Morocco: Migration and Transnational Identity
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The Migration and Transnational Identity program examines the multifaceted factors—including historical, economic, political, and cultural forces—spurring migration with a particular focus on Morocco.
- Learning in Rabat's Historic Medina
The SIT program is located at the Center for Cross Cultural Learning, housed in a beautiful, 19th century Moorish style riad in Rabat's centuries-old medina. Rabat's medina dates back to the 16th century when it was founded by Moorish refugees fleeing Spain after the fall of Granada. The Center is ideally situated near important cultural sites students often wish to explore including the 12th century Kasbah Oudayas and the Ville Nouvelle, established by the French colonial administration at the beginning of the 20th century.
From the program base in Rabat, students begin thematic coursework, intensive language instruction in both Modern Standard Arabic and with 15 hours of Moroccan dialect, and the Research Methods and Ethics course. Cultural immersion is greatly facilitated through a seven-week homestay with a working or middle class Moroccan family.
- Meeting with Moroccan Immigrants in the Netherlands
During the program’s excursion to the Netherlands, students meet with Moroccan immigrants and learn firsthand about various patterns of integration and marginalization. The excursion features lectures by local academics, NGO activists, and second generation Moroccan/Dutch elected officials. The excursion is also an opportunity to revisit many of the conceptual topics and theoretical discussions explored in the classroom, including immigrants and Islam in Europe; the perception of Moroccan immigrants in the Netherlands; the role of NGOs in the promotion of human rights for immigrants; and immigrant youth and identity.
- Exploring the Moroccan-Spanish border
Students travel as a group across the north of Morocco to the border city of Fnideq. The excursion allows students to see on the ground many of the conceptual topics and theoretical discussions explored in the classroom, including Sub-Saharan immigrants in transit; border crossing and security; the cross-border labor force; and Morocco–EU relations. Students gain a better sense of migrants’ daily life before crossing the Mediterranean onboard pateras.
- Discussions with Moroccan University Students
The program convenes regular discussion groups between SIT students and Moroccan university students at both Mohammed V University in Rabat and Iben Tofail University in Kenitra. Held both in and outside of the classroom, these discussions are an excellent opportunity to engage in cross-cultural dialogue with Moroccan youth. Topics for discussion may include: youth and migration; gender issues; religion; human rights; and the influence of Europe. SIT students have the opportunity to attend lectures at Mohammed V University with their Moroccan peers, while Moroccan students are invited to attend select lectures and field visits organized by SIT.
Independent Study Project
Students on this program choose between a two-week internship with an organization working in the area of migration, building their Independent Study Project (ISP) on the internship experience, or designing an ISP on their own. The ISP provides each student an opportunity to pursue original research on a specific aspect of migration that pertains to the student’s academic interests or personal inclination. Sample topic areas for the ISP include:
- Transnational dimensions of Sufi Islam
- Migrant images in Moroccan media
- Youth and emigration
- Causes and consequences of clandestine migration
- Sub-Saharan immigrants and their integration in Moroccan society
- European immigration laws and their impact on migration trends in Morocco
- Migration and its impact on those who stay behind
- Migrant remittances and local development
- Life narratives of migrants
Duration: 15 weeks
Program Base: Morocco, Rabat
Language Study: Arabic
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