Best year of my life (the program's over and I still haven't left!) Past Review

By (Oakland University) - abroad from 08/22/2014 to 05/15/2015 with

AMIDEAST Rabat - Area & Arabic Language Studies

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I realized that Arabic is not out of reach, and that the seemingly impossible language of Darija is also obtainable. I traveled to every corner of Morocco, learned about its past and present, and made lifelong friends. I know that I will return to Morocco many times over!

Review Photos

AMIDEAST: Rabat - Area & Arabic Language Studies Photo

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Although the courses were not as rigorous as my home institution, I still did much more work than I would have expected in a study abroad program. There were certainly times that weekend travel was impossible due to the workload. Then again, it really depended on the classes as some were more challenging than others. Overall the professors were energetic, intelligent, and very well connected. I learned a lot about the region in the area studies courses. I do wish, however, that Amideast offered more Arabic hours. One hour a day of MSA and three hours a week of MCA was not very intensive, but this also might be because I was a beginner. In any case, make sure you take advantage of opportunities outside of the classroom and break out of the English speaking bubble!

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Doha is simply the best. While she remained our main point of contact throughout the program, the administration as a whole is accessible, helpful and friendly.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I adored my host family! They truly made me feel like I was a part of their family. I also got extremely lucky and lived 2 minutes away from Ami. My host dad spoke fluent English, which seemed great at the beginning but I soon realized it wasn't going to help my Arabic much. After getting a little more comfortable in the language he was eager to speak to me only in Darija (and French for my roommate).

* Food:

I really enjoy Moroccan food, especially Tagine and Couscous, but it's not for everyone. After a month or two a lot of my classmates started to complain about the bread overdose and sought out more familiar food (there are a few French, sushi, and Italian restaurants if you're willing to spend the extra money). Also, if you're a vegetarian make sure you're prepared. It's not really a concept in Morocco, so your host family will probably insist that chicken is not meat (nor fish). Make it clear from the beginning what you can and cannot eat!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I didn't personally have an experience with healthcare, but my friends had no difficulties with visiting a doctor / obtaining medicine, getting eye exams for contacts, etc.

* Safety:

Don't be afraid, I felt more safe in Morocco than in many European cities. Just like in any other city, be aware of your surroundings, don't go out late alone, don't draw attention (flashing around your iPhone on the train), and pay attention to your belongings. While the harassment can seem overwhelming the best you can do is ignore it -- and dress appropriately.

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)

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? The food stands in the medina and lentil soup will be your new favorite meals. VERY inexpensive - under 20 dirhams ($2) and delicious! The cafes in Agdal are also budget friendly.


* 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

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? 0
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? Make Moroccan friends (this is the most important thing you can do), listen to the radio, watch TV/movies and practice with your host family.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • 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?
  • The opportunity to learn Fusha and Darija
  • The interesting content courses
  • The location
* What could be improved?
  • More Arabic hours in the classroom
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? If you don't know French, study up on basic Darija before you leave. Fusha won't help you very much!

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.'