Morocco Fall: Ram, Couscous and a Copious Amount of Tea Past Review

By (HISTORY., Wellesley College) - abroad from 09/06/2013 to 12/20/2013 with

CIEE: Rabat - Language and Culture

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
This study abroad experience challenged me constantly as I had to constantly adapt to new situations and use a colloquial language that had previously been completely unknown to me. Not only was it excellent to learn about a new culture, it was amazing to be able to participate in it with my host family. I learned more about the importance of being part of a community with people who genuinely care and want to help you, regardless of your background or relation to them.

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 CIEE program itself had a number of problems in terms of its curriculum and so I felt like the classes on the culture of Morocco weren't very good. However the language classes were excellent and seeing as I went to Rabat to learn Arabic, I could not have been more pleased with the result. I loved my host family and overall met some really wonderful people. Overall one of the best things I ever did.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I felt like they weren't very thorough when it came to organizing our internships on the program and we were given very little information about what we were actually meant to be doing in our work experience. A lot of bureaucratic inefficiency.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My housing situation was fantastic! CIEE really listened to what I had written on my housing form and I was matched up with an incredible host family. My host family was definitely one of my favorite experiences in Morocco. They were incredibly caring people and we ate a huge amount of couscous which was fantastic.

* Food:

The food was excellent and while there were a few stomach adjustments to the food, it was still the best food I'll ever have in my life.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I felt like a lot of the social integration I did was on my own accord, rather then being encouraged by my CIEE program. I made quite a few Moroccan friends and most of what I learnt about Moroccan culture was when I randomly met people in the streets. Everyone was very friendly there so it was easy to make friends. However, the program did take us on a number of small trips to villages where we got to talk with people we probably otherwise would have not have had the chance to meet.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I didn't have many problems with my health in Morocco and I never needed to go to hospital. My host family always gave me some tea to help with my stomach and it always worked. I think everyone on the program got sick from the food because it definitely is an adjustment to the different kinds of bacteria but we were never in danger and our families always knew what to do if we were sick.

* Safety:

I never felt in danger in my host city. The worst thing that would happen would be if you got things stolen from you and even then you would be pick pocketed and would have little confrontation with the mugger. I felt very safe in Morocco.

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)

Very easily because most of the travel programs organized for the weekend were prepaid in our tuition. And the exchange rate in Morocco is very good so we didn't spend that much money.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? No more than $100


* 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

I was barely allowed to speak any Arabic on this program. My host family didn't speak a word of English so there were few times I would ever speak in English.

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? Advanced
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? 202
How many hours per day did you use the language? 10+
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Never speak in English even with your friends. Also if the friends you make our actually from the country you're studying abroad in, then you'll get far more practice.

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 classes
  • Host Family
  • Placement
* What could be improved?
  • Internship opportunities
  • The non-language classes
  • The organization of the administration
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had known how much I loved it before so I could have applied for a year.

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.'