This program places equal emphasis on developing intercultural competence and linguistic proficiency. We embrace the diglossic and multidialectal nature of Arabic and aim for students to achieve multidialectal competence. Through direct interactions with Moroccans in informal and professional settings, students will achieve a well-rounded cultural competence. In addition to using Arabic in internships and professional contexts, the curriculum features the following to encourage cultural competencies:
- Expert guest speakers at AALIM and online from other countries
- Day trips and multi-day excursions
- Weekly 2-hour session for workplace literacy and intercultural competence development incorporating Flagship Culture project materials
- Alumni Mentors; Check-in with UA team once/semester
Host Family Experience
All students will spend ten weeks during the summer with host families to ensure all have a window into family life and culture. Starting in the fall, students will be given the choice to select alternative housing arrangements.
AALIM has a strong network of nearly 70 families in Meknes that have experience working with American students. Many of these families have worked specifically with the Flagship Capstone Program since 2011. Each host family goes through an extensive screening and background verification process as part of their training to receive students. AALIM also conducts orientation and cultural training workshops with new and continuing host families on how to relate to students from a variety of diverse backgrounds, as well as regulatory trainings on topics such as sexual harassment and protecting private information.
Homestay students may have a single room or share a room with another student, but they do not share a room with a family member. All accommodations include hot water, showers, Western-style toilet facilities, and a separate bedroom for the guest student. Students may not have any guests at the host family’s home without prior approval by the family, and guests should not be invited at mealtime unless the invitation comes from the family itself.
The lodging includes 2 meals a day (breakfast and the evening meal) Monday through Friday, and on non-travel weekends. Some students may be allowed to use host family kitchens or store personal food in their refrigerators, but this is at the discretion of each family, and students should be aware of the cultural norm that any food consumed in the presence of the family will be shared with all family members. Local restaurants provide both eat-in and take-out food and the time of the lunch break is sufficient for students to eat out. Students may also bring a packed lunch to eat at the AALIM Center. When living with host families, students are expected to abide by a curfew of 10 p.m. on weekdays and midnight on weekends.
Students who attend the Capstone program with a spouse will be matched with already selected host families who welcome couples and have adequate space to accommodate them. AALIM has negotiated an agreement with such families for a small increase in housing fees. While staying with a host family please be mindful of your usage of food, electricity, and even water. These things can become very expensive to maintain especially with an added guest in the home. It is important for spouses traveling with capstone students to become familiar with the cultural norms of the host families they will be staying with. What might seem natural for the two of you as a couple may not be acceptable in the home of your host family. Becoming aware of these types of things can help in the setting, and respecting, one another's boundaries.
Before arriving in Morocco, students submit online to the Housing Coordinator the “Homestay Preference Form” which includes information about allergies, dietary needs, smoking habits, personality, living environment preferences, and sleeping habits, which will be used for selecting their host family during the summer term. AALIM will schedule virtual meetings for each student with each of their potential host families. After the meetings, students will indicate their final preferences and AALIM matches them with that family.