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MOROCCO - ISEP at Al Akhawayn University

Morocco, known in Arabic as al-Mumlakah al-Maghreb or “the Western Kingdom,” is a country in northwest Africa with a long coastline along the Atlantic Ocean that reaches past the Strait of Gibraltar into the Mediterranean Sea. Morocco, the fourth most populous country in the region, has a predominantly Muslim population that is mostly Arab and Berber. The official language is modern standard Arabic but many speak Moroccan Arabic, French or Berber.

The resort community of Ifrane is nestled in the Middle Atlas Mountains. The region is known for its beautiful forests, mountains, lakes, and waterfalls. Located just 60 kilometers from the historically rich imperial cities of Fez and Meknes, Ifrane is easily accessible by automobile, bus, and taxi.

About Al Akhawayn

Inaugurated in 1995 by His Majesty King Hassan II and Crown Prince Abdallah bin Abdel-Aziz of Saudi Arabia, Al Akhawayn University redefines the classic American liberal arts educational experience on an architecturally stunning modern campus amidst the beauty of Morocco’s Middle Atlas Mountains. 

It boasts:

  • A uniquely international common core program for all undergraduate students, providing the basis for a well-rounded global education.
  • Rich academics, in English, encouraging choice and experimentation, in all schools and programs of study.
  • A comfortable, safe, exciting residential student life on campus, featuring hundreds of University student-run activities, with over 96 percent of undergraduates living on campus with roommates from around Morocco and the four corners of the world.
  • The peace and pleasures of Ifrane, a center for the outdoor exploration of mountains, streams, lakes, and more, with many entertainment options and easy access to major cities such as Rabat, Casablanca, Fez, Meknes, and more.
  • This program would be suitable for students that are ready to be abroad, but would still like some of the academic services that a U.S. college provides.

    Learn more about Al Akhawayn University here! Read the ISEP Country Handbook to learn more about visa requirements, educational system, and culture.


To be eligible to participate in this program, students must meet the following requirements:

  • Good academic and judicial standing during time of application AND time of participation in program
  • Undergraduates must have completed at least two semesters of study at Lake Forest College AND have junior status or higher before participation. 
  • At least 18 years of age by the program’s departure date. 
  • Be able to stay at the host program for the duration of the semester, including through the exam and travel periods
  • Minimum GPA of 2.75. 

Students applying to ISEP must apply for an Exchange option (in any country) as a first choice but may apply to a Direct option as a back-up. Direct options may have an additional cost (see a financial section for more information).


The resort town of Ifrane, nestled in the Middle Atlas Mountains at 1600 meters (5000 feet), has a regular population of 12,000 that expands to nearly 100,000 on weekends, holidays and in summer because of its beauty in all four seasons. The Province of Ifrane is home to the largest cedar forest in North Africa and is the most biologically diverse area in Morocco. Two ski slopes are about 25 minutes from campus. The imperial cities of Meknes and Fez are an hour (65 kilometers) from Ifrane. The capital city of Rabat on the Atlantic coast is 2 hours from Ifrane; the Sahara desert is 6 hours away.

To learn more about the visa process for this country, please visit the ISEP Country Handbook for Morocco. 


Al Akhawayn University offers eight undergraduate degrees from among three schools: Science and Engineering, Business Administration, and Humanities and Social Sciences. Nine graduate degrees are offered in addition to executive education and special programs for continuing education. All courses are delivered in English. Language classes are offered in French, Arabic, Spanish and Berber. 

Academic life is rigorous but highly personalized: the student to full-time faculty ratio is 12 to 1. All faculty members have offices and maintain a minimum of 9 office hours per week for easy access by students. Because the average class size is 17, students have ample opportunity to question, respond, and interact with the professor and classmates. The English academic resources of Al Akhawayn University library are among the best in Morocco and the region. 

Higher education in Morocco and the region operates in a more formal tone; students should address their teachers as Mr., Mrs., Ms., Dr. as appropriate. You will not be on a first name basis with any professor at AUI unless given express permission to do so. 

Of special interest are courses in history and political science that focus on North Africa and the Middle East. Arabic language courses are also offered in Modern Standard Arabic. Arabic is not offered at all levels each semester and students should refer to the course catalog for level selection.


A normal course load per semester is five courses (17 credit hours) and is approximately equivalent to 4 Lake Forest credits. Grades are based on the four-point GPA system according to demonstrated performance and skill level. 
See below:

indicates excellent achievement has been demonstrated
indicates high achievement
indicates acceptable performance
indicates the lowest passing grade (at AUI, a grade “D” which usually requires the student to repeat the course)
indicates failure either on a letter grade basis or on a Pass/Fail basis

Letter Grades Grade Points Percentages
A 4.0 90-100
B 3.0 80-89
C 2.0 70-79
D 1.0 60-69
F 0.0 Below 60

Information on the courses available can be found here.

