Morocco: Migration and Transnational Identity
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Living with a host family is an integral component of the Morocco: Migration and Transnational Identity program. Homestays provide students a unique window into the daily life, values, and perspectives of Moroccan families as well as an opportunity to practice language skills, particularly darija (Moroccan Arabic), and in some cases also French. The program contains two homestay experiences in very different environments, illustrating to students the enormous differences between life in urban and rural Moroccan communities.
Students live with middle and working class families in Rabat for seven weeks. Homestay families are located in the city's 17th century medina, a captivating and historic area of Rabat with an original and independent architectural style.
With their host families, students experience Moroccan daily life, accompanying family members on regular activities such as shopping in the souk, café outings, and taking bread to the neighborhood faran (local bakery). They also have the opportunity to visit the hammam (Moroccan public bath). Homestays provide an opportunity to participate in family cultural events, which could include family weddings or newborn naming ceremonies. Students also may be invited by their host brother or sister to the weekly soccer match.
The homestay in Rabat is coordinated by the program's host institution, the Center for Cross Cultural Learning (CCCL), which has been collaborating with homestay families for more than a decade.
Students live with families in the inland village of Fqih Ben Saleh for 4–5 days. Most of the homestays have family members or extended relatives living abroad, which allows students to experience the dynamics of migration from the perspectives of families who have remained in Morocco. In addition to obtaining firsthand knowledge on the motivations for migration and its impact on local communities, the village stay offers students a different perspective on the host culture in contrast to the homestay in Rabat. Many customs and features of Moroccan culture derive from rural or agrarian traditions; the experience of living in rural homes sheds new light on Morocco’s cultural norms. The village stay is also an opportunity to learn about the realities of Moroccan ethnic groups and marginal rural communities distinct from the mainstream urban culture. This offers important insights on the historical formation of national identity and ways in which local ethnic or political power is maintained.
During their time in Fqih Ben Saleh, students meet in discussion groups with rural youth from the village. Together, the groups debate issues related to youth emigration, particularly to Europe, as well as the impacts of emigration on local communities and the family structure. By living and in visiting Fqih Ben Saleh, students experience Moroccan daily life far from the coast and acquire a stronger sense of village cultural dynamics as well as the development challenges facing rural Moroccan communities.
Other accommodations during the program include hostels or small hotels.
Duration: 15 weeks
Program Base: Morocco, Rabat
Language Study: Arabic
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