If you do not find the answer to your question here or elsewhere on the website, please feel free to contact us by using the link above or at the bottom of the page.
1. Do I need to be enrolled in a university to study at AALIM? No. Anyone over the age of 18 with an interest in Arabic is welcome to study at the AALIM Institute; there is no upper age limit. Contact us for information on programs for students under 18. Some students enroll as part of an organized university group, but individual applicants at any level are welcome.
2. Can I get university credit for my time at AALIM? Yes, but it is the student's responsibility to arrange the details with his or her home institution before coming to the program. Your study abroad office can provide the information you need and AALIM will gladly provide them with any information they request for granting you credit (such as a list of textbooks used, teacher qualifications, number of contact hours, syllabi, etc.)
4. What's included in the cost? A complete list is found on the page describing the program. Among other services, AALIM's fees include the academic program, lodging (double occupancy) and two meals a day. Many things that other language programs may bill separately are already included in our basic fee.
5. Does AALIM offer financial aid? AALIM is a private institution whose aim is to provide high quality language instruction at the most reasonable cost possible to all students. AALIM has maintained its prices for the past five years in an attempt to make the programs available to the largest number of students. For this reason, we are very rarely able to offer any scholarship support, and only to highly-qualified students during the academic year. Unfortunately, no scholarship money is available for summer programs. Please see our list of other possible funding sources by clicking on the italicized words.
6. Can I use other grants to study at AALIM? Yes. Please see funding sources page.
7. Will my class run? Once you have been accepted for an AALIM program, your class will run even if the minimum enrollment has not been reached. However, AALIM reserves the right to decrease the number of class hours in the event of enrollment below the minimum. If only 3 students are in the class, class hours are reduced by 25% and if only 1 or 2 students are in the class, class hours may be reduced by 50%. AALIM also reserves the right to modify the class content in other ways.
8. How do I get to the AALIM institute? The AALIM Institute is located in the heart of Morocco, in Meknes. Regularly scheduled flights serve several Moroccan airports. Most American students arrive at the Casablanca airport, flying directly from New York or with a change of planes in Europe. Many American funding sources require students to travel on US carriers or code-shares. If you are part of a group for which transportation has been arranged by your group organizer, you will be met at the airport by an AALIM staff member. On the Sunday morning before the first day of the summer session, AALIM offers a special bus rate of $50 per person (for AALIM students only) from the Casablanca airport to Meknes; the fee can be paid in dollars or dirhams, to the representative meeting the group. You must arrive on a flight landing before 10 am to take this bus, which leaves by noon. A seat must be reserved in advance after acceptance to the program.
If you wish, you may use public transportation to travel to Meknes by train from the Casablanca airport (the website of the national rail system is www.oncf.ma). There is one easy change of trains in the Casa Voyageurs station. The airport spur of this train route does not operate between 10 pm and 6 am; we do not advise traveling late at night, particularly if you are alone. We do advise that you pay the small supplement for a first class ticket–it is more comfortable and considered safer.
Metered taxis are available at the train station in Meknes; the train station closest to the AALIM center is Meknes Al-Amir station. This is the first station in Meknes when arriving from Rabat or Casablanca, but not all trains stop there. There is more train service to the main Meknes station, Meknes Ville, which you will reach minutes after the Al-Amir station.
9. Are other services available, which are not included in the fees? Some cultural activities not scheduled in the regular AALIM language program may be offered at a supplementary cost.
10. Are there any other costs I should know about? AALIM charges no registration fees or administrative fees. All prices include tax and there are no additional fees. However, a $500 service fee will be charged for cancellation less than 2 weeks before the program for reasons other than medical. Additionally, a $100 service charge will be deducted from the fees paid by any student canceling for medical reasons before the beginning of the program. Students leaving the program early for other than medical reasons will not receive a refund. Students leaving the program early for medical reasons will be charged a prorated fee based on the time they were in the program. Any refunds are made in US dollars after the end of the program.
11. How do I pay my fees? Please mail a check to our US address (address provided upon acceptance) if you have applied and been accepted. AALIM does not accept credit cards at this time. If you need to use an alternate form of payment, such as a money wire, please contact us.
12. What about a Moroccan visa? If you travel on an American passport, you do not need a visa for a stay less than 3 months. If you do not hold an American passport or if you plan to stay in the country for more than 3 months, please check with the Moroccan authorities concerning visa requirements: http://www.moroccanconsulate.com/visa.cfm. AALIM will provide a letter of invitation and enrollment to facilitate the visa process, but the student is responsible for acquiring the visa and for paying any fees associated with it.
