Study abroad in higher education is on the rise, marketed as an effective way to produce global citizens and undermine international boundaries. In practice, however, programmes frequently reify rather than challenge states: participants 'study Morocco' rather than 'exploring Marrakech'. This framing reproduces real and imagined realities of the nation-state, presented as externally distinct and internally homogeneous. This article considers how study abroad discourses and practices in North America and Europe 'sell' developing states as abstract 'goods' embodying an authentic 'other'. A case study from Dar Si Hmad's Ethnographic Field School in southwest Morocco considers how various stakeholders reinforce and challenge this approach. The paper concludes by calling for a more nuanced conversation about the utility and impact of states as the predominant lens of overseas study.