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Arabic language programs in Fes

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Arabic language programs in Fes

Can anyone recommend a good residential summer Arabic language program in Fes for my 17 yr old son - a rising senior in high school?

Marrakech, Morocco
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1. Re: Arabic language programs in Fes

Please be aware that Moroccan Arabic (Darija) is different from modern contemporary Arabic. People from the Middle East for example have problems with understanding Darija. If your son is intending to work in Arab countries I would suggest that Egypt, the Lebanon or Jordan are more suitable locations for learning Arabic.

Welcome to the Fes forum Screenplay39.

Castril De La Pena...
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2. Re: Arabic language programs in Fes

ALIF is THE place to learn Arabic, whether Darija (Moroccan dialect) or Fus'ha (Modern Standard Arabic). There's a number of accommodation options including a student villa, homestays and hotels. I stayed in Fez for eight weeks doing one of the courses and had a ball. There were several American students at the time and David Amster, the head of the school, has connections to several American institutions.

http://www.alif-fes.com/

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3. Re: Arabic language programs in Fes

Thanks so much Pilobolus andTim! The Alif (yes - this is the program we're looking at) teaches Modern Arabic and/or Colloquial Moroccan Arabic. Looks amazing, I found it on the Princeton Arabic Studies website and they have partnerships with Dartmouth, Bard, etc. My son was set to do an AFS/Egypt program but just won an all-expenses-paid trip to Azerbaijan through the Embassy ; it's quite an honor and he's ecstatic. Problem is, the dates conflict and he's having to pull out of Egypt.

Still wondering whether he'll be way younger than the other students and feel lonely or left out. He has huge intellectual curiosity, great language aptitude and is a seasoned traveler.

I really appreciate your feedback!

Jerez de la Frontera
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4. Re: Arabic language programs in Fes

I think that there's a little of everything at ALIF but in general the students there are college age. He'll make friends in the medina though for sure, Café Clock in the medina offers a lot of interesting activities like arabic calligraphy, cooking lessons, etc. it's a good place to meet people.

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5. Re: Arabic language programs in Fes

Thanks, Chano. Is ALIF a close walk to the medina and Cafe Clock? Is it safe for him to travel alone there?

Also - since he'll arrive in Fez on Saturday and ALIF is closed until Monday, do you have a hotel recommendation for two nights where he can get acclimated?

Much appreciated!

Castril De La Pena...
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6. Re: Arabic language programs in Fes

His Rough Guide or Lonely Planet guidebook will have recommendations for accommodation of all grades. Also check out the hotel reviews on TripAdvisor.

Hopefully your research will already have told you that Fez is one heck of a lot safer than any North American or European city.

Jerez de la Frontera
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7. Re: Arabic language programs in Fes

No kidding @TimCullis. No offense to our American brethren, but it always amazes me how in a country with one of the highest rates of homicide in the world, so many people worry about "safety" in Morocco. Let the statistics speak for themselves: Rate of homicide by any method in Morocco in 2010, per 100,000 population? 1.4. Rate of homicide per 100,000 population by any method in USA in the same year? 5.3.

I can understand you Screenplay39 as a concerned parent, but rest assured you have little to worry about, other than the fact that your son may get overcharged for his mint tea.

Distance from ALIF to the medina is a little over a mile, and takes about 20 minutes walk. Petit taxis are cheap and plentiful. Find a nice Riad in the medina for his arrival weekend. It'll be a first impression that stays with him for life.

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8. Re: Arabic language programs in Fes

I agree with Chano. I am is Fez now with two girls, 17 and 18 years old and feel very safe to let them explore on their own. We are staying in a Riad very close to Clock Cafe.

Edited: 10:31 am, June 24, 2013
New York City, New...
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9. Re: Arabic language programs in Fes

Hi All,

Son is booked at generic hotel next to ALIF per their housing placement person. Then he moves into school housing. So much for charming first impression riad. If you have a modestly priced riad to recommend for the last night, I'd appreciate your suggestions. Chano: I think you might have an exaggerated impression of my travel "fears." After all, we live in NYC, I did Peace Corps in Morocco in the 80's, have travelled almost anywhere you can name, and son has already gone to Burma, Romania and Ghana and is now in Azerbaijan on his own. If you're interested, he can post on his experiences in Fez...

Jerez de la Frontera
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10. Re: Arabic language programs in Fes

Sorry Screenplay39, you posed the question, however I was answering on a more generalized level. I hope you didn't take offense, none was intended. But there is a stereotype regarding Americans concerns for their safety abroad which is upheld time and time again by the same question being posed on this board, glad to hear you are an exception to the rule. I have a recommendation for a great Riad that I think would really appeal to your son on both an aesthetic and intellectual level, but to avoid the policing on this forum related to "advertising"..send me a direct message and i'll give you the info. Cheers,