Apologies due

My sincere apologies for not writing sooner.   It’s been a very busy year at the American Language Center.

In the more than 30 years that we have been here in Tetouan we have never had so many students and we have never had so many activities.   We are so excited about all that we have done this year and we are looking forward to the future with great anticipation.

We are no ordinary language school.   We are an NGO that works hard to promote better understanding between Americans and Moroccans, promote the arts and culture, lead the way in teacher professional development, and to provide local residents opportunities to learn and to use English.

We are in our third semester of the academic year and soon the regular year will be over.   We have already started looking forward to Ramadan and intensive classes during that period.   We will update everyone on our Ramadan schedule in about one month’s time so check our out Facebook page and check back here too.


Happy fall greetings!

The seasons have changed here in Tetouan, and warm sunny days of summer have said goodbye and the moody days of fall have set it.  Fall and winter in Tetouan are famous for the “4 seasons in a single day” phenomenon where one can experience a random mix of light to heavy rain, strong winds, bright sunny blue skies, hot, cold, and mild temperatures in the course of a day.  For a newcomer, it can be a challenge knowing how to dress.

In the midst of the moody fall weather stands the American Language Center as a constant source of sun and warmth.  We work hard to make our Center a place where everybody feels welcome and happy.  We know life is hard, and that things don’t always go the way we wish, so providing the community a safe place to learn, share and grow is important to us, especially on those miserable wet and windy periods of fall days.

This year we finished work on classrooms 9-12 literally minutes before our first classes began.  We still have a lot of work to go before the first phase of the Upper Level ALC remodel is complete, but at least we have four nice new rooms.  Rooms 11-12 have removable wall panels dividing them, so we can take them down and have a large multi-purpose room for seminars, concerts, and other special activities.  In our master plan, we will transfer the administration area to the Upper Level, and create a cafe where the administrative staff currently work.  In a later phase of the remodeling we will transform the back half of the Upper Level space into a nice, airy space where students can read quietly, or use computers.

Some of our clubs have started, and others will be starting soon.  Please sign up for the club you are interested in, and get involved!  It is easy, and a great way to improve your English outside of the classroom.  We have some new clubs this year In addition to our more traditional clubs, e.g. reading, spelling, public speaking, and etc.  This year we are launching a coding club, and we are very excited about this club.  We are using Code.Org material for this club and in December we will host the “Hour of Code.”  Hour of Code is an international effort to promote computer science.  We are certain that this will be a very beneficial and fun club to everyone who joins.  Not to be overlooked is the graphic design club.  This club will combine artistic creativity with the power of computer programs.  We are looking forward to seeing the great creations from this new club.

Thanks for everybody in Tetouan who shares our passion for learning, creativity, friendship, and transforming lives.  Together we are improving the lives of students and families in our community, we are learning from each other, and we are having fun with each other.

-Steeve Nicks


Fall 2015

Time has really flown.  It seems like it was just yesterday that we were heading into spring, and now we are heading into autumn.  So much has been going on at the ALC over the past few months that I don’t know where to begin!

First, we are pleased to announce that we are expanding.  Over the summer we signed a new lease and we started working to remodel the apartment adjoining our current location.  We hope to have the first phase of our remodeling done by the end of September 2015.  It will give us four additional classrooms, two of which can be joined to make an extra-large general purpose room for conferences, presentations, concerts, etc.  As many of you know, we have suffered from a lack of space.  Pretty soon you will notice a large wall mural that will make finding us easier than ever before.  Be on the lookout for photos from the “new” expansion that we are calling the UL (upper level).

We now have enough room to have ALL youth classes at 9am and 11:30am on Saturdays.  This is great news for the families in Tetouan.  We will have Children 1-4 and Juniors 1-6 at the same time for the first time ever.  Siblings in different levels won’t have to come at two different times of the day now.  This is great news.

Second, we are happy to welcome Valerie Carpenter as a new teacher at the ALC.  She is an expert EFL (English as a Foreign Language) teacher.  She has taught at the American University in Cairo, and the University of Oman.  She was a Senior English Language Fellow (SELF) in the United States State Department’s Regional Language Office.  As a SELF, she worked with students in Rwanda.  Prior to this, she was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Nepal.  As you can see, we are very pleased to have Ms. Carpenter on our team.

