An intensive language learning experience in a beautiful country and culture Past Review

By (Middlebury College) - abroad from 08/29/2016 to 05/18/2017 with

Middlebury Schools Abroad: Middlebury In Rabat, Morocco

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
My mastery of the Arabic language advanced by leaps and bounds. I also learned a great deal about Moroccan history and culture. I absolutely think the experience was worthwhile, both personally and academically.

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.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The program administration in the host country was excellent and managed the various bumps associated with a program's first year expertly.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I had a great experience with my host family first semester. My host mom made sure to include me in their daily lives, giving me exposure to Moroccan culture that I could not have gained otherwise. Second semester I lived in an apartment with another student which gave me the opportunity to learn how to navigate the city and day-to-day life on my own. I'm very happy for having had both experiences.

* Food:

Moroccans are known for their food and it does not disappoint. I will say, however, that coming from an American perspective, there is much less variety than what we may be used to. I also think that it could be a little difficult maintaining a vegetarian diet here, although my understanding from other students with dietary restrictions was that host families were quite accommodating.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I think that most people coming into this program, like myself, will not have had a lot of exposure to the local dialect prior to their arrival. While MSA can help you to pick up the dialect more quickly, communication with most Moroccans, at first, will be quite difficult. Furthermore, students in this program do not directly enroll in university classes as most lack the necessary language skills and the classes, for the most part, are not of high quality. The combination of these factors means that it can take some time to feel integrated in the local culture rather than just an onlooker.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I can't speak from personal experience, but the program seemed very helpful when my peers had health issues and needed to see a healthcare professional.

* Safety:

Overall the city felt quite safe. As a woman I would avoid walking alone very late at night, but otherwise felt comfortable navigating the city on my own. Women face harassment but I never feared for my safety because of it.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes

This program pushed me to make major linguistic gains, my ultimate goal in going abroad. While the academics were not as intellectually stimulating as those at my home university, I expected that going in and benefited in many other ways from the cultural experience.


* 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)

Life in Morocco is cheap. It's quite easy to get a full meal for around $5. Calling and 5gb of data will cost you around $10 per month. Tram tickets are 60 cents and taxis rarely run more than a couple of bucks.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? When living with a host family (all meals were provided) I would estimate around $30/week.


* 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

In this program you will sign a pledge to speak Arabic as much as possible, with the expectation that you will not speak English, or any other language, except to speak with people at home or in case of emergency.

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? I had completed Arabic 202 (two full years)
How many hours per day did you use the language? 10+

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

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

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students
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?
  • The program staff was excellent
* What could be improved?
  • Some of the professors were neither as organized nor as engaged as one would have hoped.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had known how different Moroccan Arabic is from Modern Standard Arabic and prepared a little more on my own. You are required to take a Moroccan Arabic class on the program but it still takes a few weeks, if not months to start to feel somewhat comfortable in the dialect.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

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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!

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Moroccan Colloquial Arabic

Course Department:
Instructor: Taha el-Hadari
Instruction Language: Arabic
Comments: This class was a tremendous help in my acquisition of Darija (Moroccan dialect). The professor was well-organized and the class demanded active participation, both of which helped us to see results by the end.
Credit Transfer Issues: