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Arabic Education Abroad

Program Description: This program provides intensive Arabic instruction for undergraduate and graduate students supplementary to the Arabic program offered in MESAS. Students who wish to progress quickly to the advanced level for research or other purposes are encouraged to take this program. Emory students will be able to take Arabic on all levels (Beginning, Intermediate, Advanced, and Special Topics) in an intensive 8-week program (4-5 hours of class and 3-5 hours of outside work per day) that is equivalent to two semesters of Arabic study at Emory University (8 credit hours). The Arabic program also hasa cultural component that includes pairing American students with Moroccan roommates, cultural orientation and field trips, and supplementary instruction in Moroccan Dialectical Arabic (al-Darija al-Maghribiyya). Students are encouraged to travel throughout Morocco on free weekends.

Al Akhawayn (The Two Brothers) University ( was created by King Hassan II of Morocco and King Fahd Ibn Abdullah of Saudi Arabia as an American-style university, patterned after the American University of Beirut and the American University in Cairo. Although it is smaller than these universities with a full-time student body of approximately 1250 students, in its 12 years of operation it has established a reputation as the premier university of Morocco in undergraduate instruction and has established a worldwide reputation for the quality of its summer programs. It is a private university with close ties to the Moroccan government. The President of the university is appointed by the King of Morocco and its faculty is divided between professors and instructors on private contract and professors seconded to Al Akhawayn University by the Moroccan Ministry of Higher Education.

The faculty of Al Akhawayn University is world class, and includes professors from Morocco, Europe, and the United States. Arabic professors and instructors have received doctorates from some of the top universities in the U.S., France, and the U.K. The summer Arabic program has established itself as one of the best intensive language programs in the Arab world. Led and staffed by some of the best-known specialists in Arabic language pedagogy in Morocco, the program has grown considerably each year. In summer 2007, more than 120 students studied Arabic at Al Akhawayn University. These students came from a variety of state universities in the U.S. and South Africa, as well as from Emory peer institutions such as Georgetown, Princeton, and Yale.

Besides having the best-trained faculty available, Al Akhawayn University has facilities (dorms, pool, dining facilities, etc.) that are equivalent to what Emory itself has to offer. In addition, it has an extremely competent staff to attend to student academic and personal needs. As the premier university for the Moroccan elite, the campus is physically secure and well guarded. Located in the Middle Atlas Mountain resort town of Ifrane, it is isolated enough from the main population centers of Morocco to provide an environment that is both safe and conducive to serious study. However, it is only one hour by taxi from Ifrane to the major Moroccan cities of Fès and Meknès.

Information and Contacts: For information on the Al Akhawayn University Summer Arabic Program, consult the program web site:

Information on this program can also be obtained from the Center for International Programs Abroad (CIPA) and from Prof. Rkia Elaroui Cornell, MESAS coordinator for the Summer Intensive Arabic program ( or 404-727-8212).

Financial aid for this program is available for Emory students through CIPA.

Academic Components: The minimum overall GPA requirement for participation in the Summer Intensive Arabic program at Al Akhawayn University is 3.0. Student commitment will be ascertained by an interview conducted by the MESAS Summer Intensive Arabic program coordinator, transcript of grades, and an essay in which the student discusses what she/he hopes to gain academically and culturally from the program.


  • Beginning Arabic ARA 1411 (4 credit hours, equivalent to Arabic 101)
  • Beginning Arabic ARA 1412 (4 credit hours, equivalent to Arabic 102)
  • Intermediate Arabic ARA 2311 (4 credit hours, equivalent to Arabic 201)
  • Intermediate Arabic ARA 2312 (4 credit hours, equivalent to Arabic 202)
  • Advanced Arabic ARA 3311 (4 credit hours, equivalent to Arabic 301)
  • Advanced Arabic ARA 3312 (4 credit hours, equivalent to Arabic 302)
  • Special Topics in Arabic Study ARA 4399 (4 credit hours, equivalent to Arabic 410R)

Student Evaluation: The Summer Intensive Arabic program at Al Akhawayn University is a nearly exact equivalent to the Arabic program at Emory. The same textbooks are used (the al-Kitaab fii Ta'allum al-`Arabiyya series) and grading and progress are monitored in the same way as at Emory. Students also take both pre- and post-program proficiency tests. Their placement will depend on their performance in a written test and in an oral proficiency interview. Proficiency guidelines follow those set by The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL).

Living Arrangements: Students will stay in residence halls that are equivalent in quality to the residence halls at Emory. All rooms have en suite bathrooms with showers. Although bottled water is made available to the students, the local water is pure and safe to drink. The maintenance staff is local, highly trained, and closely supervised. Although students should take due precautions with their possessions, theft has never been a serious problem at the university. Security is tight and the campus and the surrounding town of Ifrane are safe. Standards of dress are the same as at Emory or any other American university. Sheets, pillows, and blankets are provided but towels must be provided by the students. Students will be issued an e-mail account and have unlimited Internet access from their rooms. Telephones in rooms have automatic access to MCI, AT&T, Bell Canada, and British Telecom operators for long-distance telephone calls. The university also provides optional home stays with Moroccan families for students who are interested in this experience. These families are screened by the Study Abroad Office of Al Akhawayn University, and are compensated by the university. Whenever possible, students are paired with a Moroccan roommate.

