The Virginia Military Institute is pleased to present Passage to Morocco, the premier cultural and linguistic immersion program in North Africa. Venture into a world of mystery, extreme contrasts, and beauty. Come to Morocco, and experience an Islamic culture that has thrived at the doorstep of Europe for centuries and puts to test theories of a "Clash of Civilizations."
Dates: May 23 - July 4, 2016
Cost: $4500.00, excluding airfare (subject to BOV approval)
Fees include tuition, homestay room and board (two meals per day), insurance,, and all costs associated with scheduled excursions except some meals. Roundtrip airfare to Morocco is not included.
Room and Board
Students will stay with selected Moroccan families or, in special cases, the student housing arranged by the Arabic Language Institute of Fez (ALIF). The home stay will greatly augment language acquisition and provide an enhanced understanding of Moroccan culture. For the overwhelming number of past participants, the experience of living in the heart of a Moroccan family (whose hospitality is legendary for good reason) is the highlight of their visit. The home stay also allows you to practice your Arabic in a supportive setting and learn about Moroccan culture from the inside. At least one member of the family will be proficient in English. However, students wishing a deeper immersion experience can request a non-English speaking or French-speaking family. Two meals per day will be provided with the homestay.
Any current student in good standing with an accredited university is eligible to apply. VMI students need only submit an application. Applicants from other universities should include a faculty letter of recommendation, an official transcript, and a short essay outlining the applicant's personal and academic goals for the program, along with the application. Application must be received no later than 28 February 2015.
Dr. Mohamed Taifi, Professor of Arabic and French at VMI, will serve as the Program Director. Dr. Taifi is a native of Fez, Morocco and a distinguished author, professor and academic administrator. His vast knowledge and experience will ensure participants enjoy an exceptional academic and cultural experience.
Classes at ALIF are conducted in a large, Moorish-style villa surrounded by an oasis-like setting of date palms, olive trees, and rosemary shrubs. The tranquil residential neighborhood is situated away from the noise of the downtown area yet is still within easy walking distance of many restaurants and cafes. ALIF has a specialized library with texts on Arab, North African, and Islamic studies, as well as a collection of Arabic language videos and cassettes.
Academic and Cultural Program
This five-week program consists of intensive Modern Standard Arabic study, cultural diversity exploration through homestays, interdisciplinary lectures in English, and field trips to historical and cultural attractions. Although subject to change, excursions traditionally include visits to the capital city of Rabat, the Imperial City of Meknes, Roman Ruins at Volubilis, the Holy City of Moulay Idriss, Museums in Meknes and Fez, Islamic "Medersas," mountain Berber villages of Ifrane, Azrou, and Sefrou, as well as the Sahara desert at Merzouga. Students can earn up to nine semester credits; six semester credit hours (120 contact hours) in Modern Standard Arabic or French, and three semester credit hours for a course entitled "The History and Culture of Morocco." In addition to formal language instruction all students will receive 10 hours of instruction in "Survival Moroccan Arabic."
Fez, the Islamic City
Amongst the great centers of Islamic/Eastern civilization (Baghdad, Damascus, Cairo, and Jerusalem) Fez is the most well preserved, having never been destroyed by either war or natural disaster. Fez has long been known as the "Intellectual Capital of Morocco," and prides itself on its status as a historic and hospitable city. Founded in the 9th Century AD, the old medina remains much as it was centuries ago when students began flocking there from around the world in search of knowledge. Recently named a "World Heritage City" by UNESCO, Fez is recognized by scholars worldwide as the best preserved and only truly functioning "Islamic City."