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Overseas and Off-Campus Programs

Morocco Regional Area Study

Semester: Spring
Offered: Even years
Upcoming: Spring 2020, Spring 2022
Estimated Dates: Late January to late April
Program Focus: Regional Area Study with Language Component
Prerequisites: Arabic 101, with a 3.0 minimum GPA in the course or completion of Arabic 102.
Housing: Varies throughout the program
Spring 2019 Program Leader: Oren Kosansky
Associate Professor of Anthropology, 503-768-7661
Spring 2020 Program Leader: Leah Gilbert
Associate Professor of Political Science, 503-768-7642

Program Design

This program focuses on the history, culture, social dynamics, and socio-economic institutions of Morocco. The course of study includes Modern Standard Arabic (prior to departure) and intensive Moroccan Arabic, as well as the diverse religious heritage of the region, Morocco’s distinctive architecture and urban landscape, colonial and postcolonial experiences, modernization and globalization, and women and gender relations. The program is divided between three cities: Marrakesh, Agadir, and Fez. In each city, students take a language course and a content course. During the Marrakesh portion of the program (6 weeks), students take Moroccan Modernity at the Center for Language and Culture (CLC). During the Agadir portion of the program (4 weeks), students take Development and Sustainability in Morocco at Dar Si Hmad (DSH). During the Fez portion of the program, students take Gender and Society in Morocco at the International Institute for Languages and Cultures (INLAC).

Onsite Staff:

CLC: Hazma Weinman - Assistant Director

“I am an American-born English Language teacher and language program coordinator. I started teaching in the United States in 1999 and then moved to Morocco in 2001 where I have been ever since. I taught for 8 years at the American Language Center in Marrakesh and then in 2009 co-founded the Center for Language & Culture, Morocco (CLC). In seven short years, the CLC has developed a wonderful reputation around Marrakesh and now has more than 3200 students. We also run international exchange programs mostly with American-based universities and NGOs. I also have three children that my wife and I are proud to be raising in the Kingdom of Morocco.”

Dar Si Hmad: Jamila Bargach & Maisie Breit

Jamila Bargach is the Director and one of the founders of Dar Si Hmad. An anthropologist by training with a PhD from Rice University, she has taught at University Mohammed V in Rabat and worked at a number of NGOs in Morocco and overseas. Jamila has published several articles on adoption practices, unwed mothers, gender and development as well as the book Orphans of Islam: Family, Abandonment, and Secret Adoption in Morocco (2002). She is a lover of the South and truly believes that this region offers unique opportunities for students to learn about Morocco and to discover how applied development projects unfold in specific contexts.

Maisie Breit is the Ethnographic Field School Manager at Dar Si Hmad. Maisie is a New York City native who lived in Paris before moving to Agadir in September, 2016. She attended Dartmouth College, where she majored in women’s and gender studies and Middle Eastern studies, and first fell in love with Morocco during a semester abroad in Fes in 2008. Maisie returned to Morocco twice to lead programs for the Experiment in International Living, and spent 2014-2016 pursuing a Master’s degree in Human Rights and Humanitarian Action at Sciences Po Paris School of International Affairs (PSIA). She is especially passionate about women’s rights, being in the outdoors, hiking, hot yoga, and couscous.

INLAC: Moha Ennaji

Moja Ennaji is one of the founders and the Senior Professor of Linguistics and Cultural Studies. He was head of the English Department at the University of Fez, Morocco, and the Director of Arab Studies at Rutgers University. Moha Ennaji has taught various courses to American students from Rutgers University, Purdue University, William and Mary University, Dartmouth College, and others. He has published extensively on language, gender, and cultural studies with a focus on North Africa. He was also a Fulbright visiting scholar at the Universities of Arizona, Washington, and Pennsylvania.

About the Program Leader: Leah Gilbert is an Assistant Professor in Political Science at Lewis and Clark College. Her research and teaching interests include democratization, civil society, regime theory, post-communist politics (with an emphasis on Russia), and European politics (with an emphasis on Germany). She speaks German and Russian and has conducted intensive fieldwork in both languages. 

Check out this video by Molly Brown from the Spring 2017 program!


Requirements Fulfilled: IS 215, IS 216 and IS 217 fulfill the 8-credit International Studies general education requirement. Students who complete Arabic 202 during the program fulfill the World Language proficiency general education requirement. IS 216 and IS 217 may be applied to the Middle East and North African Studies minor. 

Credits: 16 credits (4 courses)


FL 102: Moroccan Arabic (4 credits)

This course provides an intensive introduction to Darija, the Moroccan dialect of Arabic. Four weeks intensive study followed by continued study at regular intensity. Initial focus on “survival” language skills to be followed by broader study of the language. Emphasis on speaking skills, supplemented by use of written Arabic.

IS 215: Development and Sustainability in Morocco (4 credits)

This course will take students on a journey through the multiple and overlapping realities of contemporary life in Southwest Morocco. If one of the major challenges for a modern post-colonial national-state continues to be the prosperity of its population and the growth of its economies, in what ways are these faring today as the paradigms of modernity and bountiful natural resources are in crisis? This course will engage students in a study of energy concerns, livelihood quests, individual community hopes and aspirations, the larger frame of what is identified as “progress” and the role of development within such an endeavor.

