Morocco: Arabic Language and Community Service (Summer)
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The SIT Morocco: Arabic Language and Community Service program offers students practical experience in an international framework as well as the opportunity to apply theory learned in the classroom to the real world. The Arabic language instruction, the introduction to Arabic researching and writing skills, and the community service project aim at helping students develop their academic and professional interests.
Modern Standard Arabic (Fus’ha) instruction
Following arrival, students are placed in a course at one of three language levels—beginner, intermediate, or advanced. All students receive a total of 45 hours of classroom instruction in Modern Standard Arabic in small group formats. Students have additional learning time during field exercises and weekly office hours with language instructors.
- Beginner course – Students learn to communicate on everyday themes while gaining a solid understanding of the grammatical and structural aspects of the language.
- Intermediate course – This course focuses significantly on the vocabulary necessary to produce and understand texts related to culture and literature as well as authentic real-life situations. Students learn the syntactic structures useful for drafting paragraphs consisting of a variety of grammatically complex sentences.
- Advanced course – This course focuses on expressing critical and analytical opinions through the use of different language functions. Students read advanced texts, complete writing assignments designed to reinforce stylistic and structural competencies, and gain the language skills necessary to discuss abstract topics such as culture, politics, and society.
Introduction to Moroccan Arabic (Darija)
All students in the program receive two sessions of survival Moroccan Arabic (Darija) instruction during orientation and shorter lessons in Darija language reinforcement later in the program, as needed. Formal instruction in Darija is complemented by informal practice on excursions, during homestays, and during the community service period in Ouezzane.
Much of the learning experience takes place outside the classroom to better immerse students in Moroccan culture and to allow them to benefit from being in an Arabic-speaking context. The program’s weekly field exercises may include outings to the following places:
- Souks to practice bargaining and to increase contact with Moroccans
- Cafés or restaurants to practice ordering
- Museums and monuments to learn about important historical sites and handicrafts
Students are strongly encouraged to use Arabic outside the classroom, with their instructors, during excursions, with host families, and with local residents in the street. Language instructors normally travel with students on excursions in order to continue language learning and cultural immersion.
Arabic Writing Seminar
Students have the opportunity to explore their academic and cultural interests on a topic related to Morocco through the Arabic Writing Seminar. The paper students produce at the end of the program is an opportunity for students to apply many of the skills and insights they have gained during the program.
In order to help students be well prepared to produce this paper, the seminar includes a number of sessions and lectures in Arabic where students meet guest speakers. These sessions are on a range of multidisciplinary topics designed to appeal to students’ varied interests and thus help them select a topic for their final papers in Arabic. Regular meetings with the academic director and supervisors help students frame their papers and learn the methods and techniques needed to develop a paper in Arabic.
Community Service Project
Through the Community Service Project, students gain practical work experience under both academic and professional supervision and guidance. Students are placed in NGOs working in different fields such as society, environment, human rights, education, and healthcare. Students also attend a weekly course to combine practice and theory. The course focuses on ethics and the cross-cultural experience as well as on methods of fieldwork study and writing an academic paper. The course is structured in a way that enables students to do community service, while allowing contact hours for the accompanying course lectures and meeting sessions.
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