January Islamic Civilization in History: France, Morocco, & Spain

Gap Year Friendly

Tour two continents in two and a half weeks!

Trade the winter blues for the Mediterranean sun and sea this January! Study the history of Islamic civilization in Europe and experience the vibrant diversity of 10 cities, three countries, and two continents. This program is more than your typical study abroad experience – it offers you a unique lens to compare and contrast France, Morocco, and Spain. Come away with an enhanced perspective of these cultures and your own. The program offers several courses in a variety of subjects, so you can choose the one that works best for you.

What to Expect:

  • Language: English
  • Average Courseload: 1 course (3 U.S. credits)
  • GPA Requirement: 2.5


  • Curated experience across three countries and 10 cities in just 17 days
  • Learn a variety of subjects with world-renowned lecturers
  • Guided travels for deep insight
  • Explore Europe and Africa through a whole new lens
  • All intra-country travel included once you're abroad

Program Details

IAU College

IAU College, a not-for-profit institution of higher education, has been operating study abroad programs for US college and university students since 1957. IAU College has received students from more than 700 colleges and universities, with over 20,000 participants over its long history. The oldest and largest American institute in southern France, IAU College has recently expanded program offerings outside of France to compare and contrast the languages, cultures, landscapes, and contemporary issues within and between broader European and African locations and contexts.

With operation bases in both the US and France, as well as staff and faculty who travel to and research throughout much of Europe and Africa, IAU College’s programs offer a unique cross-cultural perspective. While proud of their French foundation, IAU College are equally enthusiastic about their multi-disciplinary and comparative multi-country study abroad programs. Through intensive study, travel, and reflection, IAU College’s thematic traveling programs allow students to gain leaps and bounds personally, academically, socially, and culturally. IAU College continually strives to deliver on its mission of providing “an international education that inspires intercultural awareness and prepares students for responsible roles in a global community through the study of European and Mediterranean history, languages, cultures, and contemporary issues.”

CIS Abroad is proud to collaborate with IAU College to offer this unique “traveling seminar” or travel-study program.

Accreditation(s): IAU College (formerly the Institute for American Universities) holds an Absolute Charter awarded by the Regents of the State University of New York, is registered with the French Ministry of Education and recognized by the Recteur of the Université d’Aix-Marseille.

Areas of study with fewer than 3 classes available

  • Art & Design
  • Humanities

Don't see your major listed here? There may still be courses available. Browse our programs by major.

Course descriptions and catalog:

The following are the expected courses for January 2022:

Art History 395: Classical Islam and the European Renaissance
Cross Cultural Studies 395: Jews, Muslims and Christians in Europe and the Islamic World
French 395: Cultural History of France and the Islamic World
History 395: Cultural History of Europe and the Islamic World
Political Science 395: European Politics and the Islamic World
Spanish 395: Cultural History of Spain and the Islamic World

For details or syllabi, please contact us.

Helpful information:
You will be notified of what courses you are registered for approximately a month before the beginning of your program.

Why Life in Marrakesh, Rabat, Tangier, Granada, Seville, Aix-en-Provence, and Paris

Explore Europe and Africa on this life-changing trip. North Africa beckons, starting in Marrakesh, a lively city with sprawling marketplaces located near the Atlas Mountains. With Saharan trade routes nearby, the city has cultural influences from the mountain Berber people and Sub-Saharan Africa. From Marrakesh, you’ll travel for a day trip to beautiful Casablanca. Morocco’s largest city, Casablanca is also a leading economic center for North Africa. Dive deeper into Moroccan culture in Rabat, the country’s capital. Rabat is considered to be the nation’s political center, and it’s home to the king of Morocco’s main royal residence. Stay overnight in Tangier before traveling onward to Europe.

Head to Spain with a stop in Granada, located at the bottom of the Sierra Nevada mountain range and home to the Alhambra, one of the most well-known Andalusian palaces. Zip over to Córdoba, a city near the Mediterranean with fascinating history and architecture, to visit a Mosque. Then make your last visit in Spain to Seville, a city with Roman heritage blended with Muslim and Spanish influence.

Fly to France and visit Aix-en-Provence, a picturesque university town brimming with festivals, gorgeous architecture, and winding streets. Take a day trip to Marseille, the second largest city in France located along its southern coast. An economic and cultural powerhouse, Marseille is a key point of trade in the Mediterranean. Finally, Paris brings you a romantic atmosphere, rich history, and incredible influence on fashion, design, art, cuisine, and culture to wrap up your time in Europe.


