Very Challenging, But Worth It! Past Review

By (Brandeis University) - abroad from 01/31/2016 to 05/14/2016 with

SIT Study Abroad: Morocco - Migration and Transnational Identity

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned a ton and I do think it was very worthwhile for me! Language, communication, politics, learning about another culture, confidence somewhere new... What you learn on this program is endless.

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.

Our site visits and guest speakers were all incredibly interesting. The framing of the two classes, though, were not very clear, and class days without guest speakers or site visits were entirely student-led with very little professional facilitation.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

This program gave an incredible opportunity to experience Morocco, though there is little support from the faculty in guiding the students through the experience.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I loved my host family. From what I understood, the majority of students on my program really enjoyed their experiences with their host families. It is also right in the middle of the old medina in Rabat, so you really get an immersive experience.

* Food:

Every Friday, the host families make couscous for the whole family which is a wonderful and delicious tradition. There are a lot of food vendors throughout the old medina-- the fruit is amazing, and there was a couple selling baked goods right by my host family's home which was incredible. Pizza and paninis are very popular for everyday food. Be wary of what may give you food poisoning though. Very important to be cautious in that regard.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Because I am visibly American and was learning Darija (Moroccan dialect of Arabic) for the first time, I never truly felt *completely* integrated in the culture. However, as I learned my way through the old medina in Rabat, as I explored other cities in Morocco, and as my Darija improved, I was able to feel very comfortable traveling and interacting with anyone in the country.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Fortunately, I never became too sick, though my friends who did had little to no help, and one was sent by themselves to a doctor who did not speak English. They had a Health Presentation at the beginning of the program as a part of the orientation, but beyond that, there didn't seem to be much accessibility to help. As I've said before, this program is an incredible opportunity to explore and learn about Morocco, but there is very little faculty support.

* Safety:

Mostly safe, though you are in a foreign country-- catcalling was extremely common, being followed sometimes happens for a little bit, you may see a fight break out in the street. However, in general, I felt very safe, though it is very much *your own* responsibility to make sure you are safe, I would not rely on faculty.

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

I would choose SIT Morocco: Multicuturalism and Human Rights or SIT Morocco: Journalism over my program because their classes seemed to have clearer intention, better professional facilitation, and more enjoyable excursions (except Migration's Amsterdam excursion was amazing!!).


* 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)

Morocco was incredible in terms of not having to spend too much 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

The program teaches Standard Arabic (Fus'ha) though you are immersed in the Moroccan dialect of Arabic (Darija). There is a lot of language use because class time is plenty and you have to use your Darija to get around (unless you know French).

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Beginner
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? I had not completed a program
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Do not worry-- you will learn the language and learn a lot about how to communicate in general! Enjoy it, it is really fun and a great skill to have for the future.

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?
  • My host family (and Morocco as a country!)
  • My Independent Study Project (and advisor)
  • Friends I made
* What could be improved?
  • Faculty Support
  • Facilitation
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? That there was not a lot of support from the staff inside or outside of class. Also, be prepared for non-Western toilets! Though in the end, these all helped me to grow and learn so much and I am grateful I did this program!