International Students, a National Asset or a Poisonous Alumni: An Empirical Investigation of the Experience of Sub-Saharan Students in Morocco


One of the major objectives of government-funded international educational exchange programs is to create a positive attitude among the students and future leaders and turn them into a vehicle through which the host country’s culture, values, and ideas are promoted. Establishing and funding exchange programs alone does not guarantee that students will develop a positive attitude towards their host country. International students do not always become a valuable source. That is, if the host country’s educational system is not structured in a way that provides a friendly environment for international students, they can turn into poisonous alumni that harm the image of the host country. The objective of this paper is to explore educational mobility from Sub-Saharan African countries towards Morocco. The policy faces some significant challenges related to discriminatory public attitudes. The paper explores the links of interaction by viewing the friendship ties that Sub-Saharan students build during their stay in Morocco. Consequently, the social exclusion and hostile societal attitude lead the students to develop negative attitude towards Morocco, which runs against the whole logic of student mobility. In brief, this paper argues that more attention should be devoted to the views which these students develop while staying in the country.

Keywords: International education, Sub-Saharan Students, Student mobility, Racism, Attitudes, Soft Power