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IES Abroad Rabat Summer - Francophone Studies & Arabic

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Health and Safety

    8

  • Social Life

    6

Amazing Experience in the Maghreb

IES Abroad Rabat Summer Studies program was a great experience for me. It was the perfect opportunity for me to use and improve my French in an academic setting as well as pick up some Moroccan Arabic. While I was participating in the program, I also got to experience Ramadan, which was an interesting opportunity to learn more about Islam and its practices. My host family spoke good French but was really encouraging and helped me practice my Arabic every night.

The field study in Senegal is also a major benefit of this program. Before going on the program, I had studied French for several years but wanted to expand my horizons and experiences cultures much different from my own. Morocco offered many fascinating cultural experiences, but my personal growth was definitely multiplied by our stay in Dakar. It changed my previously held views about North and West Africa. If you’re interested in learning more about the Francophone world, I highly recommend this program.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Health and Safety

    7

  • Social Life

    6

Language and Culture outside the classroom

My experience in Rabat was incredible and intense from the beginning, partially because we were essentially experiencing a semester in the course of seven weeks. I had class every day--three classes a day: I chose to take literature, politics, and also had the required Moroccan Arabic course that every student took. I stayed in a host family and through them experienced every day life as well as the month of Ramadan.

My academic experience presented topics that I was familiar with (French literature and the politics of the Arab world) and turned my perceptions upside down. We explored everything from post-colonization sentiment to the concept of "being a stranger" in literature class and I wrote what I feel is the best essay I have written in some time (in English or French) in the politics class. Politics class also included a visit to the Moroccan Parliament following a unit on the Moroccan constitution.

My living situation helped my language skills immensely. I have studied French for eight years and Arabic for two years, and while almost everyone in my home stay spoke French, the one person who did not was the two year old granddaughter, who spoke the colloquial Arabic at essentially my level, allowing me easy communication and a great introduction to conversations.

The program administration felt more like camp counselors or family members than directors, which was excellent, as we were travelling with them for several weekends and were most always in the center.

My only problems with the program were that we were not informed of the medications and vaccinations recommended/required for the weeklong trip to Senegal, which resulted in panic on my mother's end and a very early morning trip to Casablanca--I am unsure if the Senegal trip will be offered in the future, but if so, do your research!

Additionally, it should be noted that since this is a summer course, and is very intensive, the opportunities to interact with the local students will be limited. Perhaps the best way to meet Moroccans is through host siblings. However, I did become close with the other five students in the program, and we explored the city together.

Altogether, a highly recommended program for both the cultural experiences and the enriching academics.