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With a population of about 15,000, Ifrane is a peaceful resort and recreational village in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains. It’s known for French colonial architecture, fresh springs and waterfalls, and a royal palace. Couscous is a favorite meal in local restaurants, and traditional pastries and fresh mint tea are common snacks at sidewalk cafés.
Ifrane is located 120 miles east of Morocco’s capital, Rabat, and 35 miles from the historic imperial cities of Fes and Meknes. These cities are famous for their sacred mosques and colorful Berber inhabitants.
Students study at Al Akhawayn University (AUI), a semi-private, English-speaking school in Ifrane founded by King Hassan II of Morocco and King Fahd of Saudi Arabia. The university resembles an American school in many ways, and about half its faculty members hold American graduate degrees. Yet students also gain a greater understanding of Arab and Muslim culture by studying with Moroccan classmates and traveling to legendary Moroccan locales.
IQP projects address issues of water conservation and alternative agriculture in the Middle Atlas countryside, promoting eco-tourism, developing the artisanal industry in textile weaving and mosaic tiles, restoration of historic Kasbah in Fes and Rabat and Roman ruins at Volubilis, financial support for orphans.
All students take an intensive course on the Arabic language.