be sent to you at the
Addresses                                                            following address:
                                                                     Your name (clearly spelled out)
                                                                     c/o The Arabic Language Institute in Fez
The Learning Abroad Center provides a full range of services
                                                                     B.P. 2136
from preliminary program advising to assistance with re-entry.
                                                                     Fez 30000, Morocco
Do not hesitate to contact any of the Learning Abroad Center
staff with your questions. Prior to departure, please direct all
questions to the Learning Abroad Center. Friends and family
                                                                     On-site Office
members should always contact the Learning Abroad Center,            The Arabic Language Institute in Fez (ALIF)
not the on-site staff, for assistance, even once you are overseas.   2 Rue Ahmd Hiba, Fez
                                                                     Phone: (212.35) 62.48.50
In the United States:                                                Email:
Learning Abroad Center
University of Minnesota
                                                                     Resident Director
230 Heller Hall                                                      Abellatif Jai
271 19th Avenue South                                                The Arabic Language Institute in Fez
Minneapolis, MN 55455-0430                                           2 Rue Ahmd Hiba, Fez
Phone: 612.626.9000                                                  Phone: (212.35) 62.48.50
Fax: 612.626.8009                                                    Mobile: (212.66)16.16.013
Toll Free: 888.700.UOFM                                              Email:
Web:                                            Web addresses
Main contact:                                                        Visit the Morocco website for useful health, safety, travel,
BJ Titus, 612.625.4386                              development, and country web links: www.UMabroad.umn.
Secondary contact:
Sheila Collins, 612.625.9067
                                                                     Know Before You Go
Emergencies                                                          Before you leave the country, make sure that you have read
In case of a serious emergency, contact the Learning Abroad          and understood the information in your Confirmation
Center at 612.626.9000. If it is after business hours, a             Checklist, Online Orientation (
recording will give you a number to call. The Learning Abroad        onlineOrientation/sponsored/index), and the Learning
Center has someone on call for emergencies and to contact the        Abroad Center’s policies (
on-site administrators if needed. Once overseas, participants        policies/index). These materials will guide you on a safe and
should contact their in-country program staff.                       successful learning abroad experience.

In Morocco
Telephone Codes                                                      Friends and Family Resources
                                                                     Valuable resources for your friends and family members can
 011       International access code from the US. The code           be found at Topics such
           from other countries will probably be different.          as health and safety, program prices, logistics, and travel are
 212       Morocco’s country code used for dialing from              discussed.
           outside Morocco.
 35        Fez city code. Not necessary for calls within Fez.
           Cell phones have a different code.
 00        International access code from Moroco.

Time Differences
Morocco is five hours ahead of Minnesota during the winter
and six hours ahead during the months when the US is on
daylight savings time.

Table of Contents                                                                                   Program Calendar
Important Names & Addresses ..........................2
Program Calendar 2009–2010..........................3                                               Fall Semester
Preparation & Planning ......................................4                                      Sept 4              Official arrival date
   Documents...............................................................................4        Sept 8              Classes begin
   Packing ....................................................................................4
                                                                                                    Dec 15              Classes end
   Health & Safety ........................................................................4
   Considerations During Planning ..............................................5                   Spring Semester
Arrival Logistics ..................................................6                               Feb 22              Official arrival date
   Coordinated Flight ...................................................................6          Mar 1               Classes begin
   Arrival .....................................................................................6
                                                                                                    May 28              Classes end
   Orientation In-country .............................................................6
   Staying After the Program .......................................................6               Summer Session I
Practical and Program Information ...................7                                              May 25              Official arrival date
   On-Site Support .......................................................................7         June 1              Classes begin
   Accommodations .....................................................................7            July 12             Classes end
   Money Matters .........................................................................8
   Communication .......................................................................8           Summer Session II
   Work Abroad & Work Permits .................................................9
                                                                                                    June 15             Official arrival date
   FERPA ......................................................................................9
                                                                                                    June 22             Classes begin
Academics ..........................................................9                               July 30             Classes end
   Program Enrollment Options ...................................................9
   Registration ...........................................................................10
   Drop/Add ...............................................................................10
   Books and Materials ..............................................................10
   Grades and Credit .................................................................10
   Incompletes ...........................................................................10
   Student Grievances ................................................................11

Life in Morocco.................................................11
   Introduction to Morocco ........................................................11
   Climate ..................................................................................13
   Shopping ................................................................................13

Coming Home ...................................................13
Cultural Adjustment .........................................14

Preparation & Planning
                                                                   ironing. A key question for choosing clothes: how long does it
                                                                   take to air dry?
                                                                   Pack clothing that is relatively new, both to be sure it
Documents                                                          lasts through your time overseas and because you will feel
                                                                   uncomfortably out of place if you wear ripped, baggy, or faded
Passport                                                           clothes.
A valid passport is required to enter your country and to          Be conservative. Some clothing that is common on a US
re-enter the US. You also need a passport in order to receive      campus would be considered provocative in Morocco. If
a visa. For information on applying for a passport see the         you wish to pack a running outfit, choose athletic pants or
Learning Abroad Center website:              shorts that extend to the knee. Do not plan on using shorts
Passport processing typically takes eight weeks, so plan ahead.    except when you go to the beach. If you use tank tops,
Your passport is a valuable document. Do not lose it. You          choose modest ones. Women tend to wear skirts in rural
cannot leave your host country without it. It is always wise       areas of Morocco, and although you may wear slacks without
to have a copy of your passport in a separate location and         offending, in some rural settings you may look a bit out of
one copy at home in case your passport is lost or stolen. The      place.
process of replacing a passport is much easier if you have         Choose your luggage wisely. Most students prefer backpacks
a copy of it. If your passport is lost or stolen, you should       to suitcases. Buy a high quality backpack/daypack. Can your
notify your on-site staff, the local police, and the American      smaller backpack/suitcase nest inside a larger one? Will your
Consulate.                                                         carry-on double for weekend travel?

