Morocco: Ancient Cities to the Atlas Mountains Gap Year Semester

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Islamic art and diverse traditions combine in the enchanting cities whose very names strike colorful chords in the imagination: Casablanca, Marrakesh, and Fes.

For 12,000 years Morocco’s indigenous people, the Berber or Amazigh (“Free People”) have lived in the northern corner of Africa where snow-capped mountains explode out of the Sahara Desert. To this day, the stone and mud huts of the Amazigh nest tightly against the jagged Atlas Mountains. From the forested mountains of the north to the stark landscape of the south, we travel through the most ecologically diverse country in North Africa. Buses and pack animals help us wind through the great diversity of people who make up Morocco: youth and elders, urban and rural dwellers, Arabs and indigenous tribes, farmers and academics. Through rugged travel and authentic interactions, we examine the dominant issues of this diverse society standing at the crossroads of Middle Eastern, African, and European cultures.

  • Explore the culture and practices which surround Islam in Morocco. Learn about historical and contemporary perspectives on faith through local visits, guest speakers, and daily observations.
  • Examine the vast differences between rural and urban Moroccan lives, as well as see first-hand the varying degrees to which religion and limited resources impacts daily duties, economy, education, and local culture.
  • Spend 10+ days trekking in the remote High Atlas and Middle Atlas Mountains which are home to numerous different tribes.
  • Choose a topic of interest to investigate independently such as indigenous language, traditional dance, healthcare and traditional medicine, drumming, Gnaoua music, Moroccan cooking, human migration, or henna.
  • Study Moroccan colloquial Arabic through regular lessons which focus on developing key communication abilities. Learn to write the Arabic alphabet and use your time in Morocco to develop rare Arabic language skills.

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About Where There Be Dragons

Dragons programs are authentic, rugged and profound learning adventures that expose the beautiful and complex realities of the countries in which we travel. Featuring extended itineraries, Dragons programs encourage deep immersion into strikingly...