Morocco Faculty-Led Study Abroad Program
“We have learned that we must live as men, not as ostriches, or as dogs in the manger. We have learned to be citizens of the world, members of the human community."
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Mention the Word Arab or Muslim and watch the jostling images spring to mind. Some of these images are to gleaned from media consumption and the nature of its ready messages. What if you were presented with the opportunity to assume the role of an ethnographic researcher, an investigative journalist, and an explorer or culture and people?
A faculty led short trip to Morocco is your chance to gain some first hand insight into Arabs and Muslim and to demystify what you have always held to be true of this race, culture and religion. If this sounds like the work of an anthropologist, you are half right. Anthropologists don’t have fun, you most certainly will.
From the bustling street of Casablanca to the dynamic city of Rabat to the fabled medina of the old city of Fez, a UNESCO designated World heritage site, explore the rich cultural geographic and religious diversity of Morocco. Meet with local students, scholars, artisans and merchants. Wander through the amazingly well- preserved Roman ruins and enjoy the sunset over the spectacular dunes of the Sahara. Experience unique Berber culture and learn about Morocco’s motley cultural traditions. Journey through the stunning Atlas Mountains and enjoy the pulsating scenes of Marrakech, an open air theatre where musicians, magicians, fortune tellers and snake charmers still exhibit their craft. Meet local educators, students and artisans who will share with you their experiences and perspectives as citizens living in a multifaceted kingdom. Check your preconceptions at JFK airport right before you board the plane and join us on this remarkable adventure!
Join us as we weave in and out of different centuries and immerse ourselves in a 24 hour a day study of the history, culture, politics, peoples and geography of this unique African country.
Departure date: May 25th 20013
Return date: June 4th 20013
Day 1: Casablanca – Rabat
Upon arrival in Casablanca, you’ll be met and assisted by a representative of the trip’s logistics provider). Explore the largest cosmopolitan city of Morocco-Casablanca. You’ll visit the impressive Hassan II mosque, the second largest mosque in the world after Mecca. Continue to the square known as the place Mohamed V, a busy shopping street lined by residential blocks dating from the 1930s. Next, visit United Nations Square, designed by French architect Josef Marrasat, and the league of Arab States Park, which was built in 1925 and offers a large area of greenery with palm trees, arcades, pergolas and cafes with shady terraces.
Lunch in Casablanca; Moroccans pride themselves on having one of the best cuisines in the world. Food will be nothing short of an experience
A 60-mile drive brings you to Rabat, the present capital of Morocco and official residence of king Mohamed VI. Check in to your hotel.
Afternoon tours will include the old medina; the picturesque Kasbah of the Oudayas, and the Oudaya Gate, built during the Almohades dynasty.
Also see the well-preserved Hassan Tower; the Chellah, built by the Merinids in the 12th and 13th centuries; and Mausoleum of Mohamed V.
You will drive past the ramparts and the walls of Mechouar that encompass the Royal Palace.
Dinner and overnight at your hotel in Rabat.
Day 2: Rabat-Moulay Idriss, Volubilis, Meknes, Fez
After breakfast, a seminar is scheduled for you with an official from the Moroccan ministry of Endowments and Religious affairs. The talk will be about the history of Islam and religious pluralism in Morocco
You’ll then be taken to start your exploration of Morocco’s fascinating Imperial Cities.
Lunch in Rabat
The first stop will be at the holy city of Moulay Idriss. Afternoon, you’ll visit the archaeological site of the Roman ruins at Volubilis. Next, drive to Meknes, founded in the 9th century by Zeneta Berbers.
A visit of this former imperial city includes the old ramparts, Bab El Mansour, one of the most beautiful gates in Morocco; and the Moulay Ismail Mausoleum, one of the very few holy sites in Morocco, which may be visited by non-Muslims.
Continue to Fez for dinner and overnight at the hotel.
Day 3: Fez
A full day to explore Morocco’s most fascinating city – Fez. The tour of this world’s last surviving medieval city includes the old and new medina.
First, you’ll visit the King’s Palace. After walking through the Jewish and the Arab sections, you will see the South king Palace. Then you’ll visit the 14th century religious schools (medersas) of Bouaanania and Attarine. Also, you’ll visit the Karaouiyine University, which is the oldest in the world, Najarine Fountain, the Mausoleum of Moulay Idriss and a famous tannery where skins are cured and dyed in enormous vats.
Explore the impressive labyrinth of Souks in the old medina of Fez, declared by UNESCO to be one of the world’s cultural treasures.
Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 4: Fez –
Breakfast then a visit to a house being rehabbed or built from scratch that shows the fascinating Islamic architecture.
