Frequently Asked Questions
Studying abroad in a foreign country can be an exciting and intimidating opportunity. The questions below anticipate some of your biggest concerns, but if you have other questions about studying in Morocco with Foundation Dar Si Hmad, please do not hesitate to reach out to us!
In an increasingly globalized world, studying abroad and discovering other cultures is ever more vital to both personal and professional development. A recent study by the Institute for International Education of Students found that over 95% of students surveyed said that their time studying abroad had a life-long impact on their worldview, 96% said it increased their self-confidence, and 84% developed skills related to their career. Learning in a new environment not only facilitates personal, social and academic growth, but also makes you more competitive on the job market after graduation.
Southwest Morocco is an exciting and welcoming place to live and study. It is a unique intersection between Amazigh and Arab in Morocco and on the streets you will hear a mixture of Darija, Tashelheet, and French.
Agadir, Sidi Ifni, and the surrounding areas are well equipped with most things you may need in terms of toiletries and medicines. However, we recommend you bring any prescription medicines you take regularly, and any specific medicine you anticipate needing on program, such as allergy medication or medicine for car sickness. We recommend bringing good walking shoes, comfortable and modest clothing, and a sturdy water bottle. A detailed packing list is included in your pre-departure student package.
On short term programs, students stay at hotels in Agadir and/or Sifi Ifni. These are safe, clean hotels in great locations that Foundation Dar Si Hmad has booked for students for many years. On longer term programs, students have a choice of living in a shared apartment with other students or in a homestay with a Moroccan family with whom Dar Si Hmad has an established relationship. Students who choose homestays may have their own rooms or may share a room with a host sibling depending on preference and availability.
FOR PARENTS & GUARDIANS
Sending your child to study abroad or do research across the globe may be stressful, but it offers students a unique opportunity to explore new worlds, challenge their assumptions, and develop their sense of self in a safe and supportive environment.
Support from parents, family, and other loved ones is often vital to students’ success in study abroad and research programs. Students will have regular access to Wi-Fi to connect via email, WhatsApp, and social media to keep you up to date. Dar Si Hmad will contact the student’s emergency contact should any emergency or medical concern happen.
Dar Si Hmad has established connections with several local doctors and pharmacies. In case of a medical concern, we will make an appointment for a student, provide transportation to and from the medical center, and a staff member will accompany the student for translation assistance as needed. American health insurance companies will reimburse for medical services provided overseas, but please make sure to check with your insurance company prior to your child’s arrival for details.
Our school program manager is CPR/First Aid certified, and we provide students with all necessary health recommendations in their pre-departure materials and during our in-country orientation. We ask students to provide us with any pertinent medical information on our student information form, and we are happy to discuss any specific concerns with students and families.
The safety of the students is of utmost importance to us at Dar Si Hmad. We carefully monitor U.S. State Department Travel Warnings and ISOS Travel alerts. We have detailed plans in place to respond to various environmental, social, and medical emergencies. Students are provided with phone contacts for three Dar Si Hmad staff members, as well as information for their hotel, a doctor, and a pharmacy upon arrival. We are happy to discuss any specific concerns you have.
In general, Morocco is a very safe place to live. Though crime rates are very low in Agadir, the greatest threats to personal safety in Morocco are petty theft and verbal harassment. We will provide students with a safe and comfortable environment within our center and help them establish connections with the local community to further ensure their safety. Students that participate in our programs report feeling very safe during their time with Dar Si Hmad.
Dar Si Hmad has extensive experience catering to students with food restrictions and allergies. We ask students to alert us of any food restrictions or allergies on their student information forms. Based on this information, our on-staff cooks develop menus that offer healthy and balanced meals for all participants. When we eat at a restaurant on a program, we choose restaurants that will cater to students’ needs and preferences and have translations of all dietary information ready. We are accustomed to catering to vegetarian, gluten-free, and dairy-free diets, as well as a range of other allergies/restrictions.
Getting out of the classroom can be a difficult endeavor, but it can also prove to be one of the most interesting aspects of education, in the humanities as well as STEM fields.
Yes! Dar Si Hmad specializes in creating uniquely-tailored programs that address a specific disciplinary or thematic focus. Each program created and led by Dar Si Hmad offers students the opportunity to experience Morocco and related classroom curricula in a new and dynamic way, relating field experiences back to global challenges and fundamental theoretical questions. Programs include experiential learning, immersion, lectures, group seminars and class discussions.
Past programs have included activities and discussions on Amazigh history and literature, argan oil production and the impact of female-owned cooperatives in this region, colonialism, globalization, rural livelihoods and local economies, gender, religion, perceptions of healing and water, social justice, climate change and environmentalism, cuisine – among many other themes.
In Ifni, Dar Si Hmad owns a large three-story building with a large meeting-room in the lower level, 4 classrooms and a small kitchen on the second floor, in addition to a library and an open working space on the third floor. We have an internet connection and all the necessary equipment for teaching (projector, blackboards, and a photocopy machine).
