ALIF resources include an extensive library collection focusing on Arabic linguistics, the Maghreb, Islamic Art and Architecture, and Islam. Our library also has a DVD collection with nearly 1000 films that students are welcome to borrow. The ALIF/ALC Bookstore has a superb collection of books related to Morocco and the Arab world. In addition to language courses, ALIF offers cultural tours, lectures, and classes on Maghrebi literature, media, and Islam. Private courses in any number of subject areas can be arranged. The modest ALIF tuition and low cost of living in Morocco render ALIF a cost-effective alternative for the study of Arabic abroad.
Classes at ALIF are conducted in a large Moorish-style villa surrounded by an oasis-like setting of date palms, olive trees and rosemary shrubs. The tranquil residential neighborhood is away from the hubbub of downtown but within easy walking distance of a variety of restaurants and cafes. The ALIF Riad, located in the Batha area of the Fes medina, is a beautiful traditional courtyard house and garden. The Riad is a student study center and and a setting for ALIF cultural activities.
ALIF has a specialized library focusing on Arabic, North African, and Islamic studies, as well as a large collection of DVDs in Arabic, Darija, and English. The ALIF kiosk offers inexpensive meals and various refreshments, such as traditional Moroccan mint tea.
ALIF shares its classrooms and grounds with a large, well-established English language school, the American Language Center (ALC-Fez). This provides an ideal environment for interacting with Moroccan university students. ALIF's facilities include a computer lab equipped with Arabic word-processing software, and a satellite television that receives over fifteen Arabic stations from across the Arab World. The ALIF garden, residence, and Riad have high-speed Wi-Fi internet access for students to use.
The Moroccan faculty at ALIF teaches both Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) and Colloquial Moroccan Arabic (CMA). ALIF's MSA instructors hail from prestigious modern state universities in Morocco, like Mohammed V in Rabat, and traditional institutions such as the Qarawiyyin University, an Islamic institution of higher learning in Fez which ranks with Al-Azhar in Cairo as one of the oldest universities in the world. The rigorous grammatical training imparted at the Qarawiyyin University produces MSA instructors of exceptional caliber whose grasp of the structure and vocabulary of the Arabic language would be hard to duplicate even in the foremost western universities.
In teaching CMA, ALIF's instructors have developed a highly interactive teaching approach designed to get students conversing almost immediately with native speakers in a variety of increasingly challenging topics of discussion. ALIF's language coordinator is also one of the few CMA experts worldwide certified by the Educational Testing Service of Princeton to administer oral examinations in Moroccan Arabic.
Course Descriptions at ALIF
Medersa Bou Inania in Fes, Morocco
ALIF offers intensive Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) and Colloquial Moroccan Arabic (CMA) courses throughout the year. To ensure that every student gets individual attention, all ALIF courses are kept small, generally no more than eight students per class. In the summer the there may be up to twelve students per class.Most courses consist of six-week sessions (120 hours of classroom instruction given four hours per day). Special content-based courses are six weeks in length (three hours of instruction per day). Private or specialized lessons can also be arranged. Students may enroll for the first three weeks of any six-week course, but must indicate this clearly on their application forms. The language of instruction is Arabic in all but the most elementary courses, where the use of English is kept to a minimum.
The core textbooks for regular six-week MSA courses are Alif Baa (3rd edition) & Al-Kitaab fii Ta'allum al-'Arabiyya, Volumes I (3rd edition), II and III (2nd edition, Georgetown University Press). All course materials for CMA are ALIF publications.
Enrollment & Placement
Students are requested to indicate their preferred course and level on their application, but are required to complete the ALIF Placement Test before arrival. The Arabic language coordinator may adjust placement according to the student's Arabic ability. The language coordinator may also conduct an oral interview for placement purposes upon arrival.
Any student studying either CMA or MSA outside the framework of the scheduled ALIF courses is considered a private student and may study between two and twenty hours/week. Private students may select from regular ALIF course offerings or request a tailor-made tutorial in a specialized field, such as Arabic Poetry, Advanced Grammar, Islamic Law, Commerce, etc. Advanced students or researchers may request to read specific texts with a private teacher. Private courses are available throughout the year but depend on teacher availability, so it is important for students to submit requests for private study as early as possible. Private instruction is not available during June and July, with the exception of FLAS scholars.