VIDEO: UNE Morocco students journey to the Sahara

UNE Morocco students journey to the Sahara

More than 42 students from the University of New England recently traveled to the Sahara Desert, one of many unique travel excursions they are experiencing while studying abroad at UNE’s campus in Tangier, Morocco.

UNE provides opportunities for students to spend a semester or year in Tangier, gaining global experience and immersing themselves in a rich cultural environment. The 42 UNE students currently participating in the program make up the largest cohort of students at the campus to date.

On this trip, students journeyed to the sand dunes near the town of Merzouga in the southeastern part of Morocco. To get there, they took the overnight train to Marrakech; drove through the high Atlas Mountains with its narrow, twisting roads that almost rise to the sky; visited several Berber villages and kasbahs (adobe-built fortified villages and castles); and beheld the stunning Todgha Gorge before arriving at Merzouga the following day.

The students rode camels on the Sahara dunes and, true to cultural heritage, took the opportunity to do some "sandboarding." At night, they sat around a bonfire enjoying a spectacle of gnawa (musicians whose heritage harks back to sub-Saharan Africa). The following day, they rode all-terrain-vehicles (ATVs) on the dunes and watched the sun rise over the Sahara. The students were accompanied by one parent who joined the group for the trip, as well as Douaa Ben Imran, the UNE Tangier Campus Coordinator videographer, who captured the adventure in a short video.

The UNE Morocco program also offers a variety of English-language courses in the sciences and humanities, as well as language study in Arabic with the campus serving as a base from which students can explore the history, beauty and diversity of Morocco. In addition to this adventure to the Sahara, students spending this Fall semester in Tangier have explored the blue city of Chefchaouen, visited the U.S. Embassy in Rabat, spent a long weekend in Marrakech and traveled across the Straits of Gibraltar for an excursion to Seville, Spain. They are also making meaningful connections and contributions to the community in Tangier through volunteering at an orphanage and animal shelter; shadowing at medical, physical therapy and dental clinics and pharmacies; and tutoring and mentoring elementary and high school students.

In addition to its role as a global education site, the UNE Tangier Campus offers educational and cultural initiatives designed to foster international understanding by hosting theatrical productions, musical performances and lectures by leading thinkers from around the globe at the Tangier Global Forum to build connections between citizens of the U.S., Morocco, Europe and beyond.

Watch the video.

 To learn more about UNE Morocco, visit

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