Visa information                                                   Anticipate possible delays (or even losses) in checked baggage
A visa is not required for the Fall, Spring or summer sessions     when packing your carry-on. Pack in your carry-on anything
in Morocco. The onsite staff will assist in getting students the   that you would need during your first two or three days in-
proper documentation to remain in-country for the duration         country, including prescription drugs, as well as small items
of your program                                                    that are fragile, irreplaceable, or of significant monetary value.
                                                                   Do not take scissors, knives, etc., in your carry-on.
US Embassy                                                         Remember you can buy things in-country. Keep in mind that
For information on the local US Embassy in Morocco, visit          you can purchase clothing in-country, although you will not
the following website:                 have time to devote to shopping for new items. If you have a
                                                                   strong brand preference, ask a returnee whether your brand is
Power of Attorney                                                  available in your country.
We strongly encourage you to designate someone as your             You will find many clothing items to be cheaper in-country
Power of Attorney while you are abroad. Your Power of              than in the US. However, other products, such as batteries,
Attorney can act as your legal representative in a number of       personal hygiene, feminine products, etc. are often more
situations. Review the information on the website at:              expensive in these countries and not always readily available.
powerOfAttorney.html.                                              Don’t take the kitchen sink. The most consistent hindsight of
                                                                   returned students is “I took too much.” Be selective. Decide
                                                                   what, and how much, is really essential to you. Try to get by
Your Address                                                       with one large backpack and a carry-on. Many savvy travelers
In order to ensure that all official communication and             recommend that you pack once, try walking around the block
billing information is sent to the correct address while you       with all your stuff, and then begin eliminating things until
are abroad, check your official contact information prior          you can do it comfortably.
to departure. Visit to verify that the
information is correct. If your contact information changes,
you must notify the Learning Abroad Center.                        Health & Safety
Packing                                                            The website of the Centers for Disease Control, www.cdc.
Think about laundry. Lighter colors help you stay cool, but        gov/travel, provides extensive information and advice on
darker colors show dirt less; you might wish to strike a happy     immunizations and on staying healthy in your country.
medium. Include lightweight fabrics that can be easily hand-       Another good site is Travel Health Online at www.tripprep.
washed, can hold up to repeated washing, and do not need           com.

Fez has good doctors and medical facilities, and care may be         Safety
quite satisfactory in some other major cities as well. Only
                                                                     The on-site staff receive all new or revised State Department
rudimentary levels of care, at best, tend to be available in
                                                                     travel advisories. The office in Minnesota forwards relevant
villages and small towns. It is important that you inform
                                                                     bulletins to the in-country staff, who share them with
yourself prior to departure what precautions to take while
                                                                     students. Read them carefully. The most recent travel
living in Morocco.
                                                                     information for every country of the world is also posted at
We strongly encourage you to consult with a travel physician
or travel nurse long before departure. Find a health provider        The on-site staff also keep in touch with the US Consulate in
with a specialization in travel medicine; most general               times of political unrest or natural disasters such as floods or
practitioners lack the requisite knowledge. Do this as early as      earthquakes.
possible, for some immunization series begin many months
before departure.                                                    Sexual Harassment & Sexual Assault
Following consultation with a travel health specialist, you          Do not tolerate behavior that feels threatening or disrespectful
will need a number of immunizations. Ensure that these are           by staff in-country or faculty members, or homestay family
recorded in your international immunization record, a yellow         members. When in any doubt, consult with an the on-site
card that you will want to keep with your passport.                  staff or faculty member with whom you feel comfortable.
                                                                     Report any incidents of sexual harassment or sexual assault to
                                                                     in-country staff immediately.
A Few Additional Tips
  •	 Avoid eating in restaurants with poor hygiene or buying
     food from street vendors. Assure yourself that food is well
     cooked. Avoid uncooked fruits or vegetables unless you          The Arabic Language & Culture in Morocco program fee
     can peel them yourself.                                         includes international health and accident insurance for the
                                                                     duration of the program. You can extend it at your expense for
  •	 Wash your hands frequently.                                     an additional month for post-program travel. The policy and
  •	 Tap water is not recommended in Morocco. Drink boiled           procedures for using it is available on the Learning Abroad
     or bottled water (either carbonated or non-carbonated).         Center website, and you will receive your insurance card and
     Soft drinks are usually okay, but beware of juices that         more detailed information at orientation.
     may be diluted with water.
                                                                     This insurance does not cover you in the US and does not
  •	 Ice is as unsafe as water. Never add it to drinks unless it     include dental coverage.
     has been made from boiled or bottled water.
                                                                     Note: In most cases you must pay medical bills up front and
  •	 Take your own medicines with you.                               then submit your claims to CISI for reimbursement. This has
  •	 If you travel to high altitudes, avoid intense exercise until   budgeting implications; take enough money with you to avoid
     you have adapted. Drink lots of liquids and eat lots of         cash flow problems if you need medical attention. Also, bring
     carbohydrates. Monitor any symptoms of altitude sick-           copies of the reimbursement form or CISI’s web address. For
     ness, which can include headaches and nausea.                   a major accident, CISI will work with the overseas hospital to
                                                                     arrange for payment of your bill.