IS 216: Moroccan Modernity (4 credits)

This course explores Moroccan society, culture and politics in contemporary global context. Lectures, discussions, and field trips will be led by a variety of Moroccan experts, supplemented by regular discussions with program leader. Emphasis will be placed on Morocco’s vibrant participation in the dynamics of post-colonial state formation, modernization, and globalization—and the ambivalent effects of this participation. Also included is exploration of the literary, visual, and musical arts and the religious communities of modern Morocco. Students will be encouraged to connect classroom activities to their ongoing experiences of living in Morocco. Reading and writing assignments, journals, presentations, independent study projects, and field exercises are used to promote and test multifaceted approaches to learning.

NOTE: Students have a choice of taking either Modern Standard Arabic for their fourth course, or Gender and Society in Morocco.

IS 217: Gender and Society in Morocco (4 credits)

This course examines the multifaceted relationships between women and men in Moroccan society. Beyond considering how gender formation and relations have been mediated by historically dynamic Islamic ideologies and institutions, the course attends to numerous other factors that have shaped gender identity, performance, and hierarchy. Particular attention will be paid to the ways in which gender intersects with other structures of identity formation and social life, such as ethnicity, class, and religion. Topics include: doctrinal norms and lived realities, language and gender, models of masculinity, Moroccan feminism and women’s rights, gender and international migration.

AR 102 or 202: Beginning or Intermediate Arabic

Course level will be determined by previous subject study.

ARB 102 Beginning Arabic II (4 credits)

Continued introduction to Modern Standard Arabic. Emphasis on reading and writing, pronunciation, comprehension of basic texts, vocabulary, basic grammar and syntax, and media to facilitate further learning of simple communication in common spoken Arabic.

ARB 202 Intermediate Arabic II (4 credits)

Continued development of reading, writing, and speaking skills in Modern Standard Arabic. Listening and speaking skills in either Levantine or Egyptian dialect will also be introduced. Emphasis on expanding knowledge of more complex grammar and syntax in Modern Standard Arabic. Ongoing learning about Arab cultures in the context of language learning through the use of texts and multimedia materials.

Excursions: The program includes group travel to other cities, such as Merzouga, San Cristobal de La Laguna (Tenerife, Canary Islands), Rabat, and Casablanca. The group also travels to the Sahara Desert for a week-long excursion.

Student Life

Housing: Students will live with host families in Marrakesh and Fez, and stay in student apartments in Agadir. Living with host families is a crucial aspect of the program because it helps students gain insight into Moroccan culture and daily life. In Marrakesh and Fez, students will alternate between eating lunch at the study center and eating lunch with their host families, and most dinners will be eaten with the host families. In Agadir, students are responsible for purchasing and preparing their own meals, but the Overseas Office gives them a stipend to cover the cost of their food.

Cultural Activities: Students have the option to take cultural classes in music, dance, and calligraphy. Additionally, students are paired up with local students as speaking partners in Marrakesh and Fez, giving them the chance to practice their conversational Arabic and engage with Moroccan students. Students will also have opportunities to participate in cultural activities on the many program-wide excursions during the semester, such as the camel trek in the Sahara Desert and the guided tour of Rabat.


2019-2020 Fee Breakdown*

Total Fee (includes Tuition, Program Fee, and Health & Wellness Fee): $33,517

Tuition: $26,173

Program Fee: $7,307

Health & Wellness Fee: $37**

Included in the program fee are room/housing, board/meals, and administrative fees. Not included are airfare, passport and visa expenses, primary insurance coverage, photographs, books, immunizations, and incidentals. 

*Fees are updated every February for the following academic year.

**The Health & Wellness Fee supports the operations of Wellness Services staff in delivering pre-program orientation services, as well as in providing health-related consultation regarding participant health needs. All students in the College of Arts and Sciences pay a mandatory fee of $37 per semester. The fee will be waived for non-Lewis & Clark participants.

Stipend: Students will receive a stipend to cover the cost of meals and transportation costs not covered by the program fee.

Estimated Airfare (Round Trip PDX to RAK): $1,000 - $2,000

Estimated Health Insurance Fee: $1,350.50

All students participating in overseas programs are automatically enrolled in iNext, a supplemental travel insurance program. The fee for iNext is covered in the program cost. However, students are also required to have comprehensive health insurance during their time abroad. All students participating in overseas programs, both abroad and domestic, are automatically enrolled in the College’s student health insurance program. Similar to a regular semester on-campus, students participating in overseas programs may waive enrollment in the student health insurance program if they have other comprehensive health insurance (e.g., through a parent, guardian or employer) that 1) provides coverage for them in the geographic region in which they will be studying and 2) includes mental health benefits. Click here for more information regarding health insurance & overseas programs.

Program Preparation

Application Process: Applications are due one year before the start of the program. The semester before the program, students who have been accepted will meet regularly for orientation. This orientation is meant to prepare the students for life in Morocco by exploring literature and culture, and provides an opportunity for students to learn more about the logistical details of the program.

For more information about the application process, click here.

Travel: Students usually fly into the Marrakech airport, where they are meet as a group and travel together to the hotel.

Visa: Students will be required to apply for a visa in order to participate in this program. More information will be provided upon admission to the program.

Country-Specific Health Information: Click here to view specific health information for people traveling to Morocco.

State Department Country Information: Click here to visit the State Department’s Morocco page.


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