Your Politics Class from a Different Viewpoint Past Review

By (George Washington University) - abroad from 06/07/2014 to 07/27/2014 with

IES Abroad: Rabat - Study in Rabat

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I believe that I gained a new and different understanding of cultural and political events that I had seen from an American or European standpoint prior to going abroad. I experienced Ramadan, visited parliament, and saw the king (if for a very brief moment.)

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.

My academic experience presented topics that I was familiar with (French literature and the politics of the Arab world) and turned my perceptions upside down. We explored everything from post-colonization sentiment to the concept of "being a stranger" in literature class and I wrote what I feel is the best essay I have written in some time (in English or French) in the politics class. Politics class also included a visit to the Moroccan Parliament following a unit on the Moroccan constitution.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The program administration felt more like camp counselors or family members than directors, which was excellent, as we were travelling with them for several weekends and were most always in the center.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I stayed in a host family and through them experienced every day life as well as the month of Ramadan. My living situation helped my language skills immensely. I have studied French for eight years and Arabic for two years, and while almost everyone in my home stay spoke French, the one person who did not was the two year old granddaughter, who spoke the colloquial Arabic at essentially my level, allowing me easy communication and a great introduction to conversations.

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

it should be noted that since this is a summer course, and is very intensive, the opportunities to interact with the local students will be limited. Perhaps the best way to meet Moroccans is through host siblings. However, I did become close with the other five students in the program, and we explored the city together.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

My only problems with the program were that we were not informed of the medications and vaccinations recommended/required for the weeklong trip to Senegal, which resulted in panic on my mother's end and a very early morning trip to Casablanca--I am unsure if the Senegal trip will be offered in the future, but if so, do your research!

* Safety:

I felt very safe in Rabat--just as or more safe than I feel in Washington DC.

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)

Food (three meals a day, seven days a week) was included and I walked to the center for classes every day. I made minimal purchases for toiletries, but there was a Carrefour down the street which made it easy. I did buy bottled water for the first several weeks as was recommended.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Little to none.


* 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? Advanced
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? Intro to French Literature 3100W
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? Practice French with your host family to be sure, but also use the opportunity to learn basic phrases in Moroccan Arabic (like "I'm full," which was the first thing we learned!)

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? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Experience with host family
  • Being in the center of a major city
* What could be improved?
  • Communication pre-departure
  • Encouragement of language use
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had brushed up a little on Moroccan phrases and maybe packed a little better (girls: bring loose travel shirts and a pair of long shorts as they are perfectly acceptable in the culture and you do not necessarily want to be in skinny jeans in July in Africa.)

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 Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!