                                                                     Considerations During Planning
                                                                     Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, & Transgender Issues
                                                                     Attitudes towards sexuality vary greatly from country to
                                                                     country. Some cultures are open about homosexuality, and
                                                                     strong gay communities exist in many cities. However,
                                                                     some cultures and peoples are intolerant of different sexual
                                                                     preferences, and strict taboos or laws against such relationships
                                                                     may exist. We encourage you to find out how different sexual
                                                                     preferences are viewed overseas and where your support
                                                                     may exist, so that your time overseas can be as enriching as
                                                                     possible. Consult your program guide or program sponsor for
                                                                     more information on gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender
                                                                     issues in your country of choice.
                                                                     For additional resources, you can contact the Office for Equity
                                                                     and Diversity at

Students of Color                                                    during the flight and drinking lots of water or other beverages.
                                                                     Do not hesitate to ask the flight attendants for more. A light
You may wish to consult the resources available at the
                                                                     nap upon arrival can help you through the first day, but a long
Learning Abroad Center on issues related to students of
                                                                     sleep can delay your adjustment to the new time zone. Some
color and learning abroad. Also, program-specific material
                                                                     studies also suggest that melatonin, a natural enzyme, can
may include information more specific to the host culture. If
                                                                     assist with adjusting sleep patterns. Melatonin is available at
you have questions about the country in which you will be
                                                                     health food stores, and you health care specialist can provide
studying, do not hesitate to contact a Learning Abroad Center
                                                                     you with additional information on its use.
staff member.
                                                                     Some international airports, such as Amsterdam, have lounge
For additional resources, you can contact the Office for Equity
                                                                     chair areas for resting, shower rooms, and sleeping rooms in
and Diversity at
                                                                     the international terminal, in case you have an extended delay.
                                                                     At the Amsterdam airport, these are available on the second
Students With Disabilities                                           floor near concourse F.
Many of the disability accommodations or services that are
provided at US universities may be different or unavailable          You will not be able to call home upon your arrival.
overseas. Being in a new environment can also be stressful,          Telephones are not readily available, you will be exhausted,
and accommodations that you may not have needed at home              and orientation will begin quickly. Let your friends and family
may become necessary in an unfamiliar setting. Participants          know that it will take several days for them to hear from you,
with any kind of diability, whether hidden or visible, should        and you are likely to contact them via email. The in-country
contact the Learning Abroad Center in advance to discuss their       staff will notify the Learning Abroad Center if a student does
particular needs.                                                    not arrive, and we will call the student’s emergency contact, as
                                                                     needed. Remind friends and family members not to contact
                                                                     the on-site staff directly. All contact should be through the

Arrival Logistics                                                    Learning Abroad Center.

Coordinated Flight                                                   Orientation In-country
                                                                     You will stay as a group in a hotel for the first two nights. This
Participants will receive flight information and booking
                                                                     gives you some time to recover from the trip and to begin
instructions from Village Travel in St. Paul, which handles
                                                                     acquainting yourselves with each other before moving to your
flight arrangements for the Learning Abroad Center. Students
                                                                     homestays. During this time you will receive an orientation to
from the Twin Cities area fly in a group; students from
                                                                     your host country and city, the staff and faculty. You will also
elsewhere join that group in either a US or a European hub.
                                                                     have some opportunities to begin acquainting yourselves with
Visit Village Travel’s website at: If you
                                                                     the city. When it comes time to move to your homestay, your
elect not to take the coordinated flight, you must arrive within
                                                                     host family will come to your hotel or another gathering point
six hours prior to the coordinated flight.
                                                                     to pick you up and take you to your new home.

Arrival                                                              Staying After the Program
In-country staff will meet the group flight at the airport in
                                                                     If you intend to stay in Morocco after the program ends, you
Morocco and take you to a hotel. They will hold a sign with
                                                                     are responsible for your own housing and your transportation
the Minnesota name or your name, and you should remain
                                                                     to the airport when you depart. You can inquire with the on-
at the airport as a group until you can identify the proper
                                                                     site staff whether you can store a small amount of luggage at
person. If you do not see a staff person when you arrive, stay
                                                                     ALIF, but this is not guaranteed. It is not acceptable to remain
in the airport and seek assistance from an official airline agent.
                                                                     in your homestay after the program, unless the on-site staff
If for any reason you choose not to book your flights through        authorizes it. In all cases, you must pay for any lodging after
Village Travel, you must provide the Learning Abroad Center          the program ends.
with a copy of your itinerary by August 15 for fall semester or
                                                                     For students departing on the official group flight on the
December 15 for spring semester so that we can notify the on-
                                                                     program end date, the on-site staff will arrange transportation
site staff of your itinerary. You must arrive within 4–6 hours of
                                                                     to the airport for you
the group flight in order to be met by a staff person.
The trip is long and it will take you across many time zones.
You can reduce the effects of jet lag by avoiding alcohol