Third, we are busy working on becoming more professional each day.  We are setting specific goals for the new academic year that are going to help us serve our community even better.  We want you to know that we are dedicated to providing you with the highest level of English instruction in Tetouan.  That is why we carefully select our teaching staff and help them grow in the latest pedagogical methods and latest research into Second Language Acquisition (SLA).  This year our ALL ALC Teachers Professional Development Conference will be in Meknes again.  Each year roughly 400 ALC teachers from all over Morocco attend the multi-day professional development conference.  Hopefully, the 2017 conference will be in Tangiers!

Fourth, we are in the process of coming up with our clubs and activities for the new school year.  We are planning a DIY/Crafts Club, Debate/Public Speaking Club, Reading Club, CODING Club, Football Club, Spelling Club, and others.  We will give more information about times and days of the clubs in the next couple of weeks.

Finally, as director, I want to thank you for your trust and partnership over the past 31 years in Tetouan.  The American Language Center has undergone many changes over those 31 years, and this year is shaping up to be our most dynamic year yet.  I want you to know that I care about each student and each family represented by each student that comes to our Center.  We are in the process of coming up with some community service projects that will help us help families better than we have in the past.  For example, I think we need to help students learn good study habits, goal setting, positive self-esteem, civics, and the value of hard work.  This is a very holistic approach to education and learning, and I sincerely believe that our Center has an obligation to the community to be more than just an English school.  We must work to meet the needs of whole person instead of just their need to learn English.

We are currently registering students for the fall session, so thank you for your time, I look forward to seeing you at Registration.

Warm regards,

Steeve Nicks

Spring News 2015

It is springtime in Tetouan, and that means the skies will soon dry up and the temperature will warm up.  It has been a long winter this year, so some warm weather will be a nice change.  Speaking of changes, because of Ramadan, we are having a shorter session this spring than we had in the fall and winter terms.  The semi-intensive courses will still be 8 weeks long, but the regular courses will go from 12 weeks, to 10 weeks.  Students will still get the same number of classroom hours as before, but each class will be a bit longer than before in order to finish before Ramadan.  If you have not registered yet, you need to come on in and register today!

Our center will be closed for Ramadan this year.  We wish all the students sitting for exams, and make up exams much success.  We will reopen after Ramadan for summer classes.  The exact dates and times are yet to be determined, though we will be open the whole month of August.

There is a lot of ACA news to report this spring.  First of all we are happy to announce the opening of the American Language Center in El Jadida for spring courses!  The ACA has hired a new director, Fabiola Gonçalves, to run the El Jadida center.  Although there is a phone number to the center (05233.43440), there is not yet an internet site, and they don’t have an official email either.

After many years with the ACA, and ending her career by hosting very fine professional development conferences for teachers and administrative staff in Meknes this winter, director Kathy Lance has retired.  The new director is Kym Brown.  Kym has worked for the ALC in Meknes for a number of years, so she will be a familiar face to many people.  We with Kathy a very happy retirement, and thank her for a job well done.  We also wish Kym much success as she takes over the ALC in Meknes.

Of our 12 centers in Morocco, the ALC in Casablanca is the largest, and perhaps the oldest.  It is our flagship center and has a long and storied history.  For many years director David Neuses has ably led this center.  Now, he too is retiring, although not right away.  However, we are happy to announce Richard Martin, the current director of the ALC in Oujda, will be moving from Oujda to Casablanca to take over when David retires in the fall.  David has been instrumental in the founding of a number of ALCs, and is ending his career in the ACA with the launching of the new ALC in El Jadida.  We will miss the contribution of David when he leaves, and we wish him a happy retirement.

Rick started the ALC in Oujda, and was a teacher in various ALCs before becoming the director in Oujda.  In fact, for a while, he taught here in Tetouan.  Rick is full of energy and ideas, and has make ALC Oujda a fun and exciting place.  We know he will be dearly missed by everybody in Oujda.  We wish him a good move from Oujda to Casablanca and lots of success as director there.