Academic Environment and Teaching Style

Please understand that the academic system is quite different. Classes are usually lecture-based, instead of discussion or group work. Classes are often much larger than those found at Lake Forest College. Grades are based heavily, at times almost entirely, on one end-of-term exam, though some courses will also offer a midterm.  Professors are often more formal than those in the United States.

All courses/modules may have prerequisites.  Some departments may have limitations on numbers of courses that can be taken within or outside it.  Be aware of these limitations.

Each class generally equals 3 credit hours. 

To Earn 4 Lake Forest credits, students must take 15-16 US semester credits.

To Earn 3 Lake Forest credits, students must take 12 US semester credits.

The number of credits listed here is estimated, and GEO will work with you, your advisor, and the registrar to ensure you are earning enough credits to keep you on track for graduation.

Please review the ISEP country handbook for more information on the education system, grades, class hours, and classroom etiquette.

Student Life


The University is coeducational, residential and primarily undergraduate but has rapidly growing graduate programs. The outlook is international and tolerance is promoted and expected of students, staff, and faculty belonging to many nationalities that live and work together. 

Most of the nearly 1700 students are enrolled full time and live on campus. About 1500 students are undergraduates. The student population is approximately 50% female and 50% male. 

Al Akhawayn University is an ideal location for students who want an introduction to the region. Morocco is an open and reasonably tolerant country in which a diverse set of faiths are welcome. Because of Morocco’s history and background, students can expect a tolerant but conservative culture. 


Orientation program focuses on cultural aspects of life in Morocco and will provide exchange students with practical information as well as assisting with enrollment, course registration and life on campus.


Airport pick up will be provided from Fez to Ifrane for a fee. Students must provide final arrival information to host coordinator at least one week in advance.


A fully residential campus, there are over 40 students clubs and associations. 

All students are eligible to play in the intramural teams of basketball, volleyball, soccer (football), rugby and others depending on student interest. Al Achaean plays in the university leagues and there are official men’s and women’s teams in football (soccer), basketball, volleyball, handball, tennis, cross country, and chess.


  Experiential Opportunities
The Community Service Office has a wide range of activities suitable for international students with limited language abilities in Arabic. They maintain a database of organizations all over Morocco. All Al Akhawayn students are required to do a 60-hour community service project before graduation. Service Learning is being introduced in some classes.
Housing and Meals

Students are housed in double rooms in one of the residence halls located on campus. Single rooms are NOT available. Students receive a cash stipend that will cover 21 meals per week at the university’s dining hall. Students may add funds to the cash wallet account to cover incidental expenses on campus. Students are not able to make purchases on campus with cash or debit cards. Purchases are made with the cash wallet.


You are responsible for all of your personal expenses including optional fees (e.g. computer, language, science lab fees), books, local transportation, entertainment, etc. The amounts below are provided as a guide; the actual amounts needed will vary depending on courses and personal habits. Your personal expenses per month, including books, are estimated at US$ 1,000 per semester or US$ 250 per month. Upon arrival, students are required to pay a textbook advance of 3,000.00 MAD. If the cost of the textbooks is less than 3,000 MAD the student will be reimbursed the balance of the books.

Financial Information

For all approved programs for guaranteed financial aid transferability, students pay their Lake Forest College tuition plus a program fee. The program fee for a semester with the ISEP Exchange to Al Akhawayn includes orientation, on-site director, college fees, housing, and the equivalent of 19/meals per week.  These meals include are provided as a stipend to purchase food on your own or in the dining hall.

Here is an estimated budget for the Fall 2019/Spring 2020 programs:

Budget Item


Lake Forest College Tuition


Program fee (estimated)

Note: Spring may have added cost for Southern Hemisphere programs, as that starts a new academic year.


Total Expected Billed by Lake Forest College


ISEP Confirmation and Application Fees


ISEP-required health and repatriation insurance (estimated, $90/mo)

Note: Some countries require national insurance, which may be instead of, or in addition to, ISEP insurance. Check ISEP


Additional Meals


Estimated Airfare

*Students placed on ISEP Exchange may be eligible for up to $750 airfare award


Estimated Personal Expenses (passport, visas, immunizations, textbooks, supplies, personal expenses, additional national insurance if required, travel insurance, additional travel etc.)


Total Expected Out-of-Pocket Expenses




Tuition rates and program fees are subject to change each year, but this information was up-to-date as of February 2019. We will notify applicants, and update this page if the program fee or other estimates change.

You can discuss with Financial Aid your specific aid package and your expected family contribution.

Deposits to other programs, if required, are paid by the student to the host program, and will appear as a credit on your study abroad term bill from the College.

Keep in mind that you may spend more or less in certain areas like personal expenses, travel, meals, or airfare, depending on exchange rates and your own spending habits. Classroom or lab fees are not included in this estimate and will depend on your course registration choices.  

Don’t forget to apply for scholarships! A great listing can be found here.  

  • Contact:

    For Questions About the Initial Application Process:

    Alexandra Olson
    Coordinator of the Global Engagement Office