AMIDEAST Education Abroad Programs in the Arab World

AMIDEAST Education Abroad Programs


AMIDEAST was established in 1951 to build bridges of understanding between Americans and the peoples of the Middle East and North Africa. In 2007, AMIDEAST launched its Education Abroad Programs in the Arab World, beginning with a semester program in Rabat, Morocco. Currently, AMIDEAST operates semester, summer, and short term Education Abroad programs in several countries in the Middle East and North Africa region. Today it is more important than ever that students learn more about this critical geographic area as we work to build a more peaceful future.


2025 M Street, NW
Suite 600
Washington, DC 20036
United States


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Yes, I recommend this program

Studying abroad in Jordan was a great experience. It was amazing to be immersed in a culture that felt so different at first, but gradually became familiar. My host family played a huge part in my experience and really made me feel at home. Through my travels, my studies, and the everyday interactions I had with people, I really felt like I got a sense of the country and gained a perspective that would have been impossible to attain anywhere else. I would definitely recommend the program overall.

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Yes, I recommend this program

Going Morocco with AMIDEAST is an amazing option for anyone looking to learn French outside of Europe. My courses were challenging and interesting, and we went on many field trips to French NGO's. Not only that, but my French speaking host family was a wonderful group of people and I'm still in contact with them. I was worried at first about not speaking Arabic, but in Rabat, French is spoken by everyone, and I was quickly put at ease. Plus, since many of American the students on the program do speak Arabic, my friends could help me out. The amazing help and support I received from AMIDEAST staff was crucial as well! If my language skills were ever put to the test (for planning trips, bartering, etc.), the staff was immediately eager to help. Doha, who runs the abroad program in Rabat, will meet you anywhere at any time. She will pick up her phone 24/7 just to chat, or in case you have an emergency, she'll come to help you whether it's 4pm or 2am. Same goes for the rest of the staff. It really put me at ease to know I had that kind of support. Plus my French skills greatly improved and I made amazing friends for life.

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Yes, I recommend this program

Going to Rabat for a semester was life changing. Not only did my French improve with AMIDEAST, but I was given the opportunity to learn Darija and Arabic as well. Whenever I needed to travel AMIDEAST helped to arranged it, and their staff always had my back. The students who chose to travel with AMIDEAST were amazing as well, leading to interesting and diverse class discussions. AMIDEAST worked hard to give us each accommodating homestays and to tailor their program to what the students were looking for. Their excursions were also extremely well-organized and very unique! I loved going to the Atlas Mountains and would not have had that opportunity without such an amazing program! I highly recommend AMIDEAST to any student who's looking to learn French or Arabic, meet amazing people, and get immersed in the culture.

What would you improve about this program?
Sometimes we would have academically slow weeks, then suddenly lots of work, but I think it depends more on the professor and speaks more to how the Moroccan education system is different than the American system.
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Yes, I recommend this program

My favortite thing about going abroad with AMIDEAST is that I got to stay with a host family. My host family was different than most when my roommate and I learned who our host family was we were told by the AMIDEAST staff that we were going to eat a lot. We did end up eating a lot everyday because we stayed with a family that was three women all around the age of 80 and our host father, so it was like we were living with three grandmothers and we were spoiled like no other. I loved living with them because I had the opportunity to spend time with my host family which mostly comprised of playing chess with my host mother, and watching soap operas after I finished my homework. These were the moments that I cherish the most when I think about my time abroad. I still sometimes talk to them to see how they are doing and they are one of the main reasons why I recommend my friends to study abroad and for them to live with a host family, if given the opportunity.

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Yes, I recommend this program

My time abroad with AMIDEAST in Rabat was life-changing. The program was the perfect mix of structured activities and free time - and when my friends and I wanted to do something on our own, AMIDEAST's in-country staff were always willing to help us set it up. AMIDEAST bills itself as a serious academic program, and my Arabic definitely improved, but the highlight of my time in Morocco was definitely the excursions AMIDEAST organized. Our trip to the remote region of Zawyat Ahansal was incredible - if you go, you won't be disappointed! AMIDEAST's program in Rabat is small enough that the staff can tailor each semester to meet the needs of the students - it was clear they listened to us as the semester went on and made adjustments to match our feedback. Overall? A great program.

What would you improve about this program?
The cultural dialogue sessions and language partner program could use some improvements. I understand it's sometimes difficult to find Moroccan students who are willing to participate in programs like these, but there were some basic scheduling snafus that could have easily been avoided. I personally had a great language partner experience (still talk with my language partner regularly) but I know some others had difficulty at times.


