Al Akhawayn University Exchange Program:
Morocco is a country of dramatic contrasts in landscape
and culture. There are extraordinary
places to explore, from Roman ruins, ancient cities
and elegant Islamic monuments to white sand beaches,
the High Atlas Mountains and the Sahara Desert. The
cultural diversity of contemporary Moroco
is represented by the ancestry of its inhabitants:
Arabs from across North Africa, Spaniards, French,
and the indegenous inhabitants whose language and
culture stretches back several thousand years.
The Binghamton University exchange program at Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane (AUI) offers Arabic language (beginning through advanced), courses about North Africa and Islamic culture, and courses in the university's professional and arts and sciences schools. All instruction at the university is in English (except for the Arabic language program).
Participants live on campus and are fully integrated with the Moroccan students. The program takes place fall or spring semester or the academic year. Applications are welcome from State University of New York (SUNY) and non-SUNY students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.
Ifrane is a university town in the Middle Atlas region of Morocco, east of Casablanca and Rabat, south of Fez. It is in the midst of beautiful cedar and oak forests in an area developed by the French in the 1930's for summer mountain retreats.
The architecture of Al Akhawayn University (AUI) as well as that of the surrounding homes is distinctive of the region. It is characterized by stone houses adorned with shutters and tile roofs. The village center of Ifrane has cafes, hotels, a bank, small convenience shops and fast-food establishments, a souq, and taxi plazas. The Mischliffen ski area is close-by. King Hassan II owns a palace in Ifrane and occasionally is in residence with his full court. Locally, one can visit stands of enormous cedars in the forests and drive through areas with spectacular views of the distant mountains, the high plains and agricultural lands.
Ifrane is ideally situated for travel to the larger cities. The ancient Imperial City of Fez, the spiritual capital of Morocco, with two great mosques and one of the oldest universities in the world (al-Qarawayin, founded in 859 AD) is only 20 minutes away by grand taxi. The walled Imperial City of Meknes is about 40 minutes away. From either Fez or Meknes one can reach lively Casablanca or Rabat in 5 or 6 hours by means of Morocco's state run bus or train lines. Magnificent Marrakesh and the High Atlas Mountains are likewise approximately 6 hours away. Lively Tangier is to the northwest and is a point of departure for travel to Gibraltar, Spain and Portugal.
Fall semester starts at the beginning of September and lasts until the third week in December. Spring semester begins the middle of January and ends the second week in May. There is a mid-term break, usually one week, each semester.