Capstone

Study, live, & work in Morocco

When you join the Arabic Flagship Program, your world expands. Your Capstone year is the gateway for a truly international experience that will stay with you long after you’ve graduated from IU.

Your Capstone journey will take you to the city of Meknes, in the heart of Morocco. Surrounded by lush greenery and rocky, mountainous terrain, Meknes is a modern city that has embraced its medieval roots. Ancient architecture surrounds you as you attend the Arab American Language Institute (AALIM Center), Moulay Ismail University, and volunteer and work in this beautiful city.

Academic rigor

During your Capstone year, you will take several courses at the AALIM Center, and one at Moulay Ismail University, from an approved list. These courses will expand your knowledge of Arabic as you are immersed in Arabic culture in and out of the classroom. You will take the following courses at AALIM:

  • Modern Standard Arabic
  • Content courses in Standard Arabic (such as Women in Arab Societies, Arab Thinkers, Signposts in Arab Culture, Arabic Literature, and Translation)
  • Moroccan Arabic
  • Egyptian Arabic
  • Pronunciation

You have options for enrichment outside of classes as well. You’ll go on program trips to surrounding sites and towns, meet language and academic partners, attend Egyptian Arabic Round Tables, and join clubs for literature, Standard Arabic, singing, cooking, Moroccan Arabic, and many more.

Internship & community engagement

During the fall and spring semesters, you will have community engagement and internship positions for eight hours each week. These programs allow you to use your language skills and familiarize yourself with the people and culture of Meknes.

During the fall semester, you are required to complete the community engagement component of the Capstone year. Through this experience, you are able to engage in volunteer opportunities that not only enrich and inform your understanding of Morocco, but also enrich the community in which you live. You will find support and guidance with your community engagement coordinator and other Flagship staff at the Arab American Language Institute in Morocco (AALIM). The staff at AALIM has worked hard to build relationships with various organizations in Meknes. You will have ample time to submit your interests to the community engagement coordinator and locate engagement sites on your own throughout the summer semester.

You are required to reach a total of 60 hours for the entire semester (which averages to 5 hours a week if you successfully schedule their time from the beginning of September). You have a lot of freedom in these schedules, but it is important that you focus on consistently arriving at the same times each week.

You are required to complete a final project for community engagement and this can vary greatly according to the site of choice. In the past, projects have taken the form of a clothing-bank at a refugee aid organization, renovating a local Jewish cemetery, leading a lecture series at a community center, etc. You are encouraged to begin thinking about project ideas as early as summer of Capstone year, however you are not required to finalize an idea until the Fall semester. Once you inform the community engagement coordinator of your project plan, you are expected to begin its implementation, having roughly eight weeks to complete your project of choice. In the second half of the semester, you will give a presentation about your community engagement experience in front of your teachers and peers.

Your spring semester gives you the opportunity to participate in a local internship at a variety of organizations. Our students have interned with lawyers; in journalism or craftsmanship; at the community oven, gym, or health clinic; and in Arabic research.

students taking picture in ancient cave
students stand in synagogue in Meliah
people walk around the UMI campus buildings
viilage of Chechaouen

I am certain I never could have reached my current proficiency in Arabic without an immersive experience abroad like Capstone. The fact that Capstone incorporates instruction in two dialects and M.S.A. makes the program very unique. I now have nuanced knowledge of linguistic variation across the Middle East. My success in the program can be attributed to the high-quality instructors who were so invested and committed to student success and language acquisition. My Capstone year made me fall in love with Morocco, and I have been living here ever since.

Anita Farsad, Arabic Flagship student 2016-17