Pre-Departure Activities: MESAS will conduct a pre-departure orientation session for students attending the Al Akhawayn Summer Arabic program before the end of the spring semester.

On-Site Orientation: Upon arrival in Ifrane, Al Akhawayn University conducts a full orientation program lasting several days. This includes placement testing for Arabic as well as university and cultural orientation activities.

Cultural Immersion Opportunities: All students will take required and guided weekend trips to the Tafilalt Oasis in southern Morocco and to the imperial city of Marrakech. Lectures and workshops are offered by the Arabic faculty as well as by artists and guest speakers. Students can join clubs for music and Arabic calligraphy and Arabic students lunch with teachers and TAs, speaking Arabic only. Students can interact with local residents of Ifrane, whose town center is within easy walking distance from campus. Ifrane is a mountain resort town with cafés, hotels, and shops. The local population is Berber, with most people bilingual in Moroccan Dialectical Arabic and the Berber language Tamazight. A central market in town provides opportunity for cultural interaction and language practice. Students can interact on a regular basis with their Moroccan roommates, often making friendships with their roommates and visiting their families on weekends or other occasions. Home stays with Moroccan families are provided by the university on an optional basis. Since weekends are usually free, students are encouraged to travel throughout Morocco. The Study Abroad Office of Al Akhawayn University monitors student travel. Typical travel entails taking a "Grand Taxi" from Ifrane to either Meknes or Fes, which requires interaction with Moroccan cab drivers. Students usually travel by train to other cities. Field trips are also offered to cultural and historic sites.

Host Country Arrangement Relationships: No special clearance or permission is required. U.S. citizens can travel to Morocco up to 90 days without a visa and visa extensions beyond 90 days can be obtained with proof of financial support from local police stations.

The Center for Arabic Study Abroad (CASA) was established in 1967 to offer intensive advanced Arabic language training at the American University in Cairo, Egypt. Since its inception, CASA has trained more than 1,400 upper level undergraduates, graduates, and professors specializing in various areas of Middle Eastern Studies.

CASA is currently administered at Harvard University by a U.S. Director and Program Coordinator. The CASA program is currently being held at the Tahrir campus at the American University in Cairo, Egypt under the supervision of Executive Director Dr. Iman Soliman and at the Qasid Arabic Institute in Amman, Jordan under the guidance of the Executive Director Dr. Khaled Abu Amsha.

CASA is represented by a Consortium of American universities and colleges who serve a vital role in directing various academic, financial and administrative aspects of the CASA programs.

CASA receives its primary funding from the United States Department of Education, under the Group International Study Abroad Program. In addition, CASA is currently supported by two endowments from the Ford and Mellon foundations, with additional funding from the Binational Fulbright Commission in Egypt.

CASA offers advanced level training in Arabic language and culture to qualified American students at The American University in Cairo and Qasid Arabic Institute in Amman. Applicants to the various CASA programs must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents and should have a minimum of 3 years of formal instruction in Arabic prior to joining CASA. Please see a summary of each program below.

The CASA I program is designed for graduate and undergraduates students (priority is given to graduating seniors or those with their B.A.)

The CASA II* program aims to provide further opportunities for CASA fellows who have completed the CASA I program within the past five years and are generally PhD students. CASA II allows fellows to continue to enhance their language skills and advance their Arabic-based research in Egypt or Jordan.

The CASA III* program is designed to meet the linguistic and research needs of professors with specialization in Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies.

*Both CASA II and III continue to be suspended due to funding, and CASA is working on resuming them as soon as possible.

All CASA programs provide intensive language, culture, and specialized area studies training, with 15 to 20 hours of classroom instruction per week plus homework. A series of lectures, weekly meetings with language partners, and internships/ volunteering are an integral part of the CASA program. Efforts are made to provide opportunities for CASA Fellows to interact with their Egyptian or Jordanian counterparts and experience life in an Arabic speaking country to the fullest extent.

For more information, visit the CASA website:

Summer Arabic programs are also available in Israel through Tel Aviv University and Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Information on these programs will be posted once Emory course equivalents are established in consultation with CIPA.

David L. Boren Graduate Fellowships

Eligibility: This fellowship is reserved for U.S. citizens enrolled in or applying to a graduate program in an accredited U.S. college or university located within the United States. Boren Fellowship recipients must provide evidence of admission to and enrollment in a graduate degree program at an accredited U.S college or university located within the U.S., and must be willing to enter into a service agreement.

Selection: Boren Fellowship award recipients are selected by merit in a two-stage national merit review process. The selection process includes consideration of the relationship between the applicant's proposed program of study to U.S. national security and how the applicant proposes to use the knowledge and expertise gained from fellowship support to contribute to U.S national security, among other selection criteria.

Application: Applicants design their own programs and may combine domestic language and cultural study with overseas study. All Fellowships must include study of a modern language other than English and the study of a foreign area and culture. The deadline for applications is in January. For deadlines and other information please visit the following web sites: