University of Oregon

Service-Learning in Spain and Morocco: Immigration, Nationalism and Border Politics

Program Overview

This Service-Learning program is designed to give students a firsthand look at the immigration challenges and border politics that face Spain and Northern Africa. Students will participate in the spring semester program in Segovia and will complete their Service-Learning placement with the local branch of the Red Cross working to provide support to the immigrant population in Segovia. At the end of the Segovia portion of the program, students will travel as a group through southern Spain to the Port of Algerciras (Cádiz) where they will experience the trip by ferry from Spain to Tangiers, Morocco. The last month of the program will be spent in Fes, Morocco, continuing the Service-Learning experience with another local branch of the Red Cross (Red Crescent) working to provide aid to sub-Saharan refugees and immigrants. 

Your Spanish Language skills will quickly progress in the impressively historical and picturesque city of Segovia, while still being only 25 minutes by high-speed train from Spain’s capital, Madrid. Courses are held at the GEO Center with other American students from all over the US.  In Morocco, you will learn Colloquial Moroccan Arabic in Fes where you will hear many similarities to Spanish vocabulary. Fes is the second largest city in Morocco and is home to the world’s largest car-free urban area, the old Medina. The Service-Learning coursework will continue during your time in Fes with a local expert in immigration and sociology. 

Watch this great video of an Arabic Speaker and a Spanish Speaker discovering the many common sounds of their native language:

Academic Details

You will enroll in a required Service-Learning seminar that will meet once a week for the duration of the program in Segovia and in Fes. The course will be taught in Spanish in Segovia and in Spanish and English in Morocco. Additionally, you will select two or three courses taught at the GEO Center in Segovia to accompany your Service-Learning experience. These courses will be taught in Spanish and cover topics such as European studies, history, literature, Spanish culture, art history and more. 

You will also enroll in a two-credit survival Moroccan Arabic (Darija) course at the beginning of your time in Fes. All courses offered are recognized and approved for academic credit by various GEO partner institutions. Actual credit awarded is determined by the relevant department at your university in consultation with the study abroad office. Check with your study abroad advisor for more information, in particular how many contact hours are required for Service-Learning credits.

Service Learning

Students will be placed in a Service-Learning experience that will give them the opportunity to learn about immigration, migration, border issues and nationalism in Spain and Morocco. Students will be placed with local branches of the Red Cross in Segovia and the Red Crescent in Fes and will work to assist immigrants or refugees in both locations with things like re-settlement, medical resources, language acquisition, and distributing food supplies.

Faculty and Staff

Instructor in Segovia:

Natalia Morales: Natalia has degrees in Bilingual Education (French and English) from the University of Valladolid.  She holds degrees in Tourism and Office Administration from other accredited institutions in Segovia. She has been teaching for 12 years.  She specializes in teaching language and culture to immigrants and foreign students. 

Instructor in Fes: 

Kais Marzouk El Ouariachi is professor of sociology at Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah university, Fes, where he has taught urban sociology, sociology of international migrations, institutional studies, educational sociology and research methods in sociology.  Prof. El Ouariachi has also been a visiting professor in at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes des Sciences Sociales in Paris, France, the Universities of Granada, Murcia, the Baleares Islands, and Complutense University of Madrid, Spain. Prof. El Ouariachi has also worked with several associations dealing with Moroccan immigration in Spain, Holland and Germany and has undertaken action-research aiming at improving living and integration conditions of immigrants in their host and home countries.

Housing Description

Housing in Segovia is designed to help you experience the local culture of Spain and to improve the speed of language acquisition while living with a host family. Daily interactions with the host family afford cultural nuances that could otherwise be overlooked. Homestays in Segovia are carefully selected to fit your needs and requests. Homestays are located within walking distance of the GEO center and classrooms or near local bus lines. You are rarely placed in a home with another student, but if that is the case, you both will always have your own private room with a shared bathroom. Linens, towels and light laundry are provided by your host. Immerse yourself into the daily life and routine of the household and experience Spanish cuisine and food culture as host families prepare all of your meals. Culturally, mealtimes in Spain are a very important time for family and are very pleasant occasions.

In Morocco, you will be placed with a Moroccan host family. Host placements may vary from extended families living in the medieval medina, to nuclear families living in the nineteenth/twentieth century Ville Nouvelle. All offer the opportunity to be truly immersed in Moroccan daily life. Students will either be in single bedrooms or share a double room with another student. All meals are provided. Host families are carefully screened and matched with student preferences and needs, but students should be prepared for many differences in diet and lifestyle. Living with a Moroccan family provides a unique opportunity to participate in family, community, cultural and recreational activities during your stay in Morocco. 

Many cherish their homestay experience as one of the most rewarding aspects of their study abroad experience and remain lifelong friends with their host families.

Additional Requirements

Students will need to obtain a student visa for Spain. Please contact Elizabeth Abbasi with any questions about the visa process:

Dates and Deadlines

TermYearPriority DeadlineFinal DeadlineArrival DateDeparture Date
Spring Semester20188/15/20179/15/20171/5/20185/13/2018

Priority Discounts

If your program has a Priority Deadline, complete all pre-decision application materials by this date to receive a $100 credit toward your program fee. Please note, students participating in multiple summer programs are only eligible to receive the $100 credit once.

Note: this $100 discount does not apply to priority deadlines for SIT programs.

Course Equivalencies

Actual credit awarded is determined by the relevant department at your university in consultation with the study abroad office. Check with your study abroad advisor for more information.

UO students, please refer to the UO Course Equivalency Process and the UO Office of the Registrar Course Equivalency Database.