IES Abroad Rabat - Study in Rabat
88% Rating
(12 Reviews)

IES Abroad Rabat - Study in Rabat

Delve into the fascinating layers of this North African nation as you learn Modern Standard Arabic with courses at the beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels. Learn Colloquial Moroccan Arabic to communicate with local Moroccans, and if you have already taken advanced French, you can take French-taught area studies courses at the IES Abroad Center or local universities. Our area studies courses focus on North African and Islamic Studies and introduce you to the many influential forces shaping the history and culture of Morocco.

Rabat will also be your classroom. Rich in cultural heritage and a diverse population, Morocco has been influenced by many different ethnic, cultural, and religious groups that have settled in the country throughout its long history. Visit historic treasures like the Rabat Archaeological Museum, the Hassan Mosque, and the Mausoleum of Mohammed V to see ancient artifacts and learn more about the Islamic culture. Welcome to study abroad!

Africa » Morocco » Rabat
Africa » Morocco
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African Studies
Cultural Studies
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Program Reviews (12)

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20 years old
United States
University of South Carolina- Columbia

Rabat Summer 2017


I traveled with IES Abroad to Morocco for a seven-week intensive language program over the summer. In total, the trip was excellent. The program excels at cultural and linguistic immersion, with classes taught solely in the focus language and an important homestay and cultural activity component.
Predeparture, the information provided seemed a bit sparse, but upon arrival it became clear that things like homestay address were inherently difficult to provide. Upon arrival, the staff was very helpful with cultural integration and navigating the new locale.

Academically, the language-intensive program was very beneficial. The MSA teachers were excellent at teaching Arabic to English-speaking learners. The homestay structure was incredibly useful for learning the language as well.

Overall, I would highly recommend this program.

How can this program be improved?

Pre-departure information can be more thorough, though as mentioned the nature of that information makes this difficult. Additionally, cultural activities can be more varied in nature.

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21 years old
United States
Pennsylvania State University

Amazing immersive experience


Experiencing Morocco with IES Abroad was life-changing to say the least. Not only was I paired with the most wonderful host family imaginable, but the program also arranged immersive travel experiences to the Sahara and to a remote Amazigh village. The staff at the IES Center in Rabat were welcoming and ready to help whenever we needed it. They also went to great lengths to have genuine connections with my fellow students and me throughout our time in Morocco, helping us to feel comfortable enough to ask questions and seek advice. On the administrative end of things, IES made every aspect of the experience really easy to understand. From the moment I submitted my application, a very coordinated system of knowledgeable people made sure that I was always in the know about scholarship opportunities, deadlines, updates, safety information, and useful tips. Moreover, IES offers plentiful opportunities to go above and beyond the regular program structure through opportunities to participate in internships, take classes at the local university, and research.

How can this program be improved?

I think that the cell phone policy could be re-thought. We were all required to invest in a cheap phone that could call Moroccan numbers, but the phones were difficult to keep track of and lost charge quickly. I think it would be better to allow students to become aware of the different ways to stay in communication (whatsapp credits, for example) so that it meets the needs of each student.

22 years old
Washington D.C.
Georgetown University

One Semester, a Lifetime Change


For many people, Morocco is not the first choice destination for study abroad, and I can understand why.
The Language, the cultural norms, and the location is different and does take time to adjust to. However, it is not impossible to find yourself really acclimating to the Moroccan lifestyle--which is a vibrant blend of chaos, fast driving, embraces, street food, singing, dancing, bargaining, coffee shops, and diversity.
IES Abroad in Rabat does a wonderful job of providing enough resources and support for students to ease into living in Morocco, while also giving us the freedom to move around, explore, and learn on our own.
The first ten days of Orientation equip students with helpful phrases in survival Arabic and explanations of cultural practices. The Program trips are well planned out and exhibit different places and cultures within Morocco. The program also provides a lot of support when it comes to homestays, from the vetting of possible hosts to checking up with students throughout the semester about their happiness with their host family. Everybody is always happy and content with their families. With such a safe support system, it empowers students to not be afraid of the foreignness of Morocco and really get out there and explore. Exploration was my favorite part of my time abroad. I had quite a few crazy nights/adventures: clubbing in Marakesh, randomly meeting friendly Moroccan youth in Rabat and traveling to little known cool spots, traveling to beach towns and throwing house parties, eating the best couscous of my life after a long day in exploring in Jaam'a Lefna. All this was possible due to the endless hospitality of the Moroccan people, and the support of the IES staff, who give you to the tools to travel Morocco with confidence.

