Students enrolled in the Learn & Serve program take two academic courses (3 credits each): Tunisian Society and Culture and colloquial Tunisian Arabic. Both courses are intensive during the first two weeks and continuing on a less intensive basis throughout the remaining three weeks. This program includes lectures, seminars, and site visits based in Tunis. During the first portion of the program, classes take place at the AMIDEAST Tunis office in the Les Jardins district of the city, a short commute from the host family students will stay with while in Tunis. During the service portion, classes will take place in Tunis and Rimmel/Bizerte, less than an hour north of Tunis.
Upon arrival in Tunis, Learn & Serve program students participate in a one-and- a half day orientation designed as an introduction to Tunisian culture and daily life and the logistics of the program. The orientation combines structured informational sessions with organized activities. Topics such as safety and health, family life in Tunisia, cultural adjustment, program regulations, participant responsibilities and other essential information are all discussed during orientation. An essential part of the orientation is the beginning of colloquial Tunisian Arabic classes.
Accommodation and Meals
Learn: During the first two weeks of the program and during the fourth week of the program, students will live with a Tunisian host family, partnered with one other AMIDEAST student. Host families will provide students with three meals per day. While on the road during the four-day trip to the Tunisian South, participants are lodged in hotels and spend one night in a desert camp in the Saharan sands. All meals are covered during travel days.
Serve: While volunteering in the Rimmel/Bizerte area of Tunisia, students will live at the Centre de Jeunesse camp and all meals will be provided.
Learn: Students visit major points of interest in day trips from their hotel in the Les Jardin district of Tunis. These include the site of ancient Carthage; the village of Sidi Bou Said overlooking the Gulf of Tunis; the old city of Tunis, known simply as the Medina; the Bardo Museum, famous for its Punic objects and Roman mosaics; and the American World War II War Cemetery. Evenings are mostly free and students can spend time on their own exploring downtown Tunis, the medina, and the seaside suburbs.
There will also be a four-day road trip to the Sahara Desert, reaching as far as the oasis of Ksar el Ghilaine, where students spend the night in tents and ride camels to a small Roman fort. The trip includes stops at Kairouan, the capital of early Islam in North Africa; Sbeitla, a large Roman site at the edge of the Empire and location of important battles between Byzantine and Arab forces in the 600s; the big oasis at Tozeur, known for its dates; Douz, a small town where the Sahara begins; the hilltop and troglodyte villages in the southern Berber-speaking region which inspired the Star Wars films; and Djerba, where an age-old Jewish community lives side by side with Tunisia’s outpost of the Islamic Ibadi sect.
Serve: During the service portion of the program, students will spend time in both Tunis and Rimell (near Bizerte, northwest of Tunis). Students will travel to the Rimmel/Bizerte area on two separate occasions: once to volunteer at a day-camp for disabled students and again to volunteer at an overnight camp with Acess students. The disabled students will come together at the Centre de Jeunesse in Rimmel from a variety of special schools around Tunisia.
Students in Tunisia receive an AMIDEAST grade report which indicates letter grades and credit received. One grade report will be sent to your university and one will remain at the AMIDEAST office in Washington, D.C. Alternatively, students in Tunisia can request (for an additional fee) a transcript issued by AMIDEAST's Institution of Record, Northeastern University.