Summer Arabic & North African Studies

Arabic and North African Studies Program (ARANAS)



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The Arabic and North African Studies program at Al Akhawayn University in Morocco is founded in 1997 and is an intensive summer program that provides a wide range of opportunities to students from all over the world, at the undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate levels. Over the last 17 years, more than 900 participants from 38 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, the dazzling city of Marrakech, and the city of Tangier. This number is in addition to the dozens of exchange students who take Arabic during their time at AUI.

The ARANAS program grants academic credits which can be applied to an individual’s 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 through the family homestay, the trips and other different activities. 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.