Morocco: Mountains & Cultures High School Summer Program

COVID-19 Program Updates

Due to global health & safety concerns and travel restrictions related to the coronavirus, Where There Be Dragons has decided to offer flexible booking options for some of their upcoming programs. Learn more about COVID-19 updates to stay tuned regarding program information.

Video and Photos

About

Carefully balanced mounds of spices - red, green, brown and deep ochre - flank narrow paths winding through a living labyrinth. Wandering through a Moroccan “souq” (market place) framed by the ancient walls of city medinas, you are sure to think that you have entered another era.

Hiking along ancient trade routes and current nomadic enclaves, we experience a Morocco that few travelers encounter. Our time in remote villages immerses us in Morocco’s unrivaled hospitality; families welcome us as kin and our tea cups are never left empty. Throughout the country we engage with locals using our budding Arabic language skills. In the imperial cities of Fes and Marrakesh, the sounds of people bargaining in Arabic fill our ears as the smells of exotic spices fill your nose. Yet only a few hours hike takes us out of the cities and to a village of peaceful mud huts in the mountains.

Highlights
  • Explore the breathtaking Imperial Cities such as Fes and Marrakesh, losing yourself in the sights and smells of these ancient wonders .
  • Try your hand at rug weaving, shoemaking and stone or wood carving with the masters and students at the Artisan Centre in Azrou.
  • Build fluency in Moroccan Arabic (Darija) with interactive formal and conversational classes 2-3 times per week.
  • Trek through the stunning Atlas Mountains, camping out under the stars while learning the importance of expedition behaviour and leave no trace principles.
  • Examine the diversity that exists throughout Morocco: urban/rural, Arab /indigenous, mountains/desert, progressive/traditional, and influences of Europe, sub-Saharan Africa, and the Middle East.

Questions & Answers

Reviews

9.5 Rating
based on 2 reviews
  • Growth 10
  • Support 9.5
  • Fun 9.5
  • Housing 9.5
  • Safety 9.5
Showing 1 - 2 of 2
Default avatar
Mackenzie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Where There Be Dragons: Morocco

I had the amazing opportunity of going on the Where There Be Dragons Morocco Trip not too long ago. I walked into JFK having not met the instructors or students, yet minutes later, I knew that the next thirty days I would be spending with them would be unforgettable. The people I went with and met along the way, I continue to keep in contact with, and have no doubts in calling them some of the most genuinely wonderful people I have ever met. I could write about the trip for hours, but from counting shooting stars on the roof of riads, walking across the sand in Sidi Kaouki and capping off each trekking day with conversations I hold dear, I would unquestionably return to Morocco any time. I think about this trip almost everyday, and how it only furthered my love for travel. Morocco was a marvel that I would recommend to anyone and everyone.

Anna
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My Summer In Morocco

I wish I can sum up my experience in Morocco under one review, but I'm afraid I would physically need Moroccan mint tea or a recording of the sound of Moroccan Arabic in the souks for me to tell you what it is like to go there. So, I'll talk about one of my countless favorite moments.

When we were staying in Azrou, all with our own host families, I really learned the challenges of traveling but also the "type" of traveling I want to do. I lived in a house that had your traditional Turkish toilet, with just a hole on the ground and a bathroom where I took my bucket showers. I didn’t have my own room and shared it with three of my sisters. As someone who values privacy and independence, this was definitely an uncomfortable experience in the first days. None of my family members also spoke English, and just spoke Arabic and French, which was difficult especially when I had to advocate for rest time or alone time. However, this was just in the first days. After some time, I learned to be more appreciative of the discomfort. Not having anyone speak English in my home allowed me to utilize my phrase book and body language to communicate. I learned about my host sister’s passion for human rights, her beliefs on feminism, and her boyfriend, all in broken Arabic, English, French, and hand motions. In the same time, having to share a room with my sisters helped me become more aware of the amount of space I take, not just physically. I realized that often times, when we stay at a hotel or something, we just drop all our stuff and feel like we own the place. Even with the small amount of stuff that I had packed in one backpack, I still felt like I was taking a lot of space in staying in my family’s house. This realization, although small, has really helped me realize that for us to really immerse and learn about another’s culture, we need to pack less, take less space, listen.

As I write this I am in a café in Mexico for a trimester abroad, and my experiences in Morocco really helped me realize how I want to travel and be immersed. Despite my beginner-level Spanish, I feel confident trying out my Spanish because I know despite not having a shared language, there is always a way to communicate. I also pack less now and left more space for the important things I pick up during my trip. And with all the challenges that studying abroad entails, I am now more aware and appreciative of my discomforts because I know these are places for learning.

Dragons definitely has a unique way of traveling, something that I wish more programs can do. In just under 4 weeks, I was able to learn so much about myself, the culture, the language, and it all continues to be useful where I go.