Ana Maghribia (I'm Moroccan) Past Review

By (Classical Studies, Tufts University) - abroad from 01/28/2012 to 05/12/2012 with

SIT Study Abroad: Morocco - Field Studies in Journalism and New Media

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Since this was the program's first semester, my friends and I were sometimes frustrated, but it was so worthwhile. I learned the basics of journalism and I learned all about Morocco.

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.

I am used to a a greater academic rigor, but since this program was more vocational, the intensity was different. The program's challenge came from being immediately thrust into the life of a foreign correspondent. It was challenging at times, but very rewarding.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

This is an SIT program, but the in-country administration is a Moroccan organization called the Center for Cross Cultural Learning. They were very helpful and gave us a great program coordinator, Badrdine.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

This program allowed me to see Morocco from many different perspectives. In terms of housing, I lived with a host family in the capital city, a host family in a rural village, and by myself in an apartment in Casablanca. The village and Casablanca experience were fantastic, but the city host family experience was not as great. I enjoyed the experience, but my only request for a host family was that they speak French (which is commonly spoken in Morocco) and they did not. I also often felt like I was just a source of income rather than part of the family. Friends felt the same way about their city home stays.

* Food:

The food was delicious and I learned so much Moroccan Arabic vocabulary at meals. In the village we ate fresh vegetables right from the fields and hobz (bread) straight out of the oven. I still have urges to eat with bread rather than with cutlery.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I really lived in Morocco. In other study abroad programs that I've done I've come home feeling like I experienced life in the country on a greater than touristic level, but I feel like I really had a life in Morocco. On our field trips I saw the majority of the country and the myriad ways of life in its different regions. My journalism assignments got me out there among Moroccans. My teachers made me an expert on Moroccan history and current affairs. My families and Moroccan friends made me feel (and still do via facebook) a part of their world.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I became violently ill in the Sahara desert, hours away from civilization. Now I look back on it as such an incredible experience, but it was really awful as it was happening. Luckily, a friend was also sick so we were in it together. We had to wait it out through the night, but first thing in the morning one of the program directors took us to a small clinic. It did not look very sanitary and the man who treated us didn't speak English, but he definitely made us feel better and I've been fine ever since. Another friend needed a rabies shot in Rabat, the capital, and a greater number of doctors spoke English there.

* Safety:

I felt very safe throughout the program, but you have to be smart and pay attention. Moroccan men always commented when my female friends and I passed them in the street. They would generally just say things like "You are beautiful", but sometimes it was really frustrating and was only a bit scary once. The program prepares you well for potential safety incidents.

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)

Most things in Morocco were incredibly affordable. I have friends from the program who still cannot shop back in the states because they can't believe how expensive everything is as compared to Morocco.

* Was housing included in your program cost? Yes
* Was food included in your program cost? Yes
Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Less than $100
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? When you're living with your host family, you shouldn't really need to spend money on anything. When you move out for your Independent Study in Journalism (ISJ), looking for an apartment with friends can help save money.


* 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

Luckily, I spoke a decent amount of French before coming to Morocco. Some friends came without any language skills and chose to learn Arabic. It was really difficult for them to properly do interviews at first. I had to translate for many friends, but my language skills improved so much from it!

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? French 22
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? Whether Arabic or French, just go out and talk to people. Interviews for articles are a really good excuse to just go up to someone and start talking.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
  • Host Family
  • Apartment
  • Hotel
  • Hostel
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • Host Family
  • Other
* 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?
  • Learned the basics of journalism
  • Practiced French skills
  • Became an expert on Morocco
* What could be improved?
  • The organization of the program (it will be improved; this was only the first semester of the program)
  • More challenging language class
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew that the program wouldn't really be able to teach me how to work in my chosen medium (television broadcast).