Beautiful country, beautiful people, better if you're a man February 02, 2021

By (Middlebury College) - abroad from 01/27/2021 to 05/20/2019 with

Middlebury Schools Abroad: Middlebury In Rabat, Morocco

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It was definitely worthwhile! It taught me a lot about myself and about a part of the world I had never been to before.

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 administrators had a lot on their plate that semester but they remained patient and helped the students in any way they could. Achraf even helped me find an apartment once the program had ended :)

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My host family was extremely kind and made me feel welcome. It always felt awkward to use the kitchen myself however, so I basically never made my food, which means I had very little control over my nutrition.

* Food:

Moroccan food is great, but less so when you're vegetarian... Otherwise my host mother made delicious meals, and once I asked her to stop using mayo in my sandwiches it was even better.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I met 1 moroccan person all semester beside my host family: my assigned 'language partner'.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I didn't have any health issues that semester but two of my close friends did, and I think they could've been addressed better. It sounded like the clinics were not great either...

* Safety:

I felt mostly safe, although walking in the city at night was never pleasant. But walking in any city at night as a woman is never pleasant. I got harassed on the street every day, but it never escalated to a situation where I felt unsafe (except once early on in the program when men followed me and my two girl-friends in their car at night and one of them got out and started walking behind us). Stay on busy streets!

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

If I were to do it all over again, I would go to Jordan, not because I didn't like my experience in Morocco but because 1) I am French, so it was too easy for me to use it to communicate whenever I couldn't get my point across in Darija and 2) I would've wanted to be away from my 2 best friends who also went to Morocco in retrospect (to speak less English)

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)

We did not have a student budget per se, but everything in Morocco is quite cheap compared to the US so it was pretty easy to live on a budget.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? under 20$ a week
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? get a tram pass and don't be scared to bargain!

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

We were encouraged to use the language but the pledge wasn't necessarily enforced super well...

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? ARBC302
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? Don't study abroad with very very close friends if your goal is to learn the language better. It's too hard to dumb down your conversation topics with people you rely on for emotional support, and then you get into the habit of speaking English to each other. Talk to your professors or the program administrators in Arabic as much as you can!

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? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • the amazing week-end trips organized by the administrators
  • The host family system
  • Achraf's help whenever we wanted to organize something or had a problem
* What could be improved?
  • the academics
  • Meeting Moroccan students our age
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had known how to 'go out' safely and where in Rabat. There was 1 bar that we knew of near where we lived that constantly full. When I stayed over the summer, my friends took me to super fun clubs and bars I didn't even know of, in a totally different neighborhood (you can't access them via the tram, only by taxi).

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!

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Advanced Modern Standard Arabic II

Course Department: ARBC
Instructor: Jawad El Bakili
Instruction Language: MSA
Comments: This class was not very challenging and, to be frank, quite boring. We all liked the professor but the pace of the class was so slow, and he did not keep us very engaged. I still learned quite a bit, especially expressions and idioms, which were helpful for my writing.
Credit Transfer Issues: no issue
Course Name/Rating:

Colloquial Moroccan Arabic I

Course Department: ARBC
Instructor: Achraf Guaad
Instruction Language: darija
Comments: This class was great once Achraf started teaching it. I think the students had different levels of proficiency in Moroccan Arabic which made the class a little hard to cater to all students.
Credit Transfer Issues: no issue
Course Name/Rating:

Morocco, the North Mediterranean and the Middle East

Course Department: PSI
Instructor: Ahmed Bouz
Instruction Language: MSA
Comments: This class was challenging in a good way. I learned a lot about Moroccan foreign relations, and learned a lot of vocabulary on the subject. Homework were a combination of watching news clips and writing short papers each week about what we learned that week.
Credit Transfer Issues: no issue
Course Name/Rating:

Berber Communities of Morocco

Course Department: SOAN
Instructor: Hassan Belhiah
Instruction Language: MSA
Comments: The readings were incomprehensible, yet in class the professor talked to us like we were young children.
Credit Transfer Issues: no issue