Morocco: Migration and Transnational Identity
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Perspectives from Northeast Morocco and the Netherlands: From Al Hoceima and Beni Boufrah to Amsterdam
The largest excursion on the program allows students to trace the path of Moroccans emigrating from northeast Morocco to the Netherlands. In this across-borders excursion, students are able to examine the complex impact of migration on both the sending and host countries.
The vast majority of Moroccan immigrants in the Netherlands (around 75%) are from the northeast of Morocco. Consequently, the program travels to Al Hoceima and Beni Boufrah in Morocco’s northeast to enable students to situate migration in its cultural, historic, and economic contexts.
In Al Hoceima, students visit associations and meet with activists involved in issues of migration, local development, gender, identity, and memory and history of the region. In Beni Boufrah, students experience rural life in the Rif Mountains and learn about local development projects in the region that have been put in place to curb migration to Europe.
While in Morocco, students engage with NGOs such as Movimiento por la Paz (MPDL); the Moroccan Initiative Nationale pour le Développement Humain (INDH); Réseau des ONG de Développement de Parc Nationale d'Al Hoceima (RODPAL); Association BADES d’Animation Sociale et Economique; and Dhakirat er-Rif (Rif Memory).
During the program’s excursion to Amsterdam, students consider the growing presence of Moroccans in Europe, particularly in the Netherlands. Students typically have the chance to:
- have discussions with Moroccans living in the Netherlands,
- engage with Dutch politicians and learn about the rise of anti-immigration politics,
- examine Dutch patterns of integration, and
- hear lectures on the history of Moroccan migration to the Netherlands.
Students are also immersed in many of the central debates surrounding the growing Muslim presence in Europe, including the varied reactions of Dutch politics and the rise of anti-immigrant/anti-Muslim parties, “success stories” of Muslim migrants and issues surrounding “integration,” and ideological constructions of Muslim identity.
The program may also spend some time in Leiden and The Hague. During the eight-day excursion, students stay in guest houses and hotels.
Village Stay in Fqih Ben Saleh
The program’s second excursion is a village stay in Fqih Ben Saleh, where students explore the many different causes of migration while considering its impact on the cultures and societies of several rural areas within Morocco.
Fqih Ben Saleh is a small town in Beni Mellal Province in the Tadla-Azilal plains, whose recent socioeconomic growth has been largely determined by remittances from Moroccan emigrants. Students meet with the staff and volunteers of local migrant associations and discuss the dynamic relationship between development and migration. Students also meet with local youth to compare their perspectives on migration and disenfranchisement and their perceptions of Europe and the US.
This village stay gives students the opportunity to gain firsthand experience of the impact migration has had on a local economy and culture. They also have a chance to engage in a roundtable discussion with people from local communities on the issues of migration and development.
During the four- to five-day excursion, students live in Fqih Ben Saleh in the homes of local families. Most of the families have relatives living abroad, which allows students to experience the dynamics of migration from the perspectives of families who have remained in Morocco.
Duration: 15 weeks
Program Base: Rabat
Language Study: Arabic
Prerequisites: None; however, students with a background in French or Spanish will have opportunities for French/Spanish language practice while also learning Arabic. Read more...
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