Morocco constitutes a fascinating tapestry of cultures, religions, languages, identities, and landscapes. It is considered part of the Arab world and is a member of the Arab League, yet it differs starkly from most other Arab countries. In fact, the Amazigh (Berber) influence is apparent is the country’s customs, geography, and language. Morocco is located in North Africa and as such has an affinity to other African countries. It also has ties to Europe, and has a long and good relationship with the US.
While there are issues over which different communities have expressed discontent, Morocco has managed to “survive” the wave of Arab protests and revolutions (also known as the “Arab Spring”) relatively peacefully. Among the diverse communities that make up Moroccan society are Jews, who have lived in Morocco since (at least) the destruction of the Second Temple, and have a vibrant community still today. Morocco is proud of its Jewish heritage, and a number of Jews hold prominent positions in the kingdom. As such, it is a unique example of Jewish-Muslim coexistence, offering a glimpse into intercommunal/interfaith relations throughout history, and insights into future possibilities.
During this course, we will get to know Morocco’s beautiful and majestic landscapes; visit diverse communities (Jewish and Muslim; Arab and Amazigh/Berber; rural and urban); experience the country’s cultures, colors, and tastes; learn about its history, politics, and social dynamics; and meet people from all walks of life. We will gain a deeper understanding of the ways in which the country’s various communities and traditions have managed to survive alongside and in relation with one another for generations. We will examine each of these communities from “within” and from “below”, as well as look at the ways in which the monarchy and state apparatus have tackled issues of diversity and of discontent from “above”. In other words, we will examine structural, political, and cultural dimensions of Moroccan society.
The course offers a combination of academic study (lectures, discussions, reading), and immersion in Moroccan society, and will be taught in two parts: online and in-country.
- Immerse yourself in Moroccan society and culture.
- Engage with local communities in peacebuilding and sustainable development projects;
- Apply your theoretical knowledge to real-world situations
All undergraduate students are welcome to apply including students who do not attend George Mason University. Minimum 2.25 GPA.
Students will choose two 3-credit course during the application process.
June 3-21, 2019: Online Class (3 credits)
June 25-July 10, 2019: Study Abroad in Morocco (3 credits)
Anticipated Course Options*
- ARAB 375: Study Abroad - Arab World
- EVPP 480: Sustainability in Action [or] EVPP 440: Field Environmental Science
- CONF 385: International Field Experience
- ANTH 330: Peoples and Cultures of Selected Regions: Non-Western [or] ANTH 398: Study Abroad
- GLOA 480: Study Abroad
- SOCI 395: Special Topics in Sociology
- INTS 399: Study Abroad
*These course offerings are subject to approval
Early - Mid June: Online Class (3 credits
Mid June - Early July: Morocco (3 credits)
||Students arrive in Casablanca. Orientation to program, to Morocco. Presentation on Morocco's history. Visit to local sites, including Mosque and Synagogue.
||Meeting with diplomat/academic. Visit Royal Amazigh Institute and hear lecture on revival of Amazigh language.
||Classes on Moroccan current affairs, demography, history, social dynamics
||Visit Mellah (Jewish Quarter) and Old City, see traditional artisans.
Presentations on religion & state in Morocco and about Sufism. Meet with local professor/s and students.
||Home hospitality; hear more about Muslim-Jewish history; meet Mimouna Foundation members
(Muslim Moroccans who teach about and reach out to Jewish Moroccans);
learn more about Amazigh & Arab traditions and histories.
||Fas- continued. Excursion to Sefrou to see local organic and other farming in the more rural areas.
||Visit Ifrane and Al-Akhawayn University; meet with local faculty.
Continue through Azrou through the desert to Merzuga.
Discuss issues of "center" and "perihphery" (and power/privilage).
Learn more about life in the Moroccan desert and rural areas: local traditions of conflict resolution; gender roles.
||Visit Amazigh villages where Jews and Muslims once lived together.
Visit local Amazigh cultural center and learn more about issues concerning different communities.