Practical and Program                                                Tips for a Successful Homestay
                                                                     The in-country staff seek families eager to incorporate US
Information                                                          students into their lives. Host families are generally warm and
                                                                     welcoming and will want their students to participate in social
                                                                     events with friends and extended family. When you are placed
On-Site Support                                                      with a family, you will probably get more than the family
                                                                     itself. You will get a wide range of friends, not to mention
Resident Director                                                    information, coaching, advice, and endless opportunities to
The Resident Director for the Arabic Language & Culture              practice your language skills. If you and the family are both
program for the University of Minnesota is Abdellatif Jai. He        willing to throw yourselves into making the experience a
will be your main contact throughout your stay in Fez. He is         rich one, you are likely to look back on your homestay as a
available for any questions or concerns you may have.                highlight of your time in Morocco.
                                                                     A successful homestay requires consideration and cultural
                                                                     sensitivity. At times your cross-cultural skills and insights will
Accommodations                                                       be stretched to the limit. The in-country staff will supplement
The ALIF office has a library, study space, a garden, snack bar,     this with initial support and ongoing coaching to create a
wireless access, as well as classrooms on site where students        smooth linkage between students and their families. Staff
will take their classes.                                             are always available to assist and sort out cultural adjustment
                                                                     problems as they arise.
The on-site orientation includes activities designed to
familiarize students with Fez.                                       You will find your homestay parents and siblings very
                                                                     concerned for your well-being. They will be good sources of
Computers                                                            information and advice about negotiating the transportation
                                                                     system, safety precautions, etc. At the same time, their
ALIF has approximately 20 computers available for student
                                                                     concern might occasionally seem to border on over-
coursework use only. You are encouraged to bring along an
                                                                     protectiveness, especially if you are a woman. Understand
inexpensive laptop to use for completing assignments, and the
                                                                     that the family is not trying to control you but to fulfill its
program office is wireless. Bring an adaptor to plug in your
                                                                     inescapable responsibilities for the welfare of its US daughter
computer and remember that laptops are easily stolen. Keep
                                                                     or son.
it well hidden when storing and traveling with it. Never put
these kinds of valuables in your checked luggage.                    In most cases, your family will do your laundry. Since dryers
                                                                     are infrequent, have sufficient undergarments for the delay in
Homestay Placement Process                                           receiving your items back.
The in-country staff strives to match students with families         When you leave the house, it is important to let the family
that meet as many of the characteristics as possible that            know where you expect to be and approximately what time
students have requested on their forms. However, it is often         you plan to return. Never stay overnight elsewhere without
not possible to find a family that meets all the criteria a          first notifying your family.
student has listed.
                                                                     In case of minor illnesses, your family will help you seek
The Learning Abroad Center typically receives basic                  medical attention. In case of more serious problems, you and
information about your first homestay family (name and               your family are expected to notify the staff immediately in
address) approximately two weeks prior to the program start          order to coordinate the best possible treatment.
date, and we will send the information to your University
of Minnesota email account. However, last-minute changes             Most families are conservative about relations between men
occasionally occur.                                                  and women. You are not allowed to have overnight guests of
                                                                     the opposite sex or to receive visitors in a closed bedroom.
Since you may not know much about your host family(ies)
prior to departure, we encourage you to bring a range of             Be judicious in your use of alcohol. Your host family and
generic gifts (T-shirts, baseball caps, desk calendars) to give as   work colleagues will disapprove of substance abuse, and
gifts.                                                               drunkenness could irreparably damage your relations with
                                                                     people who are important to you.
The in-country staff will outline for you and the family your
respective rights and responsibilities in the homestay. The          It is important not to abuse hospitality. Remember to ask the
family is told that for the most part your presence should not       family for permission to bring friends, and be ready to cover
lead them to change their customs, operating rules, or food.         extra expenses when inviting them.

Keep your room very neat and tidy and be respectful of the          Credit Cards
common spaces in the house. Since you are a guest in the
                                                                    We suggest that you carry a major credit card in your name,
home, your bedroom should be kept in a manner that shows
                                                                    which you can use to charge some items and to receive a
your respect and appreciation. In Morocco, the notion of
                                                                    cash advance in an emergency situation. American Express,
personal and private space does not exist in the same manner
                                                                    Visa and Mastercard are all options; past participants seem to
as in the US, and your room in your host family is not the
                                                                    have the most luck with a Visa card. You will need to know
same as having your own room in the US. Do not leave
                                                                    your PIN number to use this card to receive cash and in
your clothes strewn on the floor or leave personal belongings
                                                                    order to receive cash advances from the local bank, you will
around the house. Do not put your shoes on furniture,
                                                                    need to have your passport along. When using a credit card,
including your own bed. Unfortunately, US students are often
                                                                    remember that interest is charged and that the purchase price
viewed as messy and disrespectful. Do your part to correct this
                                                                    is converted to dollars based on the exchange rate the day
                                                                    the purchase is posted on your account in the US, not the
If you have questions about your homestay experience, speak         day you make the purchase. Make arrangements for someone
to the on-site staff. As in the US, it is not acceptable for        to pay your bill in the US while you are overseas. Do not
you to be asked, for example, to assist with caring for a host      expect too much from your credit card unless you plan to
family member on a daily basis, be exposed to drunken or            patronize the sorts of upscale and tourist establishments that
rude behavior, or tolerate any sexual advances. Although it is      most participants avoid. Small shops and traditional markets
extremely rare for a host family experience to involve any of       generally do not accept credit cards and sometimes do not
these, speak to the on-site staff if you have any concerns.         have change for larger bills.

