They may be at opposite ends of the Arab world but both Morocco and Oman offer international students the cultural experience of a lifetime within safe environments
Arabic Language Institute in Fez (ALIF)
ALIF has a reputation as one of the preeminent institutions in the Maghreb for the teaching of Arabic as a foreign language. Housed in a large, shady villa, it provides an ideal setting for studying in Morocco’s “intellectual capital” and for exploring the historic medina of Fez, one of the world’s few remaining medieval cities.
Teachers are highly qualified native speakers with years of experience instructing both independent students and study abroad groups from major universities. Former students include translators, Fulbright, FLAS, NSEP, and SSRC grantees, company representatives, and graduate students from major universities in the U.S. and Europe.
Resources include an extensive library collection focusing on Arabic linguistics, the Maghreb, Islamic art and architecture, and Islam. The library also has a DVD collection with nearly 1,000 films that students are welcome to borrow. The ALIF/ALC bookstore has a superb collection of books related to Morocco and the Arab world. In addition to language courses, cultural tours, lectures, and classes on Maghrebi literature, media, and Islam are offered. Private courses in any number of subject areas can be arranged. Reasonable fees and the low cost of living in Morocco make immersion programs a cost-effective option.
The Moroccan Center for Arabic Studies
As well as offering Arabic language programs, the Center features study abroad programs, a volunteering program, and internship placements. Students can combine the programs to create a customized experience. Students, volunteers, and interns can soon get immersed into Moroccan culture and the Arab world. Participants can take part in trips around Morocco, visiting some of the most amazing and beautiful cities in the world, such as Marrakech, Fez, and Chefchaouen, as well as the desert.
This cross-cultural language center in Tétouan offers intensive courses in Arabic and cultural-immersion programs for international students and institutions. Students benefit from Tetouan’s rich diversity, which allows them to enjoy the city’s excellent Mediterranean beaches, its evergreen Rif Mountains, and its five-century-old town (classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO).
The low cost of life in Tetouan and the small size of the city help participants quickly and easily get integrated and immersed into the community and the culture. Students have the opportunity to get fully immersed in the Moroccan culture and Muslim life through cultural activities, volunteer work, and home stay programs.
Noor Majan Training Institute
Situated in the old suq of Ibri, steeped in authentic Omani lifestyle, in a perfect location for linguistic immersion, the institute provides high-quality language courses for students and professionals. Programs range from Advanced Beginner to Superior. Students may also choose to study the Omani dialect or tajweed, to work with a language partner, or to stay with a host family. The staff is highly qualified and experienced in teaching Arabic to non-native speakers. Faculty members have been involved in the planning, administration, and delivery of a variety of Arabic language intensive programs like CLS, SIT Study Abroad, and the SALAM program, and the institute has been hosting a CLS summer program for Arabic for the last two years. Teachers at NMTI aim at developing all four language skills while using the target language exclusively as language of instruction. Fees include 80 hours of tuition per month, accommodation in student dorms, transportation to the institute, and daily lunches, as well as two excursions per course.
Center for International Learning
Students are discovering ancient and safe Oman, one of the world’s best-kept secrets. Each year, over 400 American and European students join the school’s intensive Arabic language study or its study abroad semester. CIL is one of the fastest-growing schools in the Middle East, with eleven full-time teachers offering classes at nine levels of proficiency, starting with novice beginner. Students receive 30 hours of Arabic weekly, equal to one university semester every two weeks. They also receive a hefty dose of cultural engagement, with weekly lectures and events and weekend excursions (Bedouin desert camping, turtle reserve, and 4,000-year-old villages). CIL is led by former Harvard professor Dr. J. Larry Brown, and students receive academic credit through their home institutions.