IES Rabat: Couscous & Sunsets Past Review

By (University of Massachusetts Amherst / UMass) - abroad from 08/28/2018 to 12/15/2018 with

IES Abroad: Rabat - Study in Rabat

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Although Morocco was always where I wanted to study abroad, I couldn’t decide between two extremely prominent, strong programs (IES being one of them). I was even finishing my other application when I found IES. However, from its website alone, I could tell that IES was a transparent, direct program that provided students with the aid and information needed to successfully study abroad. This ended up being the deciding factor when I chose IES. IES Abroad’s direct communication and desire to help students only improved when I arrived in Rabat. Although I expected more pre-departure information regarding class schedules, etc. it became clear once I arrived that some information simply couldn’t be provided until we were there, especially with housing in the medina (Rabat’s old city). Despite this, we were taken care of every step of the way. Each professor was always willing to help us understand different subjects, even if it wasn’t their teaching material, were so great about giving travel tips, and other advice as well. They were so eager to help and really, genuinely cared about our learning experiences. The staff did as well, and our coordinator worked (literally) day and night to make sure we were always doing okay, from having check-in meetings, to homstay inspections, to always responding to our WhatsApp messages, to even just hanging out and talking with us in the center. Our experiences in Morocco were improved a thousand times over because of her hard work, which often went hand in hand with the director’s work. Although he was always really busy, he always found a moment to help us out, even with figuring out travel plans. The faculty and staff at IES Rabat played a huge role in helping us feel comfortable during our time in Morocco. Beyond school though, Morocco was more beautiful and inviting than I could have imagined. I eventually grew accustomed to the bustle of the medina’s main roads, and felt comforted hearing shop owners calling out their prices as food sizzled on grills in the background. We laughed with taxi drivers, bargained with shop owners, and bantered with the waiters at our regular cafe, who always wished us the best in our time there. I’m still so grateful for the way Morocco welcomed us, and for how its people, and especially my host family, extended their hospitality through food, sarcastic (but loving) jokes, and joy at our immersion in the culture. Each experience was improved so much by the people, and when I think of the times I miss in Morocco, I find that what I miss most is the people that were there, and how they made each memory so much better. I don’t think I’ll ever know how to fully show my appreciation for my time in Morocco, but I do know that I’ve been home for over a month, and I still think about its beauty every day. I can’t recommend this program, or this country, enough as one of the most rewarding and worthwhile places to study abroad and learn about so many different topics that are rarely discussed in the Western world. I can never thank IES enough, and I know that someday I’ll be back to Morocco for its food, sunsets, and adventure again.

Review Photos

IES Abroad: Rabat - Study in Rabat Photo

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.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

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, coffee, and everyday expenses were extremely cheap and I could have gotten by on $10 a day quite easily. However, traveling both inside and outside Morocco was what really ate at my savings.


* 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? 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? Arabic 202
How many hours per day did you use the language?

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?
  • Location
  • Staff/Faculty
  • Cultural Experiences
* What could be improved?
  • Pre-Departure Information
  • More immersion with local community
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I definitely overpacked going to Morocco, and I wish I'd saved more room for souvenirs and things to bring back home.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

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The Outright Urbanite
A social butterfly, you're happiest in bustling cities with hip people, and took advantage of all it had to offer. You enjoyed the nightlife, and had fun going out dancing, and socializing with friends. Fun-loving and dressed to the nines, you enjoyed discovering new restaurants, shops, cafes, and bars in your host country.