Money Matters                                                       Communication
Money & Its Exchange                                                Mail
Morocco’s official currency is the Dirham, which is broken          Mail should be sent to the student address at the Morocco
down into 100 Centimes. Most Moroccans, however, tend               office on the cover of this Guide.
to use a system of francs (Centimes) and riyals (5 Centimes)
                                                                    Mail takes about two weeks to reach Morocco from the US. It
among themselves, and prices more often than not will be
                                                                    is advisable to send everything first class airmail. Any valuable
given in one of these denominations.
                                                                    items should be registered; obtain a receipt and airway bill
Visit for current exchange rates.                        number, which can assist in tracing packages should they
                                                                    get lost. Do not attempt to send a parcel or letter by surface
Debit Cards                                                         mail; it would take at least 3 months. Mail whose contents
                                                                    are liable to customs duty (tax) will have to be received in Fez
Past students have recommended that you carry a debit card
                                                                    where duty is normally collected. An advice slip is posted to
to take out dirham from ATM machines. You should inform
                                                                    the recipient to come to Fez to declare the item to be duty
your bank in advance of your travel to facilitate international
                                                                    paid. Make sure friends and family indicate on the parcels,
use. The exchange rate on such cards tends to be a bit better
                                                                    “Contents are of no commercial value.” This may help the
than on cash or traveler’s checks. Moreover, a lost or stolen
                                                                    authorities decide whether or not to charge duty on parcels.
ATM card can take longer to replace than traveler’s checks.
Thus it is a good idea to take at least some money in the form
of traveler’s checks, and probably a small amount of cash in
dollars as well. You can exchange money for a nominal fee at        Even if your Moroccan home has a telephone, you will not be
a local bank (not all banks handle foreign currency, however),      allowed to make international calls. You may be able to receive
an exchange office, or the airport. When exchanging US              calls. There are many bureaus from where you can make
currency, the exchange rate will be less favorable if you are       international calls at reasonable cost. You may wish to arrange
exchanging bills that are $20 or less. Carry all cash, traveler’s   a monthly time for your family to call once you have settled
checks, debit cards, and credit cards in your money belt except     in and have a schedule and specific location. Generally you
what you might need during the day.                                 should share your homestay phone number with your parents
                                                                    only. Most homestay parents do not like excessive use of their
Wiring Money                                                        private home phones (which are usually in their bedrooms),
                                                                    whether to receive or call out. Moreover, even for local calls
Wiring money can be costly, and the money can get lost. US
                                                                    there is a toll, so use the phone sparingly.
checks or bank drafts sent from home require an additional
fee to cash and may not arrive in time. Money orders, cashier’s     All Learning Abroad Center programs require all students
checks, and certified checks are extremely difficult to cash in     to purchase a cell phone. This not only is a good safety

precaution but it greatly facilitates communication between
students and staff. Phones cost approximately $50, depending
on how fancy a phone you wish to have, and you can recoup
a good share of your costs by selling your phone before you
leave Morocco.                                                   See the Learning Abroad Center’s website for academic
Email & Web                                                      index.html.
Internet bureaus are available in a number of Moroccan cities.
The ALIF office has computers for students to use. The office    Program Enrollment Options
also has wireless access for use on laptops.
                                                                 Semester Program
Work Abroad & Work Permits                                       Courses Offered
Students on study abroad programs should give careful            All students a total of 13–16 semester credits. Complete
consideration to the practicality of working while               course descriptions are included on the website.
participating in the program. In most countries it is not        Beginning Modern Standard Arabic I (5 credits)*
possible to work when entering with a student visa.
                                                                 Beginning Modern Standard Arabic II (5 credits)*
Full-time students who plan to stay beyond the end of their
program may be able to obtain a work permit through a            Intermediate Modern Standard Arabic I (5 credits)*
variety of work permit programs, depending on the country.
                                                                 Intermediate Modern Standard Arabic II (5 credits)*
Students often find this a useful way to complement
their study program and extend their stay. Students going        Advanced Modern Standard Arabic I (5 credits)*
abroad with the specific goal of working should work with
a permit program or obtain all necessary documentation           Advanced Modern Standard Arabic II (5 credits)*
before departing for their destination. Information on work      Beginning Colloquial Moroccan Arabic I (5 credits)*
opportunities can be found at the Learning Abroad Center.
                                                                 Beginning Colloquial Moroccan Arabic II (5 credits)*
                                                                 Introduction to Arabic Newspaper (3 credits)
It is important to be aware that the Learning Abroad Center      Media Arabic (3 credits)
and the Office of Student Finance, in compliance with            Gender, Modernization, and Social Change in Morocco
the Federal Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of           (3 credits)
1974 (FERPA) and Regents policy, cannot share financial
information with a third party (including parents, spouse,       Narrating the Nation: Literature and Postcolonial Identity in
guardians, etc.) without your written permission. You can        Morocco (3 credits)
download a Student Information Release Authorization at
                                                                 Moroccan Society and Culture (3 credits for the semester, 1 Complete the form and send it to OneStop
                                                                 credit for the summer)
Student Services, 200 Fraser Hall, 106 Pleasant St. SE,
Minneapolis, MN 55455. The Learning Abroad Center must
                                                                 *Summer options
receive a copy of a notarized Power of Attorney form in order
to share any program-specific information.

