Al Banchaabouchi was born in Antwerp, BE and was raised in Belgium and Morocco.
She completed her high school education and her undergraduate studies in Morocco, obtaining a Baccalaureate Diploma in 1987 and then attending the Faculty of Sciences of the University Mohammed V, in Rabat, MA where she was awarded a licentiate degree in animal biology. She then returned to Belgium. In 1993 and 1994, she studied for a DEA (diplôme d'études approfondies) in psychobiology in the laboratory of Philippe De Witte at the Université Catholique de Louvain in Louvain-la-Neuve, BE. Between 1995 and 2000, she worked in the laboratory of Peter De Deyn at the University of Antwerp, BE and obtained a PhD. Her doctoral thesis was entitled "A mouse model of renal insufficiency: Biochemical, histological and behavioural studies". She moved the the University of Puerto Rico in San Juan, PR where she worked as a postdoctoral research associate with Sandra Peña de Ortiz in the Department of Biology, where she stayed between 2001 and 2004. The project she worked on there (also with Carmen Maldonado-Vlaar) involved behavioural studies of rats (see: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pbb.2004.09.015).