How can this program be improved?

I would prefer if the program provided students with a more comprehensive academic schedule earlier on in the semester, so that everybody understood the expectations and when finals would take place.

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23 years old
Claremont, California
Claremont McKenna College

Amazing Experience in the Maghreb


IES Abroad Rabat Summer Studies program was a great experience for me. It was the perfect opportunity for me to use and improve my French in an academic setting as well as pick up some Moroccan Arabic. While I was participating in the program, I also got to experience Ramadan, which was an interesting opportunity to learn more about Islam and its practices. My host family spoke good French but was really encouraging and helped me practice my Arabic every night.

The field study in Senegal is also a major benefit of this program. Before going on the program, I had studied French for several years but wanted to expand my horizons and experiences cultures much different from my own. Morocco offered many fascinating cultural experiences, but my personal growth was definitely multiplied by our stay in Dakar. It changed my previously held views about North and West Africa. If you’re interested in learning more about the Francophone world, I highly recommend this program.

How can this program be improved?

I wish I had more time to explore Morocco. Every weekend, my friends and I would travel outside of Rabat to different cities and places in the country, like the Sahara and Meknes, but there was still more to see! Also, since it's a summer class, the day is mostly taken up by classes so there isn't as much time for cultural immersion.

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24 years old
Iowa City, Iowa
University of Iowa

From the Suq to the Sahara


Living and studying with IES in Rabat, Morocco for four months was one of the best eras of my life. I lived with a wonderful family who introduced me to Moroccan mint tea, miloui and couscous, who took me to visit cousins in neighboring towns and taught me Arab dances. My teachers at the IES Center went out of their way to make sure I understood Arabic grammar, had the vocabulary to watch Moroccan media coverage of conflicts in the Middle East and religious celebrations in North Africa. I was able to travel each weekend as far north as Granada, Spain, and as far south as Western Sahara. I shopped in the suq for vegetables with my host mother, saw snake charmers on the outskirts of a rap show in Meknes, visited women's associations in the Atlas Mountains. IES Rabat allowed me to return to the states with too many stories, too many strange souvenirs, and a beautiful new perspective.

Sahara Desert camel ride
23 years old
Collingswood, NJ
Tulane University

A Year to Remember


I studied in Rabat for an entire academic year, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything! I took classes in French, took a class at University Mohammed V, learned basic Arabic, and learned so much about Moroccan culture and history. Spending the year seemed daunting in the beginning, but at the end of my first semester I was happy to be staying. I had finally gotten into the groove of things and that allowed me to get an even deeper, more fulfilling experience. I loved my host family, who I stayed with for the entire year and am still in contact with on a regular basis. I also enjoyed the exploring that I had the opportunity to do living in such a vibrant country in an amazing part of the world. I am glad I didn’t just pick any old French program and instead found myself with an interest in a part of the world I hadn’t known anything about before my adventure.

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24 years old
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Seattle University

A Completely Unique Experience


I studied in Rabat, Morocco for three and a half months and it was the most unforgettable experience I've ever had. Morocco is different from anything I had ever known and even though it was intimidating at first, I felt one with the country and the people in no time. The IES staff was so great at getting us to be immersed in the culture and always there for us if we did not understand something. The classes were very interesting and taught me a lot about Morocco's culture, Islam and issues that concerned North Africa and the Middle East. There are even classes taught in French so that French speakers could improve their French language skills while learning Arabic. One of my favorite parts about the trip was my home stay. My host family was welcoming and treated me like their own daughter. My house was in the medina (the old city) where a lot of traditional families live, which was very interesting to see every day. I was also near a lot of little shops, cafes and even the beach! I definitely recommend studying abroad in Morocco with IES because it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

How can this program be improved?

The staff was great at helping us get immersed, but it would have been great to give us more information about places to visit around Morocco and in Rabat.

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24 years old
New Orleans, Louisiana

An Entirely Different Perspective


Studying Abroad in Rabat was one of the most profound experiences of my life. It was difficult at times with the entirely different language and culture, but gaining that perspective was invaluable. Whether it was haggling for that jalaba in the souk entirely in Arabic or surfing in one of the many beautiful isolated beach towns or climbing the Atlas Mountains, Morocco holds an incredible amount to experience, especially in the differences it holds in their way of life, which maintains stark difference from our own. I probably could have had more fun in other abroad programs, but I would never have learned as much as I have anywhere else and I wouldn't trade this experience for anything.

