Morocco: From the Mediterranean to the Sahara

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Morocco
Morocco
Morocco
Morocco
Morocco
Morocco
Morocco
Morocco
Morocco
Morocco
Morocco
Morocco

About

Experience African, Middle Eastern, and European influences on Moroccan culture. Begin in Morocco’s capital, Rabat, exploring the city’s diverse neighborhoods, street markets, and ancient medina. Take Moroccan Arabic, also known as Darija, language lessons, cook traditional meals, and try tapestry weaving and tablet writing. Discover ancient ruins and meander through the markets of Rabat, Fez, and Marrakesh. Ride camels across the sandy dunes of the Sahara.

Spend two weeks in a rural community, immersed in the daily life of a Moroccan family. Share couscous and mint tea with your family. Participate in a community service project, such as teaching English to children.

Meet with artists in Fez on your way to Marrakesh, where you will see storytellers, snake charmers, acrobats, and other performers in the famous Jamaa el Fna Square. Explore ancient cities along Morocco’s coast. Stroll beaches and visit remote villages in the High and Middle Atlas mountains.

Highlights
  • Language
  • Outdoor Activity
  • Community Service
  • Culinary
  • Homestay

Questions & Answers

Reviews

96%
based on 14 reviews
  • Growth 9.6
  • Support 8.8
  • Fun 9.6
  • Housing 9.1
  • Safety 9.4
Showing 1 - 8 of 14
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Jennifer
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

We went Morocco Mode!

This was my first time traveling to another continent. My first traveling over seas and my experience was great. This trip will be unforgettable because I learned all about a country I did not know anything about, not even where it was on the map. Not only did I learned their culture but I also lived it. My favorite part of the trip would be the homestay. Even if it was hard to communicate and the food was completely different, I loved it. I also made lots of friends from all around the U.S. and from Morocco. I do not regret choosing Morocco and I wish I can go back. For those people studying abroad I really recommend you do. My advice would be to take risks and always walk into everything open-minded and with a positive attitude. Do not choose a country you are comfortable in, choose a country that you have never heard of!

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
When we had to go out in the market and buy things. I had to communicate with the sellers in Arabic and I did not know Arabic very good so this was a big game of charades.
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Leslie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Morocco Summer Trip 2019

Signing up for this trip just seemed right I used reviews as a main source to make sure that I was making the right choice. I was the very first to leave the US and go to another country and my mom was very worried. We decided it was a one in a lifetime opportunity and how it would help me become more independent preparing me for college.(just to add on it really helped the juniors in my group write their college application essays) I recommend this trip and for the parents the leaders always took the best care of us and constantly would check in privately with us emotionally and would ask physically how we were feeling just incase we were feeling sick to make sure that we would be okay. I recommend the Morocco program it was amazing and I definitely made my group my second family we are extremely close.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?

Culture shock definetly, women or men would interlock arms with the same gender to show they weren't interested in meeting anyone.
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Mariam
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Memorable moments with my life-long family!

I applied to the Experiment in hopes of going abroad to learn a new culture and further my Arabic language. However, I not only achieved my goal but I gained much more from the experience. From the first day in the airport to the last day in Rabat, my group has stuck together. The group went from a group of strangers to family that stuck together through thick and thin. We helped each other when we were feeling homesick, ill, or upset. We made every moment in Morocco count with our jokes, memories, and amazing conversations. The team leaders were a part of our family; they made sure we were always safe, comfortable, and enjoying our time. Orientation made the adjustment to an unfamiliar country easy. Orientation was about a week long and it made our trip very clear, while addressing our concerns and goals from the trip.

My goal in The Experiment was to step out of my comfort zone. I was always scared of farm animals, but staying in the village allowed me to familiarize myself with sheep, goats, donkeys, and chickens. I also was able to go hiking, a sport I never thought I would feel comfortable enough to try. I don’t know how to swim, but I learned how to float and swim with a floatie. I believe that everyone in the group was able to accomplish this, especially during the homestay. We all learned how to communicate without being fluent in a language. We also had to use bathrooms completely different than the ones in America. The program definitely made me feel safe while I was stepping outside of my comfort zone and trying new things. The leaders checked in with all the students and made sure everyone knew the difference between unsafe and uncomfortable.