In Agadir, our offices have one large classroom space with all equipment needed for classes, lectures, group discussions, or meetings. We have a kitchen and eating area as well.
In both locations, you will have access to unlimited internet connection. Passwords are included in the welcoming package.
We own an 8 seater-van and contract other vetted transportation. All buses are spacious and comfortable, and all drivers are trained professionals.
Dar Si Hmad provides research support services to international scholars from all disciplines, serving as a platform for innovative dialogue and international research on this underrepresented region of Morocco. Researchers may choose to conduct independent research at an external placement site or do research with one of Dar Si Hmad’s development initiatives. External placement sites include a diverse array of local partner organizations: women’s shelters, development NGOs, cultural organizations, educational institutions, governmental ministries, and businesses. For researchers interested in the humanities and social sciences, Dar Si Hmad has a strong foothold that may help you to establish research contacts in several communities in the region. Upon the choice of your topic, you can have a student assist you in completing the research.
For researchers interested in focusing on one of our projects: Dar Si Hmad is a female-run NGO that provides quality-of-life and educational services to communities in Southwest Morocco. To date, our largest project is a fog-harvesting initiative that uses nets to capture fog and transform it into potable water, which we then filter into several communities in the Aït Baamaran region. This project may provide a good starting point for students and researchers specializing in development, engineering, and resource sciences. We conduct supplementary education and professional development programs that reach out to urban and rural students and young professionals, which make Dar Si Hmad a dynamic community center and space to share ideas.
Dar Si Hmad offers an array of services to visiting researchers depending on their needs and the scope of their project. We provide airport pickup upon arrival, and can arrange an apartment or homestay in Agadir or Sidi Ifni. The center also offers printing and copying services, print and oral translation, Wi-Fi and office space, and language instruction or tutoring. While you are in southern Morocco, the Dar Si Hmad center and team will act as a “home base” should you have any questions about research or living in Morocco, or should you hit a research roadblock.
Costs will vary widely depending on the type and extent of services required. Please submit a “Research Affiliation Request Form” detailing your needs, and we can provide you a quote. Please note that we are a not-for-profit organization and that the fees will go to cover the expenses incurred, and that all additional profit is invested in our community-based programs.
Dar Si Hmad has hosted education programs for over 13 years except during the Covid epidemic. We have hosted programs from Erickson Creative Group , Maryland College , Rice University , Quinnipiac University, Rollins College, Lewis & Clark College, University of Tampa, Seattle University, Georgetown University, University of South Florida, and University of California at Merced– among many others! When we celebrated our 10th anniversary in 2019, we counted then 54 groups in total. We are also the recipient of the trophy of Sustainability in Education, 2017 from go.com for study abroad program competition and we are very proud to note that, except a couple cases of diarrhea, we have never had any serious health concern or accident.
Dar Si Hmad has 10 permanent staff members. We also hire young university students to be “speaking partners” during the busy summer season, in addition to translators and language instructors according to needs. We have our own van and cook, your safety is our primary concern.
Yes, our stellar accounting department serves as a contact point for all payments and accounting. Once the program is finalized, an invoice will be sent to the university (via our primary contact person), detailing all the necessary information to facilitate the wire transfer. Discussions about the terms of the payments are done on a case-by-case basis.
Not currently. Universities that we have worked with in the past have taught accredited courses through our center, but we do not have independent accreditation.
Yes, all staff members and many of the people Dar Si Hmad works with speak fluent English, and provide informal translation. For activities conducted in French, Arabic or Tashelheet, translators are hired to facilitate open communication and exchange.
We have constant liability insurance in our center. All faculty and students are required to obtain health and travel insurance through their university or independently.
For short-term programs (less than one month), students stay at hotel apartments. For longer-term students, participants may elect to stay in homestays or in rental apartments.
Homestay families and homes have been individually assessed by Dar Si Hmad to ensure that they meet the highest standards of security and safety for students. All host families sign a contract with Dar Si Hmad articulating their commitment to intercultural exchange and willingness to invite a student as a part of their family.
Calligraphy workshop as a traditional art form that appeals to learners as it reveals an artistic dimension to the written script that fascinates and elevates the experience of language learning. We offer calligraphy workshops both in Arabic and Tifinagh Scripts, the Tifinagh script have long been associated with tattoos and with tribal identification. In addition to considering this activity as an art form, it is also the occasion of reflecting on the history of this fascinating script.
The cooking workshop with our 4 star cook, Ms. Hadda Bouzouggar and her assistant Ms. Atiqa Khollassi, you get initiated into the basics of Moroccan home cooking, how to make Moroccan tagines, what couscous is and the variety of grains, and then learn about spices, their virtues, what best combinations are used for which vegetable, grain or meat, and then also get a glimpse into regional variations on dishes. This workshop complements the “We Break Bread” class and is also offered on demand.
Yes, we do. It is absolutely forbidden to use drugs or alcohol during the duration of the program. Students need to complete two prerequisite classes Ethics of Doing Field Work and The Cultural Pre-orientation