Study Abroad

Study Abroad
Image courtesy of Kyle Longworth.

Undergraduates at the University of Chicago may spend a full quarter studying Middle Eastern Civilizations on location in the Middle East, taught by regular UChicago faculty. Working with the Study Abroad office, NELC administers two programs on location, one in Winter and one in Spring quarter, which allows students to pursue an intensive Middle Eastern Civilization course that fulfills Gen Ed (Core) and/or Major requirements, leads students on day- or overnight-excursions to relevant sites, and arranges for local language study. NELC abroad programs have run in Cairo, Rabat, Istanbul, Vienna, and Granada (Andalucia). 

Rabat Program

The Rabat program is a civilization-based program designed to provide students with the experience of living in a city at the crossroads of three dynamic regions—North Africa, Europe, and the Near East—while undertaking a rigorous academic introduction to Morocco’s roles in regional history. Morocco is a melting pot of cultures, from its pre-historic Amazigh (Berber) ancestry to the conquests of the ancient Romans and Visigoths to its present confluence of European and Arab civilizations, linking the West with the Islamic and Middle-Eastern worlds. At the center of this ten-week program is a three-course sequence that presents a historical and literary introduction to Morocco’s place in history and the modern world. In addition to this sequence, which is taught in English by University of Chicago faculty and meets the College’s civilization requirement, students will also take a fourth course in either beginning Moroccan Colloquial Arabic (known as Darija), or in Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) at the intermediate or advanced level. Excursions to sites of historical interest around Rabat, greater Morocco, and southern Spain will complement your classwork and give you a sense of the region’s rich history, as well as the interplay between its history and current international affairs.

The Morocco program is operated in partnership with AMIDEAST-Rabat, a non-profit educational organization with over 50 years of experience in Rabat and the Middle East, and students will have access to the resources and activities at its center, located in the Agdal neighborhood of the city.


Image courtesy of Ahmed El Shamsy.

Istanbul Program

Note that in Spring 2019 the Istanbul program will be based in Granada, Spain. Faculty will offer a sequence on Islamicate Civilizations in Spain. 

The University of Chicago’s spring quarter Istanbul program provides University of Chicago students with an opportunity to study Middle Eastern Civilizations in one of the world’s most fascinating cities. Known throughout history as Byzantium, Nova Roma, Constantinople, Konstantiniye, and Istanbul, the city is a rich mix of eastern and western cultures straddling two continents. The three-course sequence presents a historical survey of this crossroads of civilization from the ancient period to the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires. As with the University’s other Civilizations programs abroad, these courses will be taught (in English) by three faculty members in intensive three-week segments. The precise topics of each year’s courses are determined by faculty interest and expertise. Classroom work is supplemented by weekly excursions to sites of historical interest in and around Istanbul. Participants also take a fourth course in beginning, intermediate or advanced Turkish, spoken by over 200 million people worldwide. 

The Istanbul program is operated in cooperation with Yildiz Technical University, one of the most prominent educational institutions in Istanbul, and students in the program have access to the resources and activities on its campus