An international service learning program that offers university students the opportunity to assist in ongoing community development projects in the rural communities of the Zawiya Ahansal region in the Central High Atlas Mountains of Morocco. The program is accredited through Montana State University and is partnered with the Atlas Cultural Foundation (ACF), a non-profit organization with the mission of collaborating with rural Moroccans in order to improve their quality of life in the fields of cultural preservation, community education, and public health.
MOROCCO: Summer 2015
SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
An International Service Learning Program
Program Coordinates: 31◦ 50’ 16.90” N, 6◦ 06’ 38.72” W
Dates: May 20 – June 24, 2015 (students arrive in Marrakech on May 20 and depart from Marrakech on June 24)
Level(s): Graduate and Undergraduate
Prerequisites: 2.5 GPA, Instructor consent via interview process
Architecture – Arch Option Studio or Arch Electives (6 credits)
Click here for details about the ARCH course.
Sustainable Food and Bioenergy Systems – SFBS (6 credits)
Click here for details about the SFBS course.
Cost: $5499 estimated cost
(Excludes airfare – covers all expenses from pick up at the Marrakech airport on May 20 to drop off at the Marrakech airport on June 24.)
Visit the MSU website for Important Dates, Timeline, Application Info and Forms: Click for more information
The Morocco: Sustainable Community Development program is an international service learning program that offers university students the opportunity to assist in ongoing community development projects in the rural communities of the Zawiya Ahansal region in the Central High Atlas Mountains of Morocco. The program is accredited through Montana State University and is partnered with the Atlas Cultural Foundation (ACF), a non-profit organization with the mission of collaborating with rural Moroccans in order to improve their quality of life in the fields of cultural preservation, community education, and public health.
Students will work with ACF and their partners to assist with community development projects in addition to living and learning with the local community. All majors and academic levels can apply to the program.
The program offers a five-week international experience for undergraduate and graduate students to travel to rural Morocco accompanied by Montana State University faculty and live and work in a small community. The student work will directly benefit ACF’s long-term programs in this region.
The foundation of the program is a real world experience of living, working, and learning in a rural Moroccan village. Students engage in meaningful, community-identified work; are immersed in an intercultural living environment in which they engage in cross-cultural dialogue; observe, study, and participate in the host culture; work with faculty and professional mentors; and generally engage in a variety of formal and informal intercultural exchanges. These experiences are then reflected upon in direct and indirect methods with peers, leaders, or cultural informants. Through reflection and observation, new learning occurs and is then tested and applied in the field.
What to Expect:
Zawiya Ahansal is a remote and mountainous region located between 5,000 and 12,000 feet in Morocco’s Central High Atlas Mountains. It is a high desert region with temperatures extremes in May and June ranging between 32 and 100 F. Regional equivalents are the City of Rocks in Idaho and southern Utah. Students should be prepared and comfortable with working in all weather, including rain, wind, and heat and should be physically fit and able to hike in mountainous terrain. In addition, all students will need to be physically able to work and hike at 6000 feet above sea level for extended periods of time. Students will be living with local families in registered guesthouses and should therefore be comfortable with and respectful of Muslim culture. Meals are prepared by your host family and are traditional Berber Moroccan cuisine. Sleeping rooms will be shared amongst students and are separated by gender.
Program highlights include:
• Living with the sheikh of Zawiya Ahansal.
• Assisting the Atlas Cultural Foundation on their current service projects and learning about international non-profit organizations and management.
• Learning about non-profit Moroccan association structure and being a part of various stages of sustainable development projects.
• Trekking in the Atlas Mountains.
• Touring the medieval city, or medina, of Marrakech.
• Coastal town of Essaouira.
• Enjoying the region’s natural surroundings during days off.
On your days off you will have the opportunity to enjoy a multitude of outdoor endeavors in the region of Zawiya Ahansal. Such activities include day hiking, trail running and world-class rock climbing in the Taghia Cirque (if you have previous skills and your own equipment). You will also have time to wander through the villages to take pictures, visit the local market and sketch. Essaouira is the windsurfing capital of Morocco and has a unique blend of Portuguese and Moroccan historic architecture. You will have the freedom to wander the medieval medina (ancient city) on your own and soak in the rich mosaic of culture and architecture.
Community Partner: Atlas Cultural Foundation http://www.atlasculturalfoundation.org
Atlas Mountains: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlas_Mountains
Application Deadline: January 30, 2015
Applicant Interviews: February 9 – 13, 2015
Spring 2015 Pre-departure required classes:
SFBS All students will be required to take a 1 credit prep course during spring semester 2015. The times and dates will be determined in February after the interview process.
ARCH Students will meet with faculty for pre-departure design charrettes and prep for departure. The times and dates will be determined in February after the interview process.
Morocco May 20th – June 24th, 2015
In Morocco there is a saying that “nothing goes as planned but everything works out.” Schedules are especially prone to this. Please be aware of this if you are making plans with anyone outside of the program (I.E. meeting up somewhere).
• Day 1 Arrive in Marrakech, Morocco and meet with faculty, program director and the rest of the students. Airport transfer to the hotel will be organized for you.
• Day 2 Tour Marrakech’s historic landmarks including Djemaa El-Fna, Jardin Majorelle, Ali Ben Yusuf Medersa, Marrakech Museum, and the medina (medieval marketplace).
• Day 3 Travel overland through the plains of Marrakech and foothills of the Atlas Mountains to Zawiya Ahansal. Lunch at Cascades d’Ouzoud.
• Day 4 – Day 15 Zawiya Ahansal. Focused area of study fieldwork.
• Day 16 – Day 18 Trek in Atlas Mountains.
• Day 19 – Day 31 Zawiya Ahansal. Focused area of study fieldwork.
• Day 32 Travel to the Atlantic coastal town of Essaouira.
• Day 33 – Day 34 Visit locally owned and operated cooperatives and microfinance projects in and near Essaouira. Final reflection exercises and trip wrap-up. Relax and enjoy the beach.
• Day 35 Travel to Marrakech for shopping and farewell dinner.
• Day 36 Depart Marrakech.
Program Learning Outcomes:
By the end of the course, all students will learn, do, and obtain the following:
• Develop technical skills in such areas as cultural preservation, community education, and rural health
• Develop an understanding of traditional methods and techniques
• Develop interpersonal communication and collaboration skills
• Develop problem solving and critical thinking skills
• Obtain models of alternative career development in your field
• Participate in and gain knowledge of sustainable community development and international non-profit management
• Increase self-awareness
• Increase cross-cultural observational and communication skills
• Enhance intercultural sensitivity and understanding
Community/Global Citizen Skills
• Develop increased civic responsibility
• Increase global awareness
• Increase participation in and/or knowledge of global events
For additional information about this program, contact:
• Cloe Medina Erickson, Program Director, firstname.lastname@example.org
• Carmen Byker, MSU SFBS Program Nutrition Faculty, email@example.com, 406-994-1952
• Tim Seipel, MSU SFBS Program Agriculture Faculty, firstname.lastname@example.org, 406-994-7584
• Chris Livingston, MSU Architecture Faculty, email@example.com, 406-994-6985
• Kevin Brustuen, MSU Office of International Programs Program Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org