How can this program be improved?

One thing I would change is the standardization of the classes and have more planning go into them. Much of the class trajectory was open-ended, which hampered a predictable progression. For example, every year the sociology class associated with the international internships always has problems in their evaluation of the organizations they send students to, so many have varying experiences not due to the actual differences in the associations, but to how they interact with the interns IES sends to them. It is an experience in itself, but not what was intended.

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24 years old
Kenosha, WI
Carthage College

During the best and worsts of times, support was always there!


IES Abroad Rabat, Morocco provided one of the best semesters of my college experience. One of the great things about this program was the placement with two host families – one during orientation and one for the rest of the semester. The organization chose great families and homes for us to live with. My first family had the smallest home I’d ever seen, but they were kind and so very loving; my second family had the most beautiful home I’d ever seen but the family was less talkative. It was nice to have the chance to experience two different local families. IES Rabat places you about a 30-minute walk from their school. This walk to/from school was always very exciting, as you get to experience the old medina streets and the busy Rabat streets full of taxis and buses. IES also provided amazing organized excursions and field trips. I was able to camp in the Sahara Desert, spent a night with an Amazigh family in the Middle Atlas Mountains, and explore southern Spain. I was a French major seeking to fulfill my degree requirements, and with this organization, I was able to take three classes that were French-taught. Learning Arabic was then a huge plus! However, one downfall while abroad was then I became very ill from severe food poisoning. IES Rabat directors were very helpful in getting me the help I needed (from doctors and pharmacists) but also providing comfort and support during my recovery. It was one of the scariest moments of my life, but with their help, my study abroad semester was still incredibly amazing. I never learned so much, and I wish I could do it again.

How can this program be improved?

The only major downfall of this program was the lack of opportunities to meet local Moroccan students. Unless you opt to take a course at one of the local universities or have contacts of your own, it's very difficult to make local friends outside of your host family.

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24 years old
Washington, D.C.
Howard University



If you're interested in studying abroad in Morocco be mindful that it is a Islamic country. Many of the traditions of the religion are embedded within the culture.
On the other hand the program, IES Abroad, does a great job scheduling activities and field trips for the students. There are trips to the Sahara Desert, Spain, hiking the Atlas Mountain and a visit to the Berber Village.
Classes are relatively easy and everyone is required to take an Arabic course. The first week, Darija, Moroccan dialect of Arabic, is taught so the students are able to converse with their host families. During the semester, there are 4 different levels of Arabic provided ranging from beginners to intermediate.
Overall, the trip has been amazing and a great experience to learn more about Islamic culture.

How can this program be improved?

I would change the organization of the program. The mistakes that were being made were minor and fixed immediately, but some things should have been handled before the students arrived. Also, the staff and directors of the program are new and they are doing their best to fix the issues from previous years.

Aside from the Moroccan dialect, Moroccans speak French. Being a non-French speaker, having basic knowledge of French would have helped the students who are only studying Arabic.

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24 years old
Des Moines, IA
Drake University

Well-supported, but not for the party scene


The people who work for IES Rabat are an absolute godsend who support the students incredibly. They ease the transition from America to Morocco, sometimes a little too well. On trips it would feel like our hands were being held, but maybe that's necessary. The academics can feel like a hindrance because it seems like it can be simple busy work that gets in the way of actual academics or traveling. My host family was so welcoming and awesome, but there were a few families who were not as supportive. The walk to the IES Center from the medina is advertised 15 minutes, but that's only from one corner of the medina that doesn't have many families. Most of the other ones are around a 30-minute walk. 90% of the time i felt safe, but that's because i'm a male. Girls should almost ALWAYS walk with a guy to ward off street talk from creepy Moroccan men. The trips are relatively inexpensive and well worth it. Overall, i'd highly recommend the program to anyone willing to escape their comfort zone.

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24 years old
Memphis, TN
Rhodes College

Great Place, Great Program!


This was a great program and I am so glad that I was able to experience all that I did. Everyone at the IES center works very hard to make sure that you are getting the most out of your time there. Teachers are top notch from all over the city and are well known and such a privilege to learn from! I recommend this program for anyone and everyone:)

About The Provider


IES Abroad offers 140 programs worldwide for college students. We are a highly charged force of study abroad enthusiasts. Every day we have the privilege of witnessing how study abroad changes our students’ lives. We also believe that every student should have the opportunity to