Registration                                                       Drop/Add
All University of Minnesota Twin Cities students will be           You are responsible for dropping and adding your own
responsible for registering themselves for the Arabic Language     courses. In addition to dropping or adding your classes
& Culture program in Morocco. You will be given all the            online, you also must speak with your on-site contact prior
necessary information for registration by the Learning Abroad      to dropping or adding a class. Students will have one week
Center. Do not look for your class number to appear on the         from the beginning of the program to drop/add classes. After
online class list. The numbers you need for registration can       that week you will receive a “W” on your transcript if you
only be obtained from the Learning Abroad Center. If you           drop and you will need the approval of on-site staff and the
register for a course that is listed online, you have registered   Learning Abroad Center to add.
for the wrong course and may be subject to tuition charges.
Register yourself after your designated registration queue
time. You are guaranteed a spot in your study abroad program       Books and Materials
courses. Students from the University of Minnesota Morris,
                                                                   All books and materials will be bought or rented on site. Paper
Crookston, or Duluth as well as Non-University of Minnesota
                                                                   items are a bit more expensive in Morocco so you may want to
students will be registered by the Learning Abroad Center and
                                                                   bring tablets or folders. The estimated fee for books is $100.
may disregard these instructions. Complete your registration
no later than two weeks prior to the start of the University of
Minnesota term during which you will be studying abroad.
                                                                   Language of Instruction
Failure to complete registration may result in late registration   All language courses in Morocco will be taught in Modern
fees and may delay or prevent financial aid disbursement.          Standard Arabic, unless noted that the course is Colloquial
Contact or with               Moroccan. Content courses will be taught in English.
questions about financial aid.
If you do not register for study abroad, your grades cannot be     Grades and Credit
processed. Failure to register before departing for study abroad
may result in no credit for your study abroad program.             All courses must be taken for A/F credit. The Learning
                                                                   Abroad Center does not permit S/N (pass/fail) registration.
Before Registration:                                               The University of Minnesota’s A/F grading scale includes
                                                                   grades of A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, and F. The
  •	 Meet with your academic adviser(s) and complete the
                                                                   only exception is the optional Global Identity course, which
     Academic Planning for Study Abroad Form.
                                                                   is graded on a pass/fail basis unless a student notifies the
  •	 Check online for holds or required registration approv-       Learning Abroad Center in advance of the program that s/he
     als that would prevent you from registering for classes       needs to take the course A/F.
     and clear them before the registration date. The Learn-
     ing Abroad Center can not remove holds on student             All coursework is posted on a University of Minnesota
     accounts. To check for holds, go to www.onestop.umn.          transcript approximately eight weeks after the end of the
     edu/registration/guidelines/holds.                            program. For non-University of Minnesota students, the
                                                                   Learning Abroad Center sends a transcript of work completed
  •	 Online registration requires that you have Netscape or        on the Arabic Language & Culture program in Morocco
     Internet Explorer 4.0 or higher, that you have registered     to the address the student has specified on the Transcript
     at least once during the two previous terms, and that         Release Form. Ensure that this address is the correct one.
     you have initiated your internet account password. If         Non-University of Minnesota students can order additional
     you have not initiated your internet account, you will        copies for a charge directly from the University of Minnesota’s
     be prompted to do so when you enter the registration          transcript office at:
     system.                                                       html
  •	 Web registration is available Monday through Saturday
     6:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. and Sunday 12:30 p.m. to 2 a.m.
                                                                   This program does not grant incompletes. Rare exceptions can
                                                                   be requested in cases such as serious health problems or family
                                                                   emergencies. These exceptions must be approved in advance
                                                                   by the on-site director.

Student Grievances                                                 The Linguistic Situation in Morocco
                                                                   For those students who have never lived or studied in an Arab
Academic grievances are complaints brought by students
                                                                   country before a word of explanation is in order. While both
regarding the provision of education and academic support
                                                                   Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) and Colloquial Moroccan
services affecting their role as students. For grievances
                                                                   Arabic (CMA) are largely derived from the same basic source
concerning University of Minnesota sponsored or cosponsored
                                                                   (so-called “Classical Arabic”), they are in many ways two
learning abroad programs offered through the Learning
                                                                   distinct languages. MSA is the language of the news media,
Abroad Center, students should make inquiries and appeals
                                                                   written correspondence, official documents, literature and
to the appropriate University officials, in the following order:
                                                                   formal speeches. As strange as it might sound, MSA is not a
the program representative in the Learning Abroad Center, the
                                                                   language spoken fluently by the majority of Moroccans (or
Director of the Learning Abroad Center, the Student Dispute
                                                                   Arabs, for that matter). Though few educated Moroccans
Resolution Center, and the Office of the General Counsel.
                                                                   have difficulty reading Arabic and understanding Arabic news
For complaints concerning non-University of Minnesota
                                                                   broadcasts, few of them feel truly confident in using it as a
programs, students should make appeals to the program
                                                                   means of oral communication. To further complicate matters
                                                                   for students wishing to practice their MSA outside of class,
                                                                   many Moroccan professionals have been educated in France
                                                                   so that in discussing more intellectual or technical topics they
Life in Morocco                                                    may have difficulty expressing themselves without turning to
                                                                   French. It is not uncommon for a foreign student trying to
                                                                   make conversation with a Moroccan in MSA to be answered
Introduction to Morocco                                            in French. Obviously, if you don’t know French or (wisely)
(from the ALIF Orientation Manual)                                 pretend not to know it, the Moroccan in question will be
                                                                   forced to struggle to express himself or herself in as correct
Morocco is one of the most functionally modern and open            a variety of MSA as he/she can muster. There are, happily,
countries of the Arab world and, at the same time, one             exceptions to this generalization, even some very articulate
of the most traditional. Fez is a city where one can enjoy         ones, especially in a city like Fez which prides itself as being
the best of both worlds. City-dwelling Moroccans, led by           Morocco’s “Intellectual Capital”; however, on the whole,
His Majesty King Mohamed VI, move from ultra-modern                students of MSA should not have unrealistic expectations
to ancient modes of doing things with the same ease and            about chatting in literary Arabic with the corner grocer whose
dignity that they shift from French to Arabic. It is a country     native language may well be Berber anyway. It bears pointing
of pronounced tolerance where foreigners are normally held         out that for most Moroccans MSA spoken in day-to-day
in high esteem and made to feel welcome. Though rural              situations has an almost comical quality about it, comparable
people’s hospitality is often as spontaneous as it is genuine,     perhaps to the effect of speaking Shakespearean English with a
urbanized Moroccans typically don’t open their doors readily       regular person on the street.
to foreigners without some sort of preliminary introduction
or after repeated contact which gives them time to size you        Islam
up. Generally, doors to Moroccan contacts are not opened
                                                                   Though Morocco is legally-speaking a secular state, Islam
through casual encounters in public places. The people of
                                                                   remains the official state religion and 98% of Moroccans
Morocco have a distinct and age-old cultural-religious heritage
                                                                   are at least nominally Muslim of the prevalent Sunni school
of which they are justifiably proud. They cherish deep-rooted
                                                                   (rather than the Shî’a as in Iran). It is indicative that among
values and norms that may not coincide with your own. It
                                                                   the titles of His Majesty King Mohamed VI of Morocco is
therefore behooves students to be adequately informed about
                                                                   “Prince of Believers” (Amir al-Mu’minîn), an ancient title used
Moroccan culture and, while you are not expected to agree
                                                                   by the early Caliphs of Islam. Fortunately, so-called “Islamic
with all of its attitudes and conventions, you will do well to
                                                                   fundamentalist” political movements have not gained any real
either express appreciation or to at least reserve judgment and
                                                                   foothold in Morocco and violence perpetrated in the name
negative comment.
                                                                   of Islam is virtually unknown. At the same time, there has
In fact, the Moroccan who approaches you in a friendly way         been a subtle but perceptible resurgence of Islam as a guiding
in the street is more often than not some sort of hustler who      force in the lives of many Moroccans. This can be measured
wishes to sell something or make a commission on you from          by increasing mosque attendance, greater proliferation of
someone else who has something to sell. Thus, many young           head covering and full-length clothing by young women, and
enterprising Moroccans have turned to being unofficial guides      growing membership in certain Sufi orders.
or hustlers in order to earn money and they continue to do
so despite the government’s recent campaign against these

