You get out what you put in Past Review

By (Biology and International Studies, Oregon State University) - abroad from 09/01/2015 to 12/12/2015 with

SIT Study Abroad: Morocco - Multiculturalism and Human Rights

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned about what interests me. (Public Health) I learned about a whole different world outside the United States. I learned about the kindness and hospitality that most Moroccans exude. I gained an enriching experience traveling the country and seeing the different regions of Morocco. I learned how to express myself. I gained some of my closest friends. I met some inspiring people. I learned a lot about myself. It was the most worthwhile experience.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Contrary to some other reviews, I believe that this program did indeed provide a educational experience that was challenging. However, it depended on how much effort the student wanted to put in. A great example of this is the ISP, or independent study project which was required to complete the program. This project allowed me to incorporate the language skills and class lectures into my own research. If one put the time and effort into the project, it would undoubtedly reward you with positive and enriching experiences. One had to just take advantage of this opportunity.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

In my experience with the staff at the CCCL, they could not have been more welcoming and helpful in my endeavors in Morocco. Even with their busy schedules, they managed to find time to help me with any concerns that I had. It was not an easy job, especially with how many students there were in the program. But they helped as much as their resources allowed them to.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I found my housing situation to be one of the most enriching experiences of my study abroad experience. Granted, I was lucky enough to be placed in a household with very welcoming and caring individuals. I know that some people had problems with their host families, but that issue I believe can easily be solved.

* Food:

Loved the food.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

In my experience, I felt that after 3 months living in the medina of Rabat, I was indeed integrated into the community through my family as well as local Moroccans I met along my journey. Again, I believe the extent to which you are integrated relies heavily on the willingness of the individual to step out of their comfort zone and to converse with locals. However as a male, it was easier for me to do this then for my female friends. Which is something that should be taken into account.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

The third week into the program, I had a bout with a stubborn stomach bug that left me bed ridden for a few days. I contacted my institution telling them I was sick, and they set up an appointment for me with a local doctor. The local healthcare system obviously was not at the same level as I am used to at home. I did not expect it to be the same. I understood that Morocco is a developing country, and the fact that it takes longer to meet with a doctor isn't due to the anyone in the program, but due to the system itself.

* Safety:

For the most part, I felt safe in Morocco. As a male, I never had a physical altercation with anyone. However for the women in my program, the situation was very different. Many of them were harassed, verbally and some physically which really affected their experiences. For future students, I advise always having someone to walk home with.

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

I would definitely come back and study through this program. However my opinion differs from others in my program. Based on my own experience, I thought Morocco was incredible. The program is not perfect. But with certain improvements suggested by my peers during the course of the program, I believe that this program can improve and continue to provide positive and enriching experiences for future students.

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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 20
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Take advantage of meals at your home stay. Also, try to hold back on the pastries. It was hard but it is possible

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

In my experience, I was definitely encouraged to learn the language. My Arabic teacher emphasized how important it was to do the homework, and practice Arabic outside of class. Again, what you put in is what you get out of the program. If you challenge yourself, and try to learn the language, then this program offers plenty of chances to practice your language with the locals. Living with a host family also encouraged me to learn and practice the language. It all depends on how much work you put in.

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? French 3rd year
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? Practice with your family. Take the initiative and learn the language outside of class. Don't just hang out with just the students in the program. Talk with local Moroccans, engage with them. They will be some of the most interesting people you ever meet. Talk to taxi drivers. This was my favorite way of practicing Arabic and Darija.

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?
  • The culture
  • The Independent Study Project
  • The people
* What could be improved?
  • Provide more resources for the women in the program such as female counselors
  • Allow alternatives to living in the Medina
  • Allow for students to travel outside the country if it will benefit their mental health
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I pushed myself more with the language and also I wish I took the initiative to talk to more Moroccans.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

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The Outright Urbanite
A social butterfly, you're happiest in bustling cities with hip people, and took advantage of all it had to offer. You enjoyed the nightlife, and had fun going out dancing, and socializing with friends. Fun-loving and dressed to the nines, you enjoyed discovering new restaurants, shops, cafes, and bars in your host country.