A seminar on Politics taught by an Expert from the Moroccan Interdisciplinary centre for Strategic and International Studies.
A visit to a Henna parlour and a calligraphy artist
Cooking class day and discovery in practice of some typical Moroccan dishes
A meeting with peer students and a cross cultural dialogue about the three axes (Religion, Culture, politics)
Dinner and a show
Day 5: Fez – Ifrane – Azrou – Midelt – Erfoud – Merzouga
Start early morning with a full day drive across the cedar forests and picturesque scenery of the Middle and High Atlas ranges to the desert. From Midelt-the Berber capital of the Beni Mguild tribe, you’ll travel along the Ziz Gorge to arrive to Erfoud.
Erfoud is situated among the impressive sand dunes of the Sahara Desert, and it is one of the largest oases in Morocco.
A working Lunch in Erfoud. A seminar on Culture; A thorough presentation about the racial, religious, and cultural diversity of the Moroccan people
From Erfoud, travel approximately one and a half hour by 4-wheel drive vehicles to Merzouga.
From Merzouga, a short drive will take you to your Bedouin camp on the edge of the Sahara Dunes. After settling in to your bivouac tent you will have the opportunity of camel ride to explore the area further (camels are fitted with Mauritanian saddles for maximum comfort).
Experience Bedouin life first-hand as you spend a night of adventure under the vast Saharan sky.
Dinner and overnight at your camp.
Day 6: Erfoud – Tinghir- Todgha Gorges – Ouarzazate
Depart the foothills of the High Atlas on your way to the south’s most picturesque attractions; valley’s that drain snowmelt off the mountains and into the Sahara.
From Tinghir you’ll visit Todgha Gorges with its spectacular 1800 feet deep gorge. Then, visit the Kelaa d’Mougouna where roses for making perfume are planted. “Paris” is the famous perfume by Yves Saint Laurent is made from the extract of these roses. You’ll find some nice shopping here for rose products such as rose water, body milk, dried petals etc…
You’ll possibly stop at Sekoura to visit the Kasbah of Amerdhil.
After driving the 1000 Kasbahs road, arrival in movie shooting centre Ouarzazate (Moroccan Hollywood)
Dinner and overnight at your hotel.
Day 7: Ouarzazate – Ait Ben Haddou – Marrakech.
Before heading to Marrakech, depart this morning to experience the intriguing kasbahs. Visit the Kasbah of Tifoultoute, and then the famous Ait Ben Haddou Kasbah; a fortified adobe village protected by UNESCO. This site has served as the setting of numerous movies such as “Laurence of Arabia” and “Romancing the Stone”.
Continue your drive across the High Atlas on the breathtaking road of the Tizi-N-Tichka Pass. Arrive in Marrakech, check into your hotel.
Afternoon, tour the old city ramparts and visit the Menara gardens, enjoy some time in the gardens
Go back to your hotel for dinner and overnight stay.
Day 8: Marrakech
A half-day historical sightseeing tour begins with the old medina, buried within the imperial walls.
Stop at the foot of the famous Koutoubia Minaret, a masterpiece of Islamic architecture.
Continue to the Kasbah, the 16th-century monument site of the Saadian Tombs.
Admire the wonderful Hispano-Moresque architecture surrounding the burial grounds of the royal family.
Afterward, visit the aristocratic Bahia Palace with its lush Moorish-style courtyard garden and beautifully painted residential rooms.
Finally, stroll through the world famous Jemaa El Fna Square, the ancient meeting point of the tradesmen in Northwest Africa; an open air theatre with singers, story tellers, fortune tellers, snake charmers and street entertainers. No to mention the colourful and exotic fast food joints
The afternoon is at your leisure.
Dinner at the hotel and show at chez Ali; the latter is a fascinating Moroccan folkloric show; a grand parade featuring a whole gamut of Moroccan fantasia, mounted acrobats and Musicians
Day 9: Marrakech – The Valley of Ourika- Marrakech
Departure of Marrakech at 9 Am in the morning direction Ourika by the track. We shall cross rivers and mountains where Berber villages are implanted. You will pass by Tafza to visit the ecomuseum installed in restored Kasbah: You shall discover and learn about the life of the Berber world. We shall take back the road to join the Waterfalls of Seti Fatma. Lunch will take place by the river in a Berber typical restaurant.
Depart to Casablanca towards the Old Medina, Morocco Mall and have a chance to juxtapose the two places to appreciate the co existence of Modern and traditional Morocco.
Dinner with select students from Local Universities in another chance for cross cultural learning
Overnight stay in Casablanca
Day 10: Casablanca - Fly home
Breakfast in Casablanca
Transfer to Mohamed V airport for your return flight.