ESTE’s Collaboration with the Global Partner in Education program

Our School of Technology in Essaouira is taking part, as a first Moroccan partner, in an educational Global Understanding program with support of Stevens Initiative. This program is led and organized by East Carolina University (ECU) in USA.

The program provides higher education institutions with an opportunity to collaborate and commit to allowing students to gain a meaningful international education experiences through Global Virtual Exchange. This membership has been initiated thanks to the efforts of Prof. Karima Khalil who is the coordinator of the program and with the cooperation of Prof. Jihane Benmassoud (English teacher) and the technical support Mr. Abdelfettah Mouiguina.

The Global Understanding course is GPE’s Signature Program. Bi-weekly, real-time, student led video conference discussions, chat, and collaborative projects provide high-impact, global experiences that help students build the skills, knowledge, and flexibility necessary to thrive in an interconnected world. Encounters between students can be synchronous or asynchronous to allow students to practice different skills. Our school as a GPE (Global Partner in Education) member started participating in the Global Understanding Course with East Carolina University (ECU).

Therefore, 40 students (2nd year) were selected for the Fall program, from different disciplines like Environmental engineering, Computer Engineering, Tourism, Management and Renewable energy based on their performance.

There is a centralized scheduling, support, and a defined yet flexible Core curriculum which reduces the challenges typically associated with Virtual Exchange.

  • Courses are planned based on students’ academic calendar, taking into consideration holidays and time zone issues.

  • Classes are kept small to encourage student discussion.

  • “Find your Fit” flexible approach allows the course to be offered in any academic program.

  • Academically and administratively independent. Our school enrolls and assess students locally. No tuition or credit is exchanged.


Fall Program and the Student Experience

Starting from October 5th 2020, students have been working with up to Four international partner universities which are respectively East Carolina University in the USA, Carpathian State College, Krosno in Poland, Ryukoku University and Shimane University in Japan for approximately 3 – 4 weeks each. During that time, groups “link” via videoconference six times. On a typical linking class day, half of the students are in a group video conference and the other half are in individual text chat with their assigned partners to discuss the topic of the day. Group discussions give students a broader sense of diversity surrounding the topics, while the individual chats give more personal in-depth perspectives. Over the 3-4 weeks working with every partner institution, students discuss a set progression of topics and work on collaborative projects together.



Students discuss the same broad topics with each of their sets of partners. This allows students to more easily understand the similarities and differences between the groups they work with. Topics are broad so conversations can be tailored to the interests of students. Topics build in terms of gravity, so students have an opportunity to build rapport before having to discuss more sensitive topics as the following:

  1. introductions
  2. college life
  3. family and cultural traditions
  4. meaning of life and religion
  5. stereotypes and prejudice



After our first participation in the Global Understanding Course, Students showed significant increases in cultural competencies, intercultural communication, and collaboration skills. Besides, during the process of the program students were better at understanding both themselves and their place in the world, respecting and effectively collaborating with individuals from diverse cultures, and developing intercultural communication skills.


Students Quotes 

Hamza bouhali « yesterday I couldn't talk to a completely strangers person but today I can express everything in my mind  »

Mohammed Oussama Fadel « it was an outstanding experience, I managed to learn a lot and practice my english as well. »

Badreddine Belkadi « Amazing experience, I will definitely join again »

Bajjouk wafaa « It's an amazing experience, I learned a lot and I'm ready to share more interesting things »

Yassine Sadik « I really loved the experience and I learned so many things about a foreign culture »

ismail hamdach « I loved this experience, i learned a lot, i meet i new people with different culture, and i used to think that's the American people are different but i found them, just like us, a normal people, kind. and I learned to practice my English as well. »

Sabbaji soukaina « its one golden experience, its amazing how much we could share and learn through it »

Ilyas msafar « it was an amazing cultural experience, i learned alot and I'm grateful for the opportunity »

Ilhame Ouardi  « it was a very rewarding experience, it helped me gain a wider cultural and social perspective »

Balhan wafa: « I loved the experience I had the chance to know more my partner we talked and laughed it was great »

Majida Ait Thami « it was an enjoyable experience full of some interesting informations and ideas, I loved it it is great. »

Amal ait Boual « i'm very glad to be in this exchange, i learned how to behave with people who don't speak as me and to live this experience such a beautiful thing »

Fatima ELGANA « I was limited in terms of culture and communication, I am now extrovert, thanks to this amazing program »

Hamza Msougar « I got to talk to people from a different country, and with a different culture than ours. I loved every second of it! »

Mohammed Ali Namous « It was one of my best experiences, which we exchanged a lot of stuff, and we learned more about our different cultures. »

Asmae ourahou « I loved the experience , it was an amazing opportunity in which I learned a lot of information and ideas »