Understanding Tradition in North Africa
Through interacting and engaging with diverse Moroccan traditions, students will also be able to understand and reflect on a range of global issues, and on their place within our international community. Students bring the concepts and frameworks they develop at school into a new world of languages, traditions, and cultures in order to build a more complete and coherent model of global citizenship.
The breathtaking scenery, great diversity, and famous hospitality of the Moroccan people provide a wonderful context for this program. A melting pot of histories, religions, and cultures that demonstrate the intricate connections that bind us together, Morocco is an ideal setting for students to develop cross-cultural competencies, build stronger French and Arabic language skills, and deepen their knowledge of other cultural contexts.
Goals and Objectives
Students will explore the myriad historical, linguistic, and cultural traditions that make up Morocco today through structured and unstructured interactions with their Moroccan peers. We believe these are critical competencies to building understanding and empathic learning within new cultural contexts.
How do people from North Africa understand the concept of identity? What influence does their formal education have on their conception of identity as a construct? How can we know how people identify — Moroccan, Amazigh, French, Arab, Muslim?
Students reflect on the way they learn throughout the program, identifying areas for growth and improvement. As the program finalizes, program staff leads guided refections that help students create plans for action once they get back to school.
With their host families, students will learn about the lived experiences of Moroccans within their homes and their cities as they navigate different aspects of private and public spaces. Through exploring and participating in the routines and daily practices of Moroccans, students will deepen their understanding of contemporary life in Morocco.
Envoys partners with multiple organizations serving youth, young mothers, and disabled populations. Students spend time getting to know Moroccan peers of the same age, breaking the ice as they prepare for their project. We believe that student-initiated and student-driven projects are the best route toward authentic cross-cultural learning.
From Qarawiyyin University, the oldest university in the world, to the Roman ruins of Chellah and the Kasbah of Rabat, we will explore Morocco’s most famous sites. Students will explore both the historic and modern contributions of Morocco and its influences on the region and the world.
From homestyle cooking with their host families to the rich variety of food we will taste during our travels, students will explore Morocco’s culinary traditions. In Marrakech’s Djemaa, a famous marketplace of food, spices, and wares, students will also learn how to prepare a traditional dish, bringing a piece of Morocco’s rich gastronomy back with them.
In mixed groups, traveling and national students engage a problem or issue that real to everyone involved. Faculty and Envoys staff take particular care to help students choose a culturally appropriate, purposeful project long before they fly to the country. Responsible, impactful service learning is our mandate and we hold ourselves to the highest standards.
Throughout the program, students will alternate between interactive and observational experiences, deepening their knowledge of Morocco and themselves. While visiting a Moroccan high school, students will have the opportunity to engage with their peers and gain insight into teenage experiences beyond their own. They will also have time for reflection and discussion individually and with the group.