PORTLAND, Maine — For college students who have dreamed of studying amid the souks (markets) and mosques of Morocco, now’s your chance.
The University of New England in Biddeford last Friday signed an agreement that will allow the school to open a campus next year at the American School of Tangier.
“U.S. policymakers have been struggling to reach out to the Arab and Muslim worlds,” Anouar Majid, associate provost for global initiatives, said in a press release issued Monday. “We at UNE have decided to live up to our ideals and invest in friendship. Our presence in Tangier, the meeting point of Europe, Africa and the Arab world, will build trust and allow our students to discover multiple cultures and languages at once.”
The program is offered at no additional cost to University of New England students, who can choose to spend a semester or a full academic year in Morocco. They can choose to live on campus or with host families while taking courses in the sciences, humanities and languages, according to the press release.
It is the school’s first overseas campus although it does offer programs in Seville, Spain, a school official said Monday.
Morocco was chosen in part because it is a crossroads of civilizations and languages. Cultures including Phoenician, Muslim, European, Arab, Berber and African have met there to create a society that is famous for cuisine, hospitality and more, according to the release.
Students there should be well-placed to examine issues including water scarcity, the future of energy and tensions between Islam and the west.
The new campus will be within walking distance of downtown Tangier, the Mediterranean Sea, beaches, hotels and cultural activities.
“UNE is preparing students to be innovators, leaders and problem-solvers in our increasingly global society,” President Danielle Ripich of the university said. “By establishing a presence in … Tangier, we are creating the cultural and educational opportunities that make this possible.”
Other Maine universities have well-established overseas programs, including the American University in Bulgaria, which is affiliated with the University of Maine. It was the first fully accredited university in Eastern Europe when it opened its doors in 1991, according to the website of the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center at the University of Maine.
For information, visit www.une.edu.