Morocco Study Abroad Country Profile

Morocco Overview

Morocco is a country that always seems to have a mysterious, ancient air about it. The country reflects a unique blend of Mediterranean, Arabic, and African influence. Morocco is incredibly multiethnic, and the true identity of the country is up for debate – with so many different groups of people located in various regions of the country, it is hard to say which ethnic background is truly representative of Morocco. The starkest cultural attributes are the variety of languages spoken in the streets of cities and in the various regions of the country, the unique style of dress, and the deceptively simple architecture (buildings are often ornately decorated and lavish on the inside). Despite its sometimes hard climate and natural environment, the people and culture of Morocco make it a very hospitable place.

Cultural Highlights

Morocco’s culture is the product of the many diverse backgrounds of its people. On the street, travelers will hear a wide variety of languages and dialects. French is spoken in the streets, a remnant of a French protectorate that lasted 50 years. Some half-dozen Berber languages, the products of the numerous indigenous groups in North Africa. And of course, Moroccan Arabic is also widely spoken.

Morocco is a small country, and its cities are not the most modern. However, for the last decade, Morocco has been host to its own international film festival, a cosmopolitan gathering of international celebrities and elites. The International Film Festival of Marrakech features internationally acclaimed films, and the country is an excellent choice to hold an international film festival because it is often the location of principal photography for many international productions. Notable recent films have included Babel and Body of Lies.

Popular Fields of Study

Morocco study abroad programs in the Arabic language are very popular, particularly because the country is seen as relatively accessible by students in relation to countries elsewhere in the Arabic world. Intensive programs frequently take place during the summer, but can also take place during a normal school semester. Other programs of study cover topics like multiculturalism and human rights, which may examine Islam as a system of thought and its influence on politics and government. These programs also explore Morocco’s political system and monarchy, as well as the country’s place in the Middle East and among the various cultures of which it is comprised.

Why Study Abroad in Morocco?

Morocco has many unique advantages as a study abroad destination. Here are ten reasons why you should consider studying abroad in Morocco.

1. Arabic Language

Immersion is the best technique for learning a language, particularly when that language is as complex and different as Arabic. Morocco study abroad participants will have an accessible environment in which to practice their language skills.

2. Old-World Charm

The streets and marketplaces of Morocco’s cities have a very authentic feel, and the atmosphere is largely unchanged from earlier times.

3. Easy Access

Morocco provides a perfect starting place to explore other countries in Africa, or to jump continents and explore Europe.

4. Marrakech

This city, situated at the base of the Atlas Mountains, is typical of North African cities, with an older, fortressed part of the city immediately adjacent to a more modern area. Marrakech is a beautiful, historically rich city.

5. Fes

This city is the most complete medieval city in the Arab world, and is considered the religious and cultural center of Morocco.

6. Tangier

This city has traditionally been the "gateway to Africa" for many travelers, particularly those coming from Europe. The city is very much chaotic, with boisterous touts hawking their wares in the streets, but it provides a backdrop for a very memorable experience.

7. Ride A Camel

The quintessential activity for tourists in Morocco. Look for opportunities to ride a camel in Marrakech and other areas.

8. Islamic Lifestyle

Morocco is a great place for students to experience the Islamic lifestyle. Homestays with families during Ramadan and Eid al Fitr can be especially memorable.

9. Hiking In The Atlas Mountains

The lure of the Atlas Mountains is strong for many travelers, and the mountains are a great location for hiking and trekking.

10. The Sahara Desert

A unique way to experience Morocco’s past. Fortified villages, Berber castles, and abandoned Foreign Legion outposts are remnants of a different way of life.

Morocco Study Abroad Statistics

Morocco Country Ranking: 30+

(based on estimated total outbound U.S. students)
  • % of U.S. students: less than 1%
  • Total US Students 2006/07: less than 1,000
  • Total US Students 2007/08: less than 1,000
  • Yearly 2007/08 Trend: N/A
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