My favorite part of the Experiment was the host family stay. Each person was given a family in a small village. My family was very friendly and tried to learn about me. They would ask me about life in New York and my visits to Egypt. My family took me out to the main part of the village to shop and visit their friends. We also got to go to a different part of town for the weekly souq (market) day. It was amazing to see how culture plays a role in the groceries that buy and in the relationships between the seller and buyer. I also enjoyed going out with my group and their host siblings. We went out to the cafe to watch the African Cup games. We raced in the field, we went for small walks, and we visited each other for tea time.

The Experiment has opened me up to taking study abroad courses in college. After learning Darija and talking to my group leaders, who are fluent in multiple languages, I have decided to minor in Arabic. The Experiment has also allowed me to work in a group, showing me that I am a team player and a leader. The four week study abroad program, Morocco: From the Medittereanean to the Sahra, was the best summer abroad I have ever spent.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
I would highly recommend packing lightly, make sure you are able to carry your luggage up at least two flights of stairs before your departure. Although you are packing lightly, don't forget to pack a host family gift! Gift giving when entering a Moroccan house is very common. Host families highly appreciate any and all gift.
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Daniel
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

10/10?

When you’re online and you look for reviews, you want to find the ones that not only tell you the pros, but also the cons. This review, in particular, will not be like that; this is not because of bias or lack of perspective, but because there were no negatives. Sounds hard to believe, but hear me out.

We experienced Morocco from the point of view of a native and a tourist. We were able to see the country and it’s landmarks. We drove around the country and slept in several cities. But when it came to immersing ourselves, we could not rely on tourism. We traveled to the Atlas and we stayed with a family for twelve days. Those twelve days opened everyone’s eyes and truly induced a feeling of culture shock.

In short, The Experiment truly opened everyone’s minds through its thoughtful planning. I definitely recommend the experience.

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Kiley
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Best time!

I had the most amazing experience in Morocco. If you’re questioning if you should go, I would recommend it to the highest degree! Morocco has the most beautiful culture, language and people. Every corner I turned I felt as if I was learning something even more exciting or seeing something more beautiful. The experiment does a good job of providing an orientation into the country, which helps you to see many of the underlying social issues and aspect of the culture you are immersing yourself in. The homestay was by far my best part. If you are worried about staying with a new family- don’t be! The families are all so excited to have you and the connection you will have with them overcomes any possible cultural or language boundaries that may present themselves.

What would you improve about this program?
Better organization on an overall level.
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Aaron
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

An Unforgettable Experience

The four weeks that I spent in Morocco with EIL this summer were an incredible, once-in-a-lifetime experience. The other students were fantastic, like-minded individuals, and our in-country leader was fantastic. We were able to explore many different aspects of the country, from the urban to the rural, and I feel I came away from the trip with a genuine sense of the country's culture. Additionally, the homestay portion of the trip added an element of intimacy impossible to get from simply staying in hotels. I adored my time in Morocco with EIL and would immediately recommend it to anyone interested in Moroccan culture or simply looking to discover a richly diverse, exciting, and welcoming country in-depth.

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Anna
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

time of my life!

From the minute I stepped off of the plane to the minute I left, I felt so accepted. At the beginning, the novelty of it all was shocking, and surprising, and always so interesting to see how communities other than mine worked, but as I began to feel more comfortable, it grew into something bigger. I felt like a part of the country, even though there were people who would recognize me as American or a Westerner. But that all became part of the experience as I learned how people really lived, what they ate, how they talked, and the dyanamics of each family or city.
The cities were amazing, as expected, but the one that really stood out to me the most was Merzouga, or in other words, the Sahara Desert. It was an place I never thought I would have the opportunity to experience, and the whole thing was a dream. From riding camels and watching the sunset on top of the perfectly geometric dunes to the sleeping out under the stars, I could not have asked for anything better.
Then there was of course, the homestay experience in Brachoua, which I think taught me more than any other place I have ever been to combined. It was just so different from my normal routine or the one I had gotten used to since arriving in Morocco. But as the two weeks there went on, I felt more and more love for everyone I encountered, and an appreciation for all that they do.
I also made lifelong friends, so I would give this program a high thumbs up.

What would you improve about this program?
There should be more unity and planning among the group leaders, and from then, better communication to the group members.
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Jessica
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

An experience of a lifetime!