With the departure of Rick from Oujda, the ACA is now looking for a new director for the ALC in Oujda.  The ALC Oujda is only about 4 years old and has shown consecutive year-on-year growth each of those years.  We are looking for a new director for ALC Oujda, but at least we have some time to find someone new.  One thing is for sure though, whoever becomes director will have some big shoes to fill.


Model UN & the ALL ALC Teachers Conference

M O D E L     U N I T E D     N A T I O N S

We are very proud of 5 of our high school students whose applications to the Association of Moroccan American Dialog’s Model United Nations were accepted for participation in the Model United Nations.  The Model United Nations was sponsored by the US Embassy in Rabat.  The AMAD (Association of Moroccan American Dialog) organized Model United Nations was in Fes on January 29-February 1, 2015 with over 100 young people attacking issues important to the world today, and tomorrow.  According the the AMAD website, the Model UN (called the Alumni Model United Nations Conference, AMUNC) exists to bring together Americans and Moroccans who have participated in US Government-sponsored cultural and educational programs.  Of the 5 of our students who were accepted, 4 were able to attend this 3-day, all expense-paid event!  They stayed in a nice hotel in Fes and got to meet a broad selection of people and learn a lot.  None of these students had ever done anything like this before, and everyone came away inspired.  For more information about AMAD, please visit their website.

A L L      A L C     T E A C H E R S     C O N F E R E N C E

Having the best possible classroom teacher is important for your success.  Teachers are learners, and as such we must never allow ourselves to think we have all the knowledge or experience we need.  The American Cultural Association believes that one of the things that set us apart from other organizations in Morocco is our absolute commitment to professional development.  By investing in our teachers’ professional development, we are assuring our communities that we care about them, and their success.  That is why each year the ACA holds a teachers conference for every teacher from every American Language Center in Morocco.

As you can imagine, holding a national conference is a major undertaking.  It takes a year of preparation, and sometimes more.  This year, Exchanges and Communication, Librairie Nationale, and Calliope (the three main English book sellers in Morocco), brought hundreds of books and representatives from Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press, Pearson Longman, and other publishers.  This year the conference was held in the Tafilalet Hotel in Meknes from January 31-February 3, 2015.  We had excellent workshops, seminars, and plenary sessions.  As an example of the type of quality conference we host, Penny Ur and Donna Brinton, two internationally renown experts in EFL, were keynote speakers and presenters.  It was especially nice for me since Donna Brinton was one of my exceptional professors in graduate school. In addition to our very special international speakers and the many other in-country presenters we had, two of our very own teachers, David Klayton and Chaimae Salhi, also presented.  We are very proud of them.

As the American Language Centers grow, it becomes more and more challenging to find facilities to lodge and feed our 400+ teachers.  Our hats are off to director Kathy Lance and the ALC Meknes volunteers and staff that pulled off an exceptional event.  ALC Tetouan would love to host one of these conferences in the future, but I have no idea where we would put so many people!



New student travel options

We are very happy to offer new options to our community through our partner No Boarders Agency.

So many people asked last year (my first year as director) about educational travel/study trips abroad that we really wanted to find an option for them.  I was not aware of the relationship that No Boarders Agency had with the American Language Centers, but I do now.

I remember like it was yesterday that my family hosted a boy from France.  It was a wonderful experience as we learned from somebody that looked like us, but didn’t always do things like us.  Those couple of weeks were really life-changing for my family, but especially for me.  Almost one year later, I raised enough money so I could travel to France and stay with the family of boy we had hosted.  That was my first trip abroad, and it completely changed my future.  Since then, I have lived, studied, or worked in no less than 6 countries from North America to Asia passing through Europe and ending up here in Africa.  In addition to those 6 countries, I have traveled to many many more, and I credit it all to one high school boy’s visit to the USA.

In the center you will see several bright posters from NBA (No Boarders Agency) showing options for exciting places such as London, and Miami, as well as many others.  As I mentioned earlier in this post, NBA has been working with American Language Centers for quite some time in other cities around Morocco, so you can be confident in your choice to go with No Boarders Agency.  Feel free to ask us about the posters and study trips abroad, or just contact NBA and they can help you.  Remember, every student from our center gets a 5% discount off the trips proposed by No Boarders Agency.


