Morocco: Adventures in Immersion Past Review

By (Communication and Media Studies., Villanova University) for

IES Abroad: Rabat - Study in Rabat

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It made me more willing to discuss issues and pursue self-reflection. I realized that the world is a lot to comprehend, so you need time to process with those around you and sometimes alone.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Definitely differences between the amount of work required at Villanova versus IES. I had time to really be abroad rather than just sitting and doing work all the time which I appreciated. Arabic was a challange but IES was very accomodating. I found a big difference in expectations for homework. In Morocco, you are expected to try your homework before the professor teaches.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I loved the workers. They were helpful, but did not coddle their students. They left us room to explore while providing a safety net so we made sure to remain safe and healthy. I think this was a huge strength of IES. They have an incredible staff and facilities available.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I would not necessarily recommend the dorm option because although it was safe, it was difficult to maintain a social life under the strict rules imposed. I also think that the girls in the dorm were not excited to see any American students so it was an unfriendly atmosphere. I had to buy a ton of stuff with my roommate, but perhaps that will diminish in time.

* Food:

Eat locally, Families make the best food. Gorge on couscous when you can. Take risks with your food, it will be a good story if anything. Enjoy the hard-work it takes to make meals on such a large scale every day.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

IES arranged three trips: Fes for orientation including a day trip to local noteworthy places, the Sahara Desert. and a Berber village. These were the most incredible weekends of the program and I would recommend IES based solely on this. They were well-organized, culturally immersive, and fun.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

It was a very safe place, although harassment by men was a problem. My program helped me cope with this by offering workshops and other tools. The program leaders were always available to help with health concerns and the director personally escorted me to a pharmacy when I needed cold medicine.

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)


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Language acquisition improvement?

I practiced language with others students, cab drivers, shop workers, etc. I had to practice everywhere to get around.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The people I met from it.
  • The staff and their willingness to help and be a listening ear.
  • The incredible places I got to visit.
* What could be improved?
  • More trips
  • A meal plan for resident hall students
  • Switching the resident hall option
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Be willing to be uncomfortable. If you want all fun and games and no reflection this is not your place. Soak it in and make connections with students and Moroccans. It is a place that you will keep with you forever because they will welcome you back with open arms.