Arabic and North African Studies Program (ARANAS)
Do you study at an institution with limited instruction in Arabic language? Interested in learning more about North Africa? Do you want to jump-start your language learning with an intensive language program? Would you like to study Arabic in an Arabic-speaking country? Does the opportunity to visit Morocco sound attractive? Would you like to study along with Moroccan students in a modern educational environment?
The Arabic and North African Studies program at Al Akhawayn University in Morocco provides all of these opportunities to students from all over the world, at the undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate levels. Over the last 12 years, more than 600 students from 35 nationalities, most of them affiliated with North American universities, have come to the Middle Atlas Mountains in Ifrane, Morocco, to develop their Arabic language skills, learn about North Africa, and experience various aspects of Moroccan culture through club activities and field trips to such places as the sand dunes of southern Morocco, the historical medina of Fez, and the dazzling city of Marrakech. This number is in addition to the dozens of exchange students who take Arabic during their time at AUI.
Run through the School of Humanities and Social Sciences (SHSS) at AUI, The ARANAS program grants academic credits which can be applied to an individuals degree program in his/her home institution. The Arabic language component is an intensive program involving up to 190 contact hours. In fact, a diligent student, willing to devote himself or herself to preparing and attending the full morning of classes, and then completing homework assignments, can realistically hope to achieve one full academic year of Arabic language by successfully completing the summer program. Students will experience learning Arabic not only in class and through homework, but also through interaction with students, instructors and staff at the university as well as others outside the university in the community of Ifrane. Immersion activities include information-gathering assignments and reports in Arabic on projects involving the local community.
The North African Studies courses, in which students study alongside Moroccan university students, enable participants to sample academic courses focusing on North Africa and the Middle East. These classes have ranged in topic from Islamic Civilization and Issues in Contemporary North Africa to North African Literature and Moroccan Cinema.
The ARANAS program is supervised by the Dean of the School of Humanities, Dr. Mohamed Dahbi. The Arabic and the North African Studies components are administered by Dr. Abdellah Chekayri, Summer Program Coordinator. The Special Program Manager, Mr. Nour-eddine Labiad will handle inquiries. The Office of International Programs acts as a liaison between the ARANAS program, the participants and their home institutions.
AUI is located in Ifrane, in the Middle Atlas Mountains, at an altitude of 1,600 m or about 5,000 feet. Ifrane is just 60 km from Meknes, 80 km from Moulay Idriss Zerhoun and the Roman ruins of Volubilis, 65 km from Fez, and 200 km from Rabat. Winters in Ifrane can be cold with significant snowfall, and summers are pleasant. Oak and cedar forests, the springs, streams and lakes around Ifrane have made it a very popular resort for all seasons.