Steeve Nicks


Sanna Saida – Happy New Year!

Sanna Saida – Happy New Year!

2014 was a monumental year at the American Language Center, and 2015 is poised to be even better.

To start with, we celebrated our 30th year in Tetouan. The ALC opened its doors to its first students in 1984 as an annex of the ALC in Tangiers. In the 30 years of our existence, we have had yesterday’s students grow up and send their children to our center to learn English. We appreciate all those wo have grown up with us here in Tetouan, and look forward to many more generations of families coming to the ALC.

As a self-funding non-profit, we desire to make an impact in our community. To help all the citizens of Tetouan. We provide a valuable service to our community by providing high-quality English language courses with both native and near-native English speakers. However, we do more than just give English lessons.

In 2014 we partnered with Pennsylvania State University in the USA to pilot a Girls Club for high school students from villages surrounding Tetouan. The Delegation granted us permission to host 2 days a week of special training courses for over three-dozen girls. We taught English, life management skills, entrepreneurship, and a host of other life-impacting things for free. This year, we have expanded the program to include drama and computer literacy in addition to the curriculum we has last year, plus we have more time with this girls than we did last year. We are grateful for our Girls Club leader, Nylah Holt, and the volunteers that help make this program successful. For more information on how you can get involved in this program, contact us at info@alctetouan.com.

Another event we started last year was the Fulbright Talks Series. Morocco has a lot of Fulbright scholars, both Moroccan and American. Many of them live in and around Tetouan. For Moroccan Fulbrighters, they can offer Moroccans insight into America in ways Americans just cannot do. Media and movies do not always portray America as it really is, and especially in a lot of the mundane, day-to-day things we do. So, the Fulbright Talks are in Darija, and open to the general public. It is a wonderful way for Moroccans to learn what life is like in the USA from a Moroccan perspective. We are very pleased to have this series for the people of Tetouan.

TESOL International is the professional association for educators who teach English as a second of foreign language. In 2014 the convention was in Portland, Oregon. While attending, I had the privilege to give presentations to the Mercer Island Rotary Club, as well as the Lake Oswego Rotary Club. In all, there were over 200 people who learned about Tetouan, Morocco, and the work that the American Cultural Association does here. In 2015, the convention will be in Toronto, Canada, and I am working on giving even more presentations this time.

In 2014 we started providing FREE, facilitated, online university courses through the US State Department’s MOOC Camp program. The first course we offered was a freshman English course from Duke University. Duke University is one of the top universities in the USA. The courses are the same you taken by university students in the United States. Successful completion of the MOOC Camp course earns a joint certificate from the US Embassy in Rabat and the ALC in Tetouan. We are proud of each person who finished the very demanding course. Since that first course, we have had others.

Starting next week, we will offer FREE, specially designed teacher training through the University of Oregon and funded by the US State Department. We are very happy to have the support of the Regional Delegate of the Moroccan Ministry of Education in promoting and encouraging public school teachers to take this course. We are convinced that this course will ultimately help students in the classroom learn English better.

Our staff has had some major changes over the past year. Two notable changes were Zach moving to the ALC in Marrakech, and Sofia leaving for the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota on a Fulbright scholarship. We also boosted our native English speaking teaching staff to 6. In the 30 years in Tetouan, the ALC has never had so many native English speaking teachers.

Not to be forgotten, we started a free community “friendship table” on Mondays where members of the community can come and meet an American in a casual setting. Each Monday features a different American. It is the perfect place to come practice English and ask questions you may want to know about America. Similar to friendship table, are periodic special meetings between Moroccans and English speaking foreigners. In the summer, for example, a group of students from Pennsylvania State University spent a day with our students promoting friendship and better understanding between Americans and Moroccans. These are very successful, and we plan to have more in 2015!

Finally, we have participated in a number of forums, conferences, and events in Tetouan, and Morocco. We have been able to bring in specialists to talk to our students, and community. We had doctors, writers, civil servants, business leaders, diplomats, and community activists come give presentations at our center, ENSA Tetouan, and the Pilar Spanish High School. We are particularly excited about our collaboration with the Club de Doctorants at the University of Abdelmalik Essaidi. For students studying science in Tetouan, we brought in a speaker from Boston University doing his PhD research in photonics, and then we closed out the year with a presentation at their conference on entrepreneurship on December 31st.