Visiting Muslim Places of Worship: In Morocco, non-               Women in Morocco
Muslims are not allowed to enter mosques, mausoleums or
                                                                  The place women are accorded in Moroccan society has
other religious shrines. This interdiction does not include the
                                                                  seen significant transformation in recent years. By way of
theological colleges (medersas), which are among Morocco’s
                                                                  example, two women were recently elected to the Moroccan
most splendid historic monuments. However, Moroccans
                                                                  Parliament (one of whom is from Fez) and classes at
are fairly tolerant of non-Muslims peering (respectfully) into
                                                                  Morocco’s universities are attended by men and women in
mosques from the doorway.
                                                                  nearly equal numbers. More and more women are joining the
Ramadan: During the month of Ramadan the vast majority            work force in professions that were once the exclusive domain
of Moroccans fast (from early dawn to sunset) and those that      of men. Nevertheless, traditional attitudes among both men
don’t are very circumspect about eating, drinking or smoking.     and women concerning the role of the latter are still much
Cafés remain closed all day and open about an hour and a          in force and differ considerably from those in other societies
half after sunset. As for restaurants, most close down for the    and, viewed from a Western perspective, the constraints
month with the exception of a few located in hotels. Students     placed upon women often seem extreme. For example, certain
residing with Moroccan host families are not expected to          public places, such as bars and most cafés, are considered
fast and some provision will be made for their breakfasts and     inappropriate for women, and unmarried women (even if they
lunches; however, the main meal(s) will be in the evening.        are over 21) may have strict parental restrictions on when they
                                                                  can leave the house.
Dress: The strictest Islamic prescriptions require that a
Muslim woman be completely covered except for her hands           The greatest problems most female students will encounter are
and face and that a Muslim man be covered from his navel to       cat calls from men on the streets, generally consisting of little
his knees. However, there are many pious women throughout         more than “bonjour” or “hello.” This treatment is not reserved
the Muslim world who adopt this form of dress for prayer          for foreigners. Moroccan women receive similar advances,
but wear western style clothing for work or leisure. There        and are generally aware that, while extremely annoying, such
are many variations in the personal interpretation of what is     advances are seldom physically threatening. A response is
“proper” clothing for a woman. Here, too, most city-dwelling      not expected. Don’t worry about being “rude” as it is not
Moroccans are fairly tolerant in their attitudes and do not       impolite to ignore a stranger’s greetings or questions in the
expect foreigners to adhere to local dress codes which often      street; to respond—even in a negative way—is to offer them
vary dramatically from person to person anyway. However,          reason to continue bothering you. It goes without saying that
this does not mean that anything goes. Few Moroccan men           invitations from unknown men to “meet their families” should
wear shorts apart from sporting activities which require them,    be flatly refused. If anyone becomes particularly persistent,
nor do they go bare-chested except at the beach. Foreigners       rude, or difficult to avoid, call him to someone else’s attention.
who do this are usually tolerated but stick out like sore         Other Moroccans—both men and women—are often more
thumbs. Female students are encouraged to dress in a way          than willing to intervene when they see someone in need of
which balances their need for comfort with a basic minimum        help and won’t hesitate to chastise someone whom they see
of modesty to avoid attracting attention to themselves as         behaving shamefully. If you are ever followed more than once
objects of sexual desire. This does not mean they are expected    by the same man, contact the onsite staff rather than trying to
to wear headscarves or long dresses, but they should avoid        deal with him on your own.
mini-skirts, tight pants, shorts, and low-cut tops.
                                                                  By far the best way to ensure one’s safety in Morocco is by
Alcohol: Drinking alcohol is expressly forbidden in Islam         avoiding deserted places and sticking to areas where there
and its negative social connotations derive largely from this     are plenty of people around to help should you have any
interdiction. While Fez does have several bars, hotels and        difficulties. Women in Morocco, more often than not, go
restaurants that serve liquor, most Moroccans do not drink.       out of the house in pairs or groups, and you will rarely find
Those that do are often not the best elements of Moroccan         a woman on the streets by herself after dark. While this is by
society. Therefore, students—especially women—are                 no means necessary for foreign students, having a Moroccan
cautioned about social drinking with Moroccans, as this           companion to show you around the city, at least initially, will
can sometimes lead to unpleasant and, occasionally, even          go a long way toward making your stay in Fez an enjoyable
dangerous situations. If you drink, it is recommended that        experience.
you do so in hotel lounges or restaurants rather than in bars
                                                                  As mentioned earlier in the section on Islam, dressing
which tend to be quite seedy in Morocco.
                                                                  modestly is one of the most important factors for avoiding
                                                                  unpleasant situations. Avoiding deserted places, walking
                                                                  purposefully, and realizing that it is entirely inappropriate to
                                                                  talk to unknown men in the street—no matter how persistent
                                                                  they may be—will spare you a lot of headaches.

