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Amideast Education Abroad Programs

Why choose 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, 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.


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Yes, I recommend this program

Living and loving life in Jordan

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

Amazing and unique way to study French

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

Great Program All Around

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

Fall 2014 with AMIDEAST!

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

AMIDEAST in Rabat: Definitely Worth It

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.

Cara Lane-Toomey

Job Title
Assistant Director for Education Abroad Programs

What position do you hold at AMIDEAST, and what's been your career path thus far?

I am the Assistant Director for Education Abroad Programs in the Arab World at AMIDEAST. Following my graduation from the University of St. Thomas, I served as a Peace Corps Youth Development Volunteer in Morocco from 2005-2007. After an incredible experience in the south of Morocco, I returned to the US to put to use my BA in Political Science while I worked for a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

In 2009 I decided to embark on a two year journey in the heart of the Arab world in order to complete my Masters in Middle East Studies at the American University in Cairo. I was first introduced to AMIDEAST when I conducted my master's research on increasing numbers of U.S. students studying abroad in the Middle East and North Africa. In the midst of writing my thesis, I realized a career in study abroad in the Middle East/North Africa was an ideal way to combine my passion for this particular region of the world and for international education. After completing my MA, I found a position with AMIDEAST in the Education Abroad department and have been joyfully working with in our Washington D.C. office since the spring of 2011.

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

Originally from South Dakota, I took a huge step out of my comfort zone by setting off for an experiential education trip through Southeast Asia in 2001. I chose to take part in a “gap year” program, in part, because I felt there was so much to the world that I had yet to be exposed to after growing up in quiet western South Dakota. This, my first time abroad, opened my eyes to the beauty of travel and cultural exchange. This passion has led me to Central and South America, the Middle East, North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and Europe.

Since that trip, my desire to explore our earth and my place in this world has continuously grown. Throughout my time at university, I studied abroad as much as possible: participating in short-term programs in Ecuador, Honduras, and Guatemala and doing semesters abroad in both Northern Ireland and Egypt. Always eager to learn about cultures, I wanted to stay longer and longer in the countries I visited. After I received my degree I decided to volunteer with the U.S. Peace Corps, partially because I would be able to spend two full years living and working in a different culture. During my service I lived in Qelaât M'Gouna, an indigenous town on the edge of the Sahara in Morocco, and worked on community projects ranging from photography to women's rights education.

What does the future hold for AMIDEAST - any exciting new programs to share?

The political events of the last decade and the Arab Spring have made it more important than ever for students to understand the language, culture, and history of the Middle East/North Africa (MENA).

Study abroad is one important method that can significantly increase students’ understanding of the Arabic language and the culture of MENA. During the last decade, the number of U.S. undergraduate students in the MENA has increased dramatically. In order to offer more diverse locations for students, AMIDEAST has launched our inaugural semester program in Muscat, Oman. In addition to our programs in Morocco and Jordan, our Oman Area & Arabic Language Studies semester program offers both Arabic language and Middle East related courses. Oman is a unique historical setting in both the larger Arab world and the Arabian Peninsula.

In this distinctive environment, students explore a range of issues related to the Middle East and Oman and the Gulf region in particular with their professors, their fellow AMIDEAST students, and their local friends. Participants have the opportunity not only to improve their Modern Standard Arabic, but to also learn Omani Arabic. We also look forward to implementing our 2014 summer Intensive Arabic programs in Oman, Jordan, and Morocco.

What about the future of the industry? How do you think study abroad and international education will change over the next 10 years?

Over the past decade I have been excited to see a growing number of students choosing non-traditional destinations for their education abroad experiences. As more and more students look for destinations off-the-beaten-path, I think study abroad programs have the opportunity to guide students through meaningful intercultural journeys in some truly unique locations.

How have you changed/grown since working for AMIDEAST?

I have grown immensely since working for AMIDEAST! Perhaps the most meaningful way in which I have developed is by learning about and improving my own cultural competence. I am lucky to work for an organization that has made intercultural learning one of the pillars of our education abroad programs. As a result, I have had opportunities to take part in wonderful trainings, workshops, and creative group efforts; all of which are aimed at providing a more coherent and useful intercultural learning experience to our students.

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