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Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Lauren Kardos

Job Title
Senior Program Assistant for Education Abroad

What position do you hold at AMIDEAST?

Lauren Kardos of Amideast

I am a Senior Program Assistant for AMIDEAST’s Education Abroad department, located in Washington, D.C. Along with my colleagues in D.C, I work closely with AMIDEAST field staff in Jordan, Morocco, and Oman to coordinate summer, semester, and academic year education abroad opportunities. Specifically, I assist in the pre-departure process for AMIDEAST Jordan students, manage our application system, am the first point of contact for prospective students, and conduct outreach to universities and colleges throughout the United States.

My favorite part about my job is helping students prepare to study in one of the most welcoming, naturally beautiful regions of the world. Further, I love having the opportunity to return to the Middle East for work.

What has been your career path so far?

My position at AMIDEAST Education Abroad is my first job since graduation from George Washington University with my bachelor of arts degree! I graduated in May of 2012 with a degree in Middle East Studies, International Affairs, and Anthropology. I have worked in various positions with AMIDEAST in the Education Abroad Department since August of 2011 and was promoted to the position of Program Assistant in November of 2012.

In the near future, I plan to pursue a graduate degree in Intercultural Relations or Cultural Anthropology. Based on my wonderful experience working with AMIDEAST, I know that International Education, with a focus on the Middle East and North Africa, is the field I would like to remain involved with.

Did YOU study abroad?! If so, where and what inspired you to go?

I can’t remember when it developed or why, but I have had an intense desire to visit the Middle East and learn Arabic since I was a child. When I reached university, I was unwavering in my desire to learn Arabic and study abroad in the Middle East/North Africa region. I began my study abroad experience in Egypt with AMIDEAST in the Spring of 2011. Because of the political upheaval, I transferred to AMIDEAST’s program in Amman, Jordan in early February 2011. That spring, I fell head-over-heels in love with Jordan and decided to extend my stay to attend two sessions of the Summer Intensive Arabic program in Jordan with AMIDEAST that following summer. You can say I’m a little bit of an AMIDEAST Education Abroad expert, having experienced the programs both as a student and later as a staffer.

Why is language learning and cultural immersion important to you?

lauren kardos photo

Not only is language learning and cultural immersion important to me because I experienced it in Jordan, but also it has allowed me to build life-long connections to friends and colleagues in the Middle East and North Africa. After being immersed in and learning in Arabic for nearly 8 months, I was very comfortable conversationally in the Jordanian dialect. Because of my intensive language learning experience with AMIDEAST and continual studying post-graduation, I have been able to travel to other Arab countries over the past two years.

Although these countries use different dialects of Arabic, I have been pleased with my ability to pick up the linguistic differences fairly easily. By keeping in touch with close Jordanian friends and my host family, I feel constantly connected to the Middle East. I understand the region on a more personal level than I ever imagined and deeply appreciate the cultural differences I’ve encountered.

Describe a time when you felt especially proud to be part of the AMIDEAST team.

It may sound cheesy, but I feel proud to be a part of the AMIDEAST Education Abroad team every day! It is especially at the beginning of each Education Abroad term when my sense of pride is the strongest.

For months, our Education Abroad staff work to prepare the program. We review applications, develop programmatic plans, create syllabi, plan excursions, create and disseminate pre-departure information, and interact regularly with some seriously amazing students. Along with my colleagues, both in the U.S. and the Middle East/North Africa, I am proud to help students have an unforgettable experience in a region we all love. From thousands of miles apart, we all work together toward the common goal of increasing mutual respect and understanding between American and Arab peoples. When students return home with a similar love of their host country and increased Arabic proficiency, we know we have succeeded by working together.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

Due to my regular interaction with AMIDEAST program alumni, it is impossible to select a “best” returned student story. There are three common threads I have noticed among many stories which are truly heart-warming.

  • Thread 1: AMIDEAST host families are some of the most welcoming people in the world. From teaching students how to cook Arab recipes, going on family outings in the city, and taking care of a student while sick; our host families make a AMIDEAST students feel at home in what can be very unfamiliar environments.
  • Thread 2: Students become intimately involved in every facet of life in the Middle East. Students throw an “In Sha’Allah (if God wills it)” at the end of every sentence, haggle in the medina becomes second nature, and sip tea with local friends regularly as a part of their daily life.
  • Thread 3: Studying in a region with Roman ruins, Ottoman castles, ancient Berber villages, and Biblical sites is, quite simply, intoxicating. One stay in the Middle East is never enough, and students feel they have the language ability and travel confidence to return to the region again.

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