13. Do I need to register my trip with the US State Department? Yes. It is the student's responsibility to register his or her trip with the US State Department, which can be done before leaving home via the State Department website: https://step.state.gov/step/pages/common/citizenship.aspx. In addition, the State Department provides country-specific information on Morocco and travel-related questions at the following site: https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/country/morocco.html.
14. Are there special vaccinations I need to get? AALIM recommends that your vaccinations be up to date and that you consult a physician or travel nurse before leaving home to make sure you have taken necessary precautions. If you take any kind of medication on a regular basis, please bring a sufficient quantity for your stay in Morocco. If you may need an epi-pen, bring it with you and be aware that they are not available in Morocco. If you have a life-threatening allergy you must inform AALIM (this will not affect your acceptance; medical information is gathered after acceptance).
15. What kind of lodging does AALIM include in the fees? AALIM offers family home stay accommodations, generally 2 students per host family. Rooms are double occupancy (single occupancy may be available for a supplementary cost).
16. Is there a swimming pool? AALIM does not have a swimming pool. There are several nearby private swimming pools open to the public for a daily use fee. Some local gyms also have swimming pools but require a membership of a month or more.
17. Can I cook my own meals? There are no facilities for daily student cooking at the AALIM institute; the use of kitchens in the home-stays is at the discretion of the host family. Two meals per day are included in the program fees and there is no reduction in price if you do not eat the provided meals.
18. What should I bring with me? Loose, comfortable, conservative clothing. Good walking shoes. Your textbooks and personal study material (notebook, pen, your computer or a tablet if you wish). Bring ANY medication you take on a regular basis or may need during your stay; bring enough for your entire stay. Some medications, even common ones, are not readily available in Morocco. Bring your ATM card with a four-digit international PIN number to obtain cash for personal expenses. Alert your bank that you will be using your card in Morocco (and elsewhere if you plan to visit other countries during your trip abroad). Plan to purchase shampoo and toiletries once you arrive if you do not bring them with you. Plan to purchase a towel if you do not bring one with you. You may wish to bring a small gift for your host family.
19. What about trips and excursions other than those AALIM includes in the program? Six-week program fees include 2 excursions in Meknes and 2 one-day trips outside Meknes, one to the Roman ruins of Volubilis and Moulay Idriss, and one to another nearby city such as Rabat, Asilah, etc. If you wish to travel elsewhere during your free time, AALIM can arrange trips at a supplemental cost, and we are happy to advise students at no cost if they wish to travel on their own.
20. Is it safe to travel alone? In general, Morocco is a safe country. AALIM encourages students to use common sense: use the buddy system and situational awareness. Remain vigilant of your personal belongings. Our staff will be happy to answer your questions and advise you about avoiding difficult situations when you travel. In accordance with State Department guidelines, AALIM advises students to try their best to blend in and not draw undue attention to themselves by loud behavior or inappropriate clothing, stay in well-lit popular areas but avoid places catering uniquely to tourists. Avoid carrying large sums of money or wearing expensive jewelry. AALIM has a security plan and provides students with contact information for the American Embassy. Ensuring students have a safe, fun and education experience is our highest priority.
21. What if I get sick? It is not uncommon for travelers to suffer minor illnesses, particularly stomach upsets. Medical care in Morocco's large cities is excellent, though the doctor-patient relationship may be more formal than you are used to.
All medical expenses are the student's individual responsibility and must be paid at the time of service. You will receive a receipt which you can turn in to your insurance company. If the student requires attention at a clinic or hospital, AALIM will accompany the student, but the student must pay the medical costs involved. If the student requires medical evacuation, AALIM will work with his or her family and insurance company to facilitate that, but all students must carry medical evacuation insurance valid for the duration of their program.
If a student is ill enough to require medical attention but refuses a doctor, Moroccan law requires that AALIM call a doctor for him or her, and the costs of the doctor's visit are the student's responsibility. (A doctor's visit generally costs less than $50). If a student refuses medical attention on religious grounds, a notarized statement to that effect must be provided with the paperwork before traveling to Morocco.
22. How can I stay in touch with my family and friends back home? The best way to stay in touch is via e-mail and internet (Skype, WhatsApp, Zoom, etc.). Wifi is available at the AALIM center during business hours for students with their own wireless devices. There are also many "internet cafes" where students may rent computer time at a very reasonable rate, and these are often open late into the night. If you want a telephone, you may either go to a "teleboutique" or buy a local cell phone, or in some cases, have the SIM card in your own phone changed so it will function in Morocco. The local no-contract phones receive calls at no cost at the receiving end, even if they have no call credit remaining. When you are accepted into one of our programs, AALIM will provide you with an emergency contact number that your family may use to reach you if the need arises, and AALIM will, if possible, transmit urgent messages sent by e-mail from a student's family.