Learn more about the connection between geography, culture, marginalization, etc.
||Marrakech site tour. Visit Mellah and meet with leaders of local communities.
Hear about High Atlas Foundation and its activities of sustainable development, community involvement, and women empowerment.
||Visit local communities in the High Atlas;
learn about their projects and engage in their project development and implementation processes with HAF.
||Continued. Engage with community projects; hear presentations/discussions on the process, connecting theory & practice,
||Continue community engagement; work on personal research project
||Continue community engagement; work on personal research project
||Wrap up and return to Casablanca for reflection sessions.
||Students depart from Casablanca.
* Dates and itinerary subject to change. The Global Education Office reserves the right to make changes to a program in light of currency fluctuations, changing security and safety conditions, and/or any other unforeseen circumstances.
Summer 2019: $4,500
Summer 2020: TBD
Included: Tuition for 6 credits, accommodations, some breakfasts, some group meals, in-country transportation, international emergency medical insurance.
Not included: Airfare*, passport and visa fees, some meals, required textbooks and/or course materials.
*Participants must arrange their own airfare, once instructed to do so by the Mason Global Education Office.
Students on MasonGEO programs must pay the advertised program cost in order to participate. This cost will be made in three payments (Deposit + First Payment + Final Payment). Students using financial aid can provide additional paperwork in lieu of deposit and final balance payments.
Application Deposit: A non-refundable program deposit $200 must be received by the application deadline. This fee is paid online through the MasonAbroad application system and is included in the program fee.
First Payment: A non-refundable payment of $1000 must be received by March 22, 2020. This fee is paid online through the MasonAbroad application system and is included in the program fee. Students who are using financial aid may have this payment deadline extended. See "Financial Aid" information below.
In the event that a student’s financial aid or VA Benefits is estimated to cover the entire costs of the study abroad program, the entire charge will be posted to their student account, since that is where the aid will be applied. In this case students do not pay their first payment through MasonAbroad. However students must submit their “Intent to Use Financial Aid” form by the first deposit deadline.
Final Payment: The final balance payment is due by April 19, 2020. This is the difference of your Program Cost minus the $1200 you've already paid (Deposit + First Payment). Students who are using financial aid may have this payment deadline extended. See "Financial Aid" information below.
Financial Aid and VA Benefits: Students who intend to use financial aid or VA benefits to fund their program fees (partially or in full) must have the "Intent to Use Financial Aid" or "Intent to Use VA Benefits Form" completed and on file with the Global Education Office by the First Payment deadline. The "Intent to Use Financial Aid" form is available in the MasonAbroad application system once you have started your application for this program. If you are using VA Benefits please contact your program officer to request the "Intent to Use VA Benefits Form."
Withdrawal and Refund Policy: All participants are bound by the Mason GEO Withdrawal and Refund Policy.
For more information on payments, financial aid, and information for non-Mason students:
GEO offers a number of need- and merit-based scholarships. All Mason students are welcome to apply:
March 8, 2020
Program Deposit: $200 for all applicants.
Course Selection Questionnaire: You will choose the course(s) you would like to be receive credit for on this program. Check the "Academics" tab to see what courses are offered on this program. If you need help selecting your course, check with your academic advisor.
Passport Status Questionnaire: You do not need a passport to complete this questionnaire or the application. However, if you do not have a valid passport, you should begin applying for one now. The Global Education Office offers Passport Grants to help.
Signature Documents: Read and electronically "sign" the documents regarding the acknowledgement of risk, the pre-departure orientation, and your financial responsibility.
Intent to Use Financial Aid Form: For Mason students only. If you use financial aid, this form must be completed by your financial aid counselor and submitted by the 1st payment deadline.
Additional requirements for non-Mason applicants:
Official transcript: To be mailed or emailed to the Global Education Office at George Mason University.
Non-degree Contract Course/Admission Form: Please complete the form and upload it into the questionnaire.
* Additional application requirements may apply to individual programs. Once you open your application, you will see all application requirements.