Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane - SHSS Graduate Handbook


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“The ARANAS program was a fantastic experience. I learned so much more than I would have ever imagined. I think about it every day, and I am looking for ways to come back as soon as possible!”                                       

Caroline Harman, University of Virginia


“The ARANAS summer program was one of the greatest experiences of my life. I learned more than I could ever imagined and am so grateful for all the hospitality and immeasurable kindness I received from all involved in this program. I give this program the highest praise and would recommend it to anyone. I was able to learn Arabic & North African Studies topic from three of the most helpful yet entertaining professors I’ve ever had, all because of the ARANAS program. I visited some of the amazing sites I’ve ever seen, at some of the best food I’ve ever had, and most importantly –I met some of the most beautiful people, who I’ve become such good friends within this short spam of time. ARANAS is a great program –You won’t regret it!! (And my Arabic has improved immensely!)”   !”                                              

Ahana Das, George Washington University


“My experience in Morocco as part of the ARANAS program can be summarized in one word: unexpected. I did not expect to meet such interesting, magnetic, and kind people on the program, nor did I expect to learn so much in such a short time. I would recommend and have been recommending the program to anyone interested in studying abroad, and to go in not expecting anything specific to be as surprised and open as I was in my experience.”

Joe Perillo, College of Staten Island


“The ARANAS program not only allowed me to take incredible improvements with my Arabic, but also provided and extraordinary cultural experience. I was able to travel to some of the most beautiful places in the country with friends of all nationalities, having engaging and meaningful discussions with my Moroccan friends, and stay in the homes of Moroccan families, all of which allowed me to gain a deep understanding of the culture. To me, that is equally as important as learning the language. I’ve participated in other study abroad programs and they have paled in comparison to what ARANAS and Al-Akhawayn was able to provide in terms of language acquisition and cultural exposure.”    

Nora Reynolds, Delaware University


The ARANAS program was a great introduction to Moroccan culture and an excellent program for furthering language skills. The small classes challenged me to develop my speaking skills in a comfortable environment that encouraged mistakes. The excursions to the Sahara and Tangier were great opportunities to explore Moroccan society with a good balance of structured programming and time for wandering independently. I would recommend the program to students of all backgrounds looking to further their language skills and explore a beautiful culture.

Dan Bernstein


I loved the ARANAS program. It was a great way to not only learn more Arabic but to meet amazing people. You are not only immersed in the language but in a completely unique culture. The other activities that were included, like riding the camels were once in a lifetime opportunities that I could never regret.

Maddy Goltzman





SSC 2306 Issues in Contemporary North Africa


Course description

This course provides a survey of the major cultural, social, and political issues in contemporary North Africa with a special focus on Morocco. The purpose of the course is to give students an overall understanding of these issues in order for them to pursue points of their own interest. The course has a seminar format with presentations by both AUI faculty and outside experts. Field trips are organized to complement the lectures and are counted as part of the course requirement.


ARANAS Activities

Activities help students experience the Moroccan culture closely.

  • Tour in Ifrane

While visiting important places, students are accompanied with the program assistants who provide information about the places surrounding Ifrane. This helps them know where to go when need be: souk, transportation services, bank, or restaurants. This visit will also allow them to know about the prices of some common items and services.

  • Eid

Students will learn about the aid traditions and customs in the classroom with their professors right after the holy month of Ramadan. Students who are interested in joining families during this Eid time are welcome.

  • Wedding

Wedding ceremonies are different from one region to another. ARANAS students are invited to attend a mock wedding where they will learn more about the practices and the Moroccan wedding traditional clothes and jewelries.

  • Iftar during Ramadan

Since the ARANAS program period coincides with the Holy month of Ramadan, students are invited to take Iftar meals with their classmates and professors. This activity is done mainly in order to familiarize students with Moroccan customs during Ramadan.

  • Films’ Projection

Students have the opportunity to watch Arabic movies every week. This enables them to get more immersed in both the Moroccan and the Arabic cultures through the discussions that are held after the film projection between classmates and professors.

  • Family Homestays

Students get to live wonderfully enriching experiences through this activity as they are offered the opportunity to live with a Moroccan family where they find home away from their original home. This experience enhances students’ immersion in the Moroccan culture. They enjoy the lifestyle and the flavors of this marvelous country and its people.

  • Moroccan Tea Time

One of the traditional drinks in Morocco is the Moroccan tea. Tea is served every day and in every occasion. Students will be invited to prepare the tea, then drink it either with homemade Moroccan cookies or the traditional cookies that were prepared by the students in the cooking club

  • Trips

These trips pave the way for students to acquire historical information about the imperial cities in Morocco and the dazzling desert where they can watch the alluring sunset and sunrise on the top of the Merzouga dunes. Knowledgeable guides are in charge of providing as much information as needed about the important monuments in the visited cities such as : Fès, Marrakech, Meknès, Southern desert and Tangier or Rabat.

Trip to Fez - Trip to Marrakech - Trip to Marzouga




  • Music Club 

If you are a fan of music, want to know and learn about the traditional Moroccan music, its instruments and how they are played, the Music Club of the ARANAS program will help you achieve these aims. Students involved in this Club will have the opportunity to play with different traditional Moroccan musical instruments, sing and learn traditional Moroccan songs.  

  • Cooking Club

The Cooking Club offers ARANAS students the opportunity to discover the Moroccan traditional cuisine through practice. This activity helps them interact with other Moroccan students and thus sharpen their Arabic language skills as they are asked to describe the process they followed to prepare their meals.

  • Calligraphy Club

The Calligraphy club gives students the opportunity to learn more about the different types of Arabic Calligraphy and provides them with the tools needed to be able to write in this style. Students also get to discover the history of the different Arabic Calligraphy types such as Naskh, Rukà, Thulth, Kufi and Diwani.



  • Debate Club

In this club, students brush up their Arabic language abilities as they get to develop their debating and public speaking skills.  






LIT 2304 Introduction to Arabic Literature

3 SCH in regular semesters or 6 SCH in summer intensive program

The aim of this course, taught in Arabic, is to promote the knowledge of different literary genres and to enable students to differentiate between them and to appreciate beauty y in a literary work of art. Literary concepts are introduced and followed by reading, analysis, and discussion of works drawn from various genres.