An adventure that improved my language and love of Morocco Past Review

By (International/Global Studies., American University) - abroad from 08/15/2009 to 12/15/2009 with

AMIDEAST Rabat - Area & Arabic Language Studies

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
The language I learned was invaluable, since I have continued with Arabic and am again living in Morocco. I learned how to become a smart risk-taker, constant traveler, and flexible housemate.

Review Photos

AMIDEAST: Rabat - Area & Arabic Language Studies Photo AMIDEAST: Rabat - Area & Arabic Language Studies Photo AMIDEAST: Rabat - Area & Arabic Language Studies Photo AMIDEAST: Rabat - Area & Arabic Language Studies Photo AMIDEAST: Rabat - Area & Arabic Language Studies Photo

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The selection of courses and level of content was great for someone who was interested in learning about the many facets of Moroccan culture-- history, politics, literature, gender relations, language, and more. It was difficult enough to warrant plenty of out-of-class study, but also have us long weekends to travel and spend time with our host families. The courses were all taught by native Moroccan professors, and while the exposure was very valuable, sometimes the professor's expectations were unclear.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The administration provided great facilities with wifi and AC/heat, provided resources for outside internships, were concerned with safety and provided medical help with the program, and were generally flexible and easy to work with.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Living with a host family for so many months can be tough, but was well worth it. It's an amazing chance to improve your language, connect with people in the community, and feel more at home in a strange place. It was clear my host family was well-screened, experienced, and very were caring.

* Food:

Not applicable-- food was provided through the host family or could buy food from one of the many restos in Rabat.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Living with a host family is a great start, and the administration set up a language partner program with Moroccan English students, and of course it helps having such a strong language program to integrate into the local culture. AMIDEAST's facilities are not on the Mohammed V campus, and it was very hard to meet people of the same age informally on campus. It's also in a relatively wealthy neighborhood where the store owners and neighbors know that you're an abroad student. I felt isolated, at times.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Although the local health care system is not exactly impressive, AMIDEAST provided medical advice and reimbursed for health facilities when it was needed. I think some vaccines are required before going.

* Safety:

It takes some adjusting of behavior to feel safe in Rabat, mostly because of harassment and unwanted attention. It is also not safe to go out at night in most areas, unless you plan on taking a taxi home. I had my cell phone stolen off a bus in one instance. However, in Morocco, this is par for the course and Rabat is actually a fairly safe city once I adapted to the standards of appropriate behavior.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

As a student with loans, Morocco was a decent place to study abroad because housing and food through the host family were already included in the program. The sole expenses were optional weekend traveling and any studying at cafes. Very reasonable.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $10 in Rabat, $50 if traveling
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? There are plenty of budget hostels, but don't pick the very cheapest for safety reasons. Eat at snack cafes and don't drink in bars since in the culture the only women there are prostitutes anyways.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

We had a classical Arabic and local dialect requirement, which I found incredibly useful and I worked very hard in.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Beginner
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? French Translation; Beginner Arabic
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Don't be afraid to spend time with your host families!

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Language Program
  • Weekend Travel
  • My classmates
* What could be improved?
  • On-campus Facilities
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? That I would later be living in Morocco. I would have tried to make more local friends.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'