2014 was truly a very busy year of service and growth. It would be an understatement to say that we are excited about the projects we have planned for 2015, but we are. Be on the lookout for new events, and projects in the upcoming year, and please contact us for more information.

May you have a safe and prosperous New Year filled with love, joy, happiness, and peace.


Steeve Nicks

Special Presentation – Leonard Kogos, PhD candidate, Boston University

With Mr. Abdeltif El Ouahrani and the Club des Doctorants de l’UAE, we are very pleased to co-sponsor a special presentation this Saturday, November 29th, at 14:00 Amphi A, Faculty of Sciences, University Abdelmalek Essaâdi in Tetouan.   The presentation will feature Mr. Leonard Kogos, a PhD candidate in Electrical Engineering at Boston University (BU), and graduate of Harvard College.  He will talk about his experience as an African student in an American university, and the research he conducts at BU.  BU is ranked among the very best universities in the USA, and Harvard is almost always ranked 1st or 2nd in the world.

Although we welcome the general public, the presentation will be in English, and appeal especially to graduate students in the sciences.  We are very pleased to welcome the students of ENSA Tetouan, as well as any faculty members that may come.

Mr. Kogos is on a very tight schedule and will not be in Tetouan for very long, so it is imperative that everyone come on TIME!

We hope that this presentation is very stimulating for everyone who attends.  As we are able to schedule additional special speakers, we will have more events like this one and the academic advising in the future, so visit our website regularly to check for updates.

Please note that we (the American Language Center) and our partners at the US Embassy are planning 3 days of academic advising for Moroccan (university) students in early 2015.  These advising session will help answer the questions you and your families have about studies in the USA.  We certainly hope many of you get the chance to study in America.

We hope to see many of you there on Saturday!




Are you “open for business” in English?

I have lived in North America, Europe and Asia. Now I am living in Morocco (Africa) and one thing holds true from one continent to another. English is vital in international business. Whether a conference in Dubai, or a trade show in Kuala Lumpur, English is the lingua franca of the business world today. If you don’t have at least one person in our company who can communicate in English, you are cutting yourself off from potential sales, and shutting yourself out of the global market.

In order to have a presence on the global business scene, you have to speak English, and that is why the American Language Center has created its new Business English courses. We at the ALC want to help you increase your sales potential, and access to the world. Busy business people don’t have a lot of free time, and we know that. That is why our new courses focus on teaching you English within the context of business. You maximize your knowledge of Business English in a minimum of time.

The new Business English classes will meet once a week from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at a cost of 1000 dirhams per semester. Each of the three levels (Business English 1, Business English 2, and Business English 3) are one year (3 semester) courses consisting of three sub-levels each (a, b, and c).

I am very excited to about the Business English courses we are offering to the community of greater Tetouan. For more information, please contact the school at 0539 963 308, or come in.

We look forward to helping you gain access to the global market through Business English.

Steeve NICKS

Big News – American Language Center expansion!

The American Language Centers have been in Morocco for over 50 years, although the name was slightly different in the beginning when we were under the US Embassy in Rabat.  Over those 50+ years though, the ALCs grew from only a few centers to the 11 we know today.  American Language Center Oujda, created in 2011, was until recently the newest ALC.  However, now we have a brand new center in El Jadida.  Starting no later than spring 2015, and perhaps as early as winter 2015, the NEW American Language Center in El Jadida will be open and giving classes, exchanging ideas, and contributing to building community and better understanding between the people of Morocco and the United States!  We are very excited about this wonderful news.  

Here is a list of all the ALCs in Morocco:

American Language Center in Agadir

American Language Center in Casablanca

American Language Center in Fes

American Language Center in Kenitra

American Language Center in Marrakesh

American Language Center in Meknes

American Language Center in Mohammedia

American Language Center in Oujda

American Language Center in Rabat

American Language Center in Tangiers

American Language Center in Tetouan

For contact information click here.