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Overseas and Off-Campus Programs

Morocco Regional Area Study

Semester: Spring
Offered: Every other academic year, odd years
Estimated Dates: Mid-January to mid-April
Program Focus: Regional Area Study
Prerequisites: Arabic 101, with a 3.0 minimum GPA in the course.
Housing: Varies throughout program
Spring 2020 Program Leader:

Leah Gilbert
Associate Professor of Political Science, 503-768-7642

Spring 2019
Program Leader:

Oren Kosansky
Associate Professor of Anthropology, 503-768-7661

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 post-colonial experiences, modernization and globalization, and women and gender relations. The program is located in Marrakesh, Agadir and Fez with excursions to other cities. Students will live with host families.

Check out a video by Molly Brown from Spring 2017! 


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.

4 courses per semester/16 credits. (Students who do not have previous Arabic language skills at the 101 level will also earn 4 credits in the preceding fall for Arabic 101.)


WL 102: Moroccan Arabic
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

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
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. 

IS 217: Gender and Society in Morocco:
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, 4 credits

Course level will be determined by previous subject study. 

ARB 102 Beginning Arabic II

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

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. 


Fee Breakdown:

Total Fee (includes Tuition & Program Fee): $32,334 

Tuition: $25,287

Program Fee: $7,047*

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

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: $1,275.50*

*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 Information & 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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