Throughout my life I have always been eager to meet people who come from a multitude of backgrounds different than my own, and learn about their way of life. I never wanted to hear just the surface, but rather obtain much deeper levels of understanding. There’s an old saying that goes, “life is like a book, and if you don’t travel and meet new people, you only get to read one page”. I wanted to listen to each person I met in every place we went so that it wasn’t just a sight-seeing trip or a trip where I only talked with the other Americans in my group. I was there to ask questions, to laugh, to smile, and to soak up as much culture and information as I could every moment of the day. That is what travel is about to me. And what better place to explore diversity and how it affects culture than in Morocco? It is a country characterized by migration, multiple languages, merging cultures, and pure beauty. Morocco was its own unique entity all together. Each region was very different, yet the country felt, to a significant degree, unified. This feeling of inter-connectivity and just being there for each other as a way to express pride for their country was undoubtedly beautiful. It was like nothing I have ever seen before.

The first thing I became aware of was the wave of kindness I felt. Whether it was from the bus drivers, airport workers, hotel clerks, street merchants, or children out playing soccer. Everyone I had the privilege to speak with was welcoming. Each person I met said “welcome to Morocco, you are welcome here at any time and in any place”. It truly made the trip special, and made me realize how much of an impact friendliness and an open mind can have on a person, because how much it affected my own personal travels. Upon first arriving in Rabat, and after a few Darija classes, I was soon bargaining in English, French, and Darija. In the restaurants I would greet the waiter in Arabic, order in French, and thank them in English. The whole experience of learning how to communicate with people and get to know them while using multiple languages was fascinating.

Simply listening made me more conscious of the things happening around me, and it was the best way to learn. It is obvious many people ask questions and then do not make an effort to listen to the answer. But my entire purpose of traveling, and the purpose of traveling as a whole, is to stop and listen. Listen and be in that moment. It made me appreciate the differences between the cities we traveled to, and hearing the sounds of the various environments is what made each place unique. In the Sahara, the wind blew and the sand glided across the dunes as the men leading our camels laughed into the night and spoke freely with joy amongst each other. I heard the men selling orange juice in Marrakech in the Jemaa el fna square calling and beckoning each onlooker over to their stand. In Rabat, I heard music played by groups of boys playing soccer, and in the village of Brachoua, the donkeys and chickens clucked and called all day. I listened to every word of each tour guide we had, and of all of the random people in the streets I spoke with. This to me is the best way to learn and digest all of the things another culture has to offer because there is no book equivalence. Everyday I was amazed by what I was able to discover, and every opportunity I had to experience something new that increased my understanding I took.

My time with my host family was a very special part of the trip and something I will cherish for the rest of my life. I was fortunate in that my host brother spoke English. However the rest of my family did not, yet I developed relationships I know will last a lifetime. I realized that a smile can go a long way. I helped my host sisters cook, clean, tend the garden, wash clothes, and more. I was able to observe their household dynamics, and I loved our late night dinners and time spent just sitting with each other, enjoying the day. The village we stayed in had so much kindness. Every family was close to one another and were incredibly supportive. This taught me so much about life and how money, a big house, cars, clothes, and lots of stuff are not indicators of happiness. All of the people in the village were always happy, even though they did not have a lot in the material sense. Each day was slow and no one ever became frustrated, angry, or was in a rush. There was patience between all people, regardless of age. The village taught me about another way of life and allowed me to become fully immersed in Moroccan culture. This to me is what life is about, developing relationships and bonds with people and places. This cultivates true happiness and love.

While in Morocco, I slept under the stars, saw the oldest university in the world, traveled through the desert, listened to traditional music, learned about Islam and Muslim culture, stayed with a welcoming family, drank lots of mint tea, appreciated artwork, and watched the waves of the Atlantic oceans crash to shore while the sun set in the distance. Every moment had something beautiful to offer. I bonded with a very diverse group of other students from America who especially made the trip remarkable. I traveled with an open mind and felt I had more cultural competency, intercultural and interpersonal skills, and awareness by the time the trip ended. It taught me to just appreciate what life has to offer and be happy and thankful in the present rather than focusing or being consumed by materialism. I learned about myself and experienced ample personal growth. Although I have always be resolute in what I wish my future endeavors to be, my experience abroad solidified this even further. Much of my experience in Morocco is difficult to articulate in the right words, because words do not do justice for some of the places I traveled. Life is not also measured by number and statistics and averages. Instead, everyday has a story, and every place has a purpose that is uniquely its own. Morocco had a little bit of everything, and the moment I had stepped off the plane I fell in love.

What would you improve about this program?
The only suggestion I have to make is to include a class about Islam during the orientation session because it is a cross cultural program, and religion is a key aspect of that.