Morocco: Slow down, accept differences, and enjoy the opportunities being offered to you Past Review

By (IR-History, Wellesley College) for

CIEE: Rabat - Language and Culture

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Yes, absolutely. I learned a lot about myself and changed a lot in a very healthy way. I learned the importance of slowing down, of appreciating the small things in life, and of accepting cultural differences.

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.

We had two different schools: one where we took our arabic classes and one where we took the rest of our classes. The arabic school was excellent - I learned a lot and felt very well prepared when I started Arabic at Wellesley in the Spring, but there wasn't too much homework which was nice since I spent a lot of time travelling around the country. The other classes through the program were not challenging at all and it was much more difficult to communicate with the professors. There wasn't much work, but the quality of the education was lower than what I am used to at Wellesley.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Our program director was incredible. She was very available, very understanding, and very helpful. She provided access to lots of services and helped us navigate many different Moroccan services (transportation, postal services, etc). The program was small but it was nice, because all the participants got to know each other well and became a small family. All in all, I was very impressed with the program.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Fantastic host family - arguably the best out of every one on the program. I had a roommate who was a program classmate which was nice for commuting, commiserating, and assimilating with. We were treated as family members and I still talk with my host family on occasion. We didn't need to buy anything and were a little removed from the middle of the city but still very close to public transportation which could take us anywhere.

* Food:

My host-mother made amazing food. And when I came home too late for dinner I could easily walk into the medina and find a sandwich somewhere.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Fantastic. Definitely the best part of the program. I travelled every weekend with and without my program. Chefchaouen (program trip) was incredible, as was a self-planned trip into the desert. Take advantage of the train system, you can get anywhere.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

No health issues except for food adjustment every once in a while, which our program director helped with a lot. Everything was accessible and when it was required to talk to the pharmacists either the director or a member of our families came with us.

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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? I spent about $2000 total for 3 months (which includes a LOT of travelling both in Morocco and Europe) and at least one to two meals out of the house every day.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? No unanticipated expenses, but I spent the vast majority of my money on travelling in Morocco and Europe. Day to day life is relatively inexpensive and so is travelling, but if you don't travel you end up spend much less (i.e. no hotels, less food outside of the host family house, transportation costs, etc.)


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? French - fluent; Arabic - none
If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Language acquisition improvement?

I came in knowing no Arabic at all and received very good instruction from the professors at the Arabic school in both Arabic and Darija (the Moroccan dialect). I had a lot of support from my host family as well, and felt like I learned a lot while there. I easily transitioned into my arabic class at Wellesley in the Spring which was reassuring as well.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The independence offered, while still having lots of local support.
* What could be improved?
  • The non-arabic courses offered could be more diverse and a different director of academics would be nice (Prof Zaki is not very flexible or aware of student opinions and needs).
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? This is a program for people who are comfortable in different cultures and who have the ability to be patient with change and slow processes. Things run slowly, they run late, and not everything can be guaranteed, even if its at a place like the post office. Patience and acceptance are key, but once you figure things out it's a fantastic place to be.