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Preparing for Independent Study Projects (ISPs)

An integral part of all Dragons’ programs is the Independent Study Projects (or ISPs for short). ISPs allow each student to go in-depth and pursue a topic of interest that they are passionate about. This can connect to a hobby of yours back home, or it could be something that you’ve never explored before.

The iteam has been busy brainstorming potential topics that integrate well in our itinerary, reflect the multiple facets of the country, and are connected with local cultures, identities, and current issues. Take a look at the list below as a starting point, and also feel free to dream up your own ideas.

This should NOT be a research assignment primarily pursued through books, articles, or the internet, which you could do at home.  Instead, this should be an experiential, hand-on, interactive project tailored to you and your interests. Of course it can include some limited internet or book research, but should primarily be interactive.

Steps to take now:

1) Before getting too specific or reading the below list, first brainstorm big-picture topics that you are interested in, like: religion (Islam), women’s issues, development, migration, tourism, etc.  Then, start to narrow down your interest to answer a specific question. Actually, the most successful projects are often very specific. Topics that are too broad are usually not successful.

2) Look through the below list, do some initial research in books or online, and narrow your interests to three or four possible specific topics.  Once we get in country the instructors will talk to you about your topics and help you decide on the topic you want to pursue.

3) For most projects, you will be connected with a local mentor who will demonstrate or teach you the topic.  However, some projects can be more independently directed, for example, phographing the rural and urban divide in Morocco.  For that type of ISP, you may not have a local mentor, so you will need to be a lot more organized and self-directed.


Religion & Philosophy

  • Women’s Role in Islam
  • Peace in Islam
  • Islam as practiced by the Amazigh vs. Arabs
  • The History of Islam in Morocco
  • Concepts of Death in Islam
  • Marabout Shrines and Pilgrimages


  • Desertification
  • Water Availability
  • High Atlas Mountain Irrigation
  • Geology and Geography of Morocco
  • Impact of Tourism on the Environment


  • Education of Rural Women
  • Teaching of Berber Language in the School Systems
  • Literacy
  • Systems of Education (comparitive)


  • The Practice of Polygamy
  • Marriage Rituals and Arranged Marriages
  • The Effect of Men Living Abroad to Make Money
  • The Perception of Family: A Cross-Cultural Study
  • Women’s Role in Families
  • Parental Child Dynamics in Families
  • Berber Family Dynamics


  • Moroccan Kings: Mohammed V and Hassan II
  • International relations with the US/West/Israel/Middle East
  • Berber Rights and Representation in Government
  • Islamist Politics
  • Government Institutions


  • Pottery/Ceramics
  • Brass Work
  • Silver Work
  • Dance
  • Cooking
  • Rug Weaving
  • Gnauan Music
  • Jewelry Making
  • North African Drumming
  • Islamic Art and Architecture

Population, Gender and Social Issues

  • Veiling
  • The Moroccan Youth and/or connection with Social Media
  • Women in the Workplace in Morocco
  • Opportunities and Daily Lives of Rural vs. Urban Women
  • Unemployment Issues
  • Migration Issues


  • Arab Conquest
  • French Conquest
  • Saharan Trade Routes
  • The Monarchy
  • Morocco and the Arab Spring


  • Community Service in Morocco
  • Sustainable Development Initiatives
  • Solar Power (for example, Noor Power Plant)
  • Women’s’ Cooperatives
  • Agriculture
  • Methods of Transportation
  • Role of Tourism in Development

Health and Sports

  • Moroccan Health Clinics
  • Nutrition
  • Sanitation
  • Traditional Medicine
  • Sports


  • The Art of Bargaining
  • Berber Traditions
  • Traditional Mud Homes
  • Henna
  • The Hand of Fatima
  • Berber Folklore
  • Hollywood Movies Filmed in Morocco
  • The Musical Landscape of Morocco
  • Culture of Reading in Morocco
  • Moroccan Dress
  • Working Animals of Morocco


  • Tamazight
  • Arabic and Arabic Script
  • French
  • Idioms