Life-changing - but don't expect too much from your classes July 26, 2020

By (Middlebury College) - abroad from 01/25/2019 to 05/17/2019 with

Middlebury Schools Abroad: Middlebury In Rabat, Morocco

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It was definitely worthwhile. Gained a lot of new perspective on the world.

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

I really really liked the director and coordinator of the programme. They tried to make things enjoyable for us and really got to know each of us.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Was placed with a host family not accomodating of my veganism despite the fact I flagged this several times in my application. When I brought this up to programme staff they ignored my complaints until several months in when I had severe nutritional deficiencies and I emailed my study abroad advisor and he communicated with them. My life and health would've been made a lot easier if I had been allowed to move into my own apartment or even into a different host family's house as soon as i brought the issue up, which was in the first couple weeks. This really brought down my experience as a whole as my deficiencies impacted my ability to focus on schoolwork and my mental health.

* Food:

Once I left my host family's house I was always able to eat good vegan options. You have to learn what to ask for in restaurants but it's very very possible to each vegan in Morocco and the programme was more or less accommodating

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I came out of the experiences feeling integrated but I really had to go out of my way to try and make my own Moroccan friends. The programme gave us language partners but didn't introduce to anyone else or give us ideas on how to meet new people, and before I was able to find my own friends it was very isolating and I didn't get along amazingly with my language partner. It's also tough to have that be the only/main relationship you're given outside of your host family because they're so closely associated with the programme and it just felt a bit like I was having tabs kept on me by everyone.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

See prior comment about my experience with my host family. It took me becoming severely anaemic and sending very strongly worded letters to Middlebury for me to be moved out of my host family and into my own apartment where I could cook for myself. I felt very very not taken seriously,

* Safety:

I didn't have an incidents where I felt unsafe. Probably not an amazing idea to be a woman on a walk by herself past midnight, but unfortunately, I'd say that about most places.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No

Academically it really wasn't great. If I chose the same programme it'd be solely for the coordinator Achraf who just really loved his job and it showed in how he made all of us participants feel. The monthly outings were also really enjoyable. My host family experience and academic experience are the reason for loss of stars

Finances

* 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)

Everything is relatively very cheap in Morocco.

Language

* 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? 200
How many hours per day did you use the language?

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
  • Apartment
* 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?
  • Monthly outings
  • Making friends with locals and spending time with them
  • Being really near the ocean/sunsets over the ocean
* What could be improved?
  • Professors with more familiarity teaching foreign students
  • Listening to student complaints more
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish that in the case of my bad host family, when I tried to bring it up and was largely dismissed, I had advocated for myself more and really pushed to be moved earlier on

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.'

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Moroccan Arabic

Course Department:
Instructor: Achraf Guaad
Instruction Language: Arabic
Comments: We started out this course with Taha as our teacher which was essentially daily torture. Awful. When we switched to Achraf though the classes became so much more enjoyable and we actually learned things we could then immediately apply to our lives outside of the classroom. Achraf is a really great prof and knows how to truly engage his students.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Amazigh communities

Course Department:
Instructor:
Instruction Language: Arabic
Comments: Really enjoyed the material, wish there had been more trips but we took one to an institute of Amazigh culture which was relevant. The professor often powered through using a lot of language none of us understood so I didn't have a full understanding of what was being said at any point.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Advanced Arabic

Course Department:
Instructor: Jawad
Instruction Language: Arabic
Comments: It was a class of three which happened in the afternoon - energy levels of students and teacher alike were always very low. I enjoyed Jawad as a teacher but have definitely had teachers whose methods have caused me to learn more. But I think that having a class of only three people would've made it difficult for anyone.
Credit Transfer Issues: