I am really glad that I went, but I'm really glad that it's over. Past Review

By (Brandeis University) - abroad from 01/17/2016 to 05/13/2016 with

AMIDEAST Rabat - Area & Arabic Language Studies

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned so much. I learned about Moroccan culture, politics, history, and identity. I came to love Morocco and I am so glad that I got to experience so much of the beautiful country. Most of all, I learned about myself. Sometimes, you have to be outside of your community and your country in order to reflect on yourself and the world around you.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I did learn a lot overall, but there was a false sense of academic rigor. AMIDEAST prides itself on its "academic rigor," but all that means is they have very strict rules and schedules, which are ridiculous and unhelpful to both students and teachers. We had to write 4000-word research essays in every class, due in the same week. The due dates and type of work throughout the semester were non-negotiable, at the detriment to students and professors alike.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I give 4 stars, because for one administrator I would have given 5, but for another I would have given maybe two stars. Religious Jewish students had a few issues with AMIDEAST on account of the latter administrator, who clearly has no prior experience or compassion for religious Jewish students.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I loved my host family. They were so sweet, kind, and welcoming. AMIDEAST did a great job at assigning me to such an open-minded and warm family, who did all they could to make sure that I felt comfortable as a religious Jew in their home. AMIDEAST also knew that this was the best location for me, as it was around the corner from the synagogue in Rabat, and I am thankful that they ensured that I was within walking distance to it.

* Food:

It was the best that I could have asked for, considering I keep Kosher.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I wish that I could have been more integrated. I'm not sure how.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I definitely felt safe overall. The crazy traffic, the cat-calling, and the worry of potential anti-Semitism often made me feel slightly unsafe in the back of my mind, but I really never felt threatened and was fine traveling on my own.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No

I would have been happier in Casablanca with a Jewish community, if I had the choice. I didn't feel like AMIDEAST worked with me beforehand to ensure my needs as a religious Jew were met and I experienced problems once I was there. Moreover, AMIDEAST didn't forge a community between its students. I felt socially ostracized for the first time in my life. The participants on the program were very cliquey and exclusive. Lastly, the assorted rigid rules regarding the academics were unnecessary.


* 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)

Everything is very cheap in Morocco! Plus, AMIDEAST gives out weekly food stipends and monthly travel stipends.


* 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

Perhaps I would have a higher rating if the language partner system had worked out for me.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Intermediate
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Intermediate
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? Just make Moroccan friends and talk to them in Arabic. If you want to work on your MSA, insist on it! Watch TV, read books, etc.

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
  • International Students
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?
  • Excursions
  • One of the administrators
  • Host family
* What could be improved?
  • Understanding and compassionate assistance to religious students' needs
  • Community culture between students
  • More opportunity for interaction with a variety of Moroccans
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? How difficult it would be, religiously and socially