                                                                   Coming Home
Women should never attempt to go to bars unaccompanied.
This is partially true for cafés, too, which tend to be male-
only gathering places. However, the more elegant pastry-shop
or juice-shop cafes are usually acceptable places for women,
especially sitting inside or upstairs with a companion.            By the time you return home from Morocco, you will have
Naturally, foreign women have a certain leeway that                grown and changed significantly. You will probably find
“respectable” Moroccan women do not share. However, even           yourself experiencing reverse culture shock. Many students
this cultural license has its limitations and its price. Smoking   find that returning home is harder than leaving was. It is very
in public by women is still considered somewhat risqué.            normal to experience these feelings and you aren’t alone. You
                                                                   are encouraged to tap into the resources available in order to
Male-Female Relationships                                          make the transition home easier. To say connected to your
                                                                   study abroad experience, you may want to:
Relations between men and women in Morocco differ
considerably from those in the US. Students should try to be         •	 Talk with other study abroad participants
sensitive to these differences, as misunderstandings can lead        •	 Become a classroom visit intern
to hurt feelings, resentment, and, occasionally, physically
threatening situations. Strong, non-romantic friendships             •	 Assist with future Morocco orientation
between members of the opposite sex are far less common in           •	 Become a Global Ambassador through the Learning
Morocco than in the US, and these are generally formed and              Abroad Center
maintained within the structure of family gatherings, work, or
school. The occasional couples you will see walking together       Stop by the Learning Abroad Center any time. We enjoy
or in cafes are most often married or dating—a practice            talking to students who have returned from study abroad.
which is still not as common or open in Fez as in other            Finally, remember to visit the Returned Students section
major Moroccan cities. This is not to say that male-female         of our website at
friendships do not exist, however, as many students have           returnedStudents/index.html.
developed many lifelong friendships in the ALIF garden and
through their families.
Should you be interested in something more intimate than a
platonic friendship, whether you’re male or female, make sure
you know what you’re getting into. Outside of schoolyard
flirtations, much of the dating that does go on in Fez occurs
with marriage as the eventual aim. Some couples, in fact, are
not allowed to date until after their engagement. If you have
no intention of getting married, it’s wise to make sure that
the other interested party (and his or her family) shares your

In general, Fez is quite hot and dry in the summer and cold
and damp in the winter. This cold has a particular chilling bite
indoors because most of the buildings are made of concrete,
tild, and marble and lack any insulation or heating to speak
of. Layer your clothes to be prepared for the intense midday
sun which creates extreme changes in temperature from day to

Bartering is a regular practice in Morocco. If you do not feel
comfortable bartering, you may find haggle-free shopping at a
store called “Cocopraf ” which offers set prices on all goods.

  Cultural Adjustment
                                                                                              A sense of isolation sets in. Boredom and a lack of motivation
                                                                                              often follow. Unresolved personal issues often surface during
                                                                                              this stage.
  The On-Site Experience                                                                      Integration/Acceptance: After continued effort you find
  What happens when you suddenly lose clues and symbols that                                  yourself more at ease with language, friends, professional, and
  orient you to situations in everyday life? What happens when                                academic interests. The culture you are living in is more easily
  facial expressions, gestures, and words are unfamiliar? The                                 examined. Differences between yourself and the society you
  psychological discomfort and adjustment period in a foreign                                 live in become understandable and you come to accept both
  country is commonly known as culture shock or cultural                                      the situation and yourself in it, allowing you to relax and feel
  adjustment.                                                                                 at home.

  You will almost certainly experience some form of culture                                   Return Anxiety: Just when you feel at home in the new
  shock. It might hit you after two days, two weeks or two                                    country it’s time to go. Thoughts of leaving new friends raise
  months—timing varies widely for different people. Six                                       anxiety similar to those felt before departure. You sense that
  common phases of cultural adjustment are listed below. These                                you’ve changed as a person and apprehension grows when you
  may be out of order for you, one phase may last longer than                                 think about people at home that may not understand your
  another or you may skip a step entirely.                                                    new feelings and insights, yet you may feel guilty for wanting
                                                                                              to stay.
  Initial Fascination: On arrival your surroundings seem
  glamorous and exotic, you feel like the focus of attention and                              When in any of the above phases you may experience: changes
  activity.                                                                                   in sleeping habits, feelings of helplessness or hopelessness,
                                                                                              loneliness, depression, unexplainable crying, placing blame
  Initial Culture Shock: The initial fascination and euphoria                                 for difficulties on the program or host culture, homesickness,
  fade as you settle in and you enter an emotional decline.                                   getting angry easily, increase in physical ailments or pain,
                                                                                              compulsive eating or lack of appetite.
  Surface Adjustment: After the initial “down” (a few days to a
  few weeks for most), you begin to truly adjust and settle into                              Other symptoms may manifest themselves as well. It is
  your surroundings. Language skills begin to improve, and                                    important to understand these are part of a normal process
  you’ll feel less fatigued. Often you’ll be forming a small group                            of adjustment, however, if uncomfortable feelings persist for
  of friends at this stage as well.                                                           extended periods or seem unbearable, seek assistance from
                                                                                              your programs onsite support staff.
  Feelings of Isolation: Difficulties in your new culture seem to
  stubbornly remain and you grow frustrated with the process.

                                                    Departure                                                             Return
Low Comfort and Satisfaction High

                                                          Initial            Surface                   Integration/
                                                        Fascination         Adjustment                 Acceptance
                                     Anticipating                                                                     Anxiety
                                                                Culture Shock
                                                                                         Feelings of

                                    Home Culture                                Host Culture                                    Home Culture

                                                          Cultural Adjustment Curve
  Adjusted from Oberg (1960) and Gallahorn (1963)


To top