Live La Vida Local

  • Vibrant Markets in Morocco

    Expect a bit of a sensory overload in the vibrant, traditional markets of Morocco! A long-standing institutions in the Arab world, markets are a place of gathering, socializing, trading and selling - a great place to observe cultural norms. Wind your way through a labyrinth of unique sights, sounds, and smells, with goods ranging from local textiles to electronics and everything in between.

  • Spain: The Last Moorish Outpost in Europe

    While the Moors were pushed out of mainland Europe through the Iberian Peninsula over 500 years ago, their legacy lives on in the form of elaborate mosques like that of Cordoba, the impressive fortress of Alhambra, and the royal palace, or Alcazar, in Seville. Moorish and more contemporary Arabic and Islamic influences in Spain include language (many words that start with "al" such as "almohada" or "pillow"), cuisine, and ethnic makeup.

  • French-North African Overlaps Abound

    As a former colonizer of northern Africa, France's influence in language, food, and culture is abundant in Morocco. It is perhaps partially due to the shared heritage that many North Africans seek refuge and economic opportunities in France, resulting in increasing diversity in French communities.

Housing for your program


Housing will be shared rooms with up to four people per room. Students will stay at hotels, hostels, student dorms, and/or homestays in each location. Daily breakfast will be included.

Inclusions and Amenities

  • MealsBreakfast

What's Included


Program fees are in US dollars and include the following:

  • Breakfast daily and most dinners
  • Travel between destinations
  • Housing in locations
  • Entrance fees to all museums and guest lecture venues
  • In France: head to Paris, Marseille, and Aix-en-Provence
  • In Morocco: visit Marrakesh, Casablanca, Rabat, and Tangier
  • In Spain: go to Seville, Granada, Marbella, and Cordoba
  • IAU college official transcript
  • Tuition and fees
  • Medical and accident insurance
  • CIS Abroad support before, during, and after the program
  • Academic advising
  • Financial aid counseling
  • Assistance with travel arrangements
  • Pre-departure orientation
  • On-site orientation
  • All program-related travel (except round-trip airfare from the US)

Welcome & Orientation

This whirlwind of a January “traveling seminar” study abroad program allows for the perfect blend of guided activities, field courses and independent study and free time during our exploration of some amazing and diverse locations. With everybody gathered in Paris, we’ll start with a comprehensive orientation. We’ll cover local topics such as culture and language, as well as rules, regulations, guidelines, and expectations of the program in general. Because the program will keep you moving from one location to another, program leaders and local guides will introduce you to your ever-changing surroundings, providing a “lay of the land” in the form of lectures and city tours.

Farewell & Re-Entry Program

Adios! Au revoir! After an eye-opening and intensive travel-study program, it may be hard to bid adieu to your new friends and all the places and people you’ve come across. You’ll enjoy one final meal together to reflect on all that you’ve seen and done, exchange contact details, and thank your professor and program leader. Keep reflecting, keep in touch with those on your program, and let us know how we can provide you with outlets to keep re-living your formative experience abroad. Our preferred outlet: go again! (You’ll get a discount for doing so!) We’ll share tips about how to verbalize your experience in things like job interviews so you can capitalize on your profoundly transformative study abroad experience.

Your Support Staff

CIS Abroad Advising & Support
Travel Tip:

You’ll be supported every step of the way!

Global Advising

Our advising team will help match you with a program that fits your academic and personal needs. Once you have selected your program our advisor will help you complete your Online Application.

Program Enrollment

Once you’ve started your application and submitted the $90 deposit, you’ll be assigned a program enrollment coordinator who will guide you through the enrollment process to get you abroad!

Carl Jubran
Travel Tip:

Participation is very important. I can’t impress upon you how crucial participation is. And it’s not just passive participation in terms of standing in one of the sites and observing or taking notes, but it’s also processing what you see and being able to explain it to one another.

Dates & Prices

ADVISOR TIP: Please WAIT to book flights until you have received confirmed dates in your acceptance paperwork. Dates posted here are subject to change.

  • Application Deadline: Oct 1 (Estimated)
  • Arrival: December 28 (Estimated)
  • Departure: January 14 (Estimated)
  • Price: $6,290 (Estimated)
Additional Information:

As with all study abroad programs, you should count on a few additional expenses.

CIS Abroad reserves the right to alter fees at any time due to currency fluctuations and/or fee changes made by our partner universities.