Morocco was an amazing country, however if I could go again I would do it through a different program. I lived with a host family, volunteered with a women’s rights organization and took Arabic classes. My main complaint is that my expectations about what I was paying for were not met. I was told I would volunteer with an organization where I would take trips to Berber villages and actively participate in the group's work on women's rights. In reality, the owner of the organization was on vacation nearly the whole time I was there, and there was barely anything for me to do. Then the MCAS program director canceled the only trip I was scheduled to take without asking me, saying he thought it was too far for me to travel.
My Arabic lessons were also not impressive. I had to pay for individual lessons because there were no other students to have the group classes offered on the website. The teacher seemed to want to practice her English more than teach me Arabic, and she basically just read to me from my textbook, so I stopped taking classes after about a week and a half and tried to study Arabic on my own for my remaining four weeks.
When there was a misunderstanding with my host family, the program director immediately went to the family and told them that I (along with another volunteer living in the same family) had complained about them, without speaking to us first to clarify what was actually happening. This naturally made it very awkward with my family, and instead of addressing the problem maturely, the program director repeatedly insisted that it wasn't his fault. I had to ask him to please speak with the family again to clarify what had really happened, which thankfully he did, but things were never quite the same after that.
My departure was also somewhat upsetting. My host family accused me of not paying for all the days I was there, even though I had, and I had to show them my plane ticket to prove it. The program director contacted me the night before I left to retrieve the Moroccan phone I was borrowing, and with such little notice I was unable to coordinate a time to return the phone, so I said I would mail it to him. It wasn't until I had left the country that he told me he forgot to give me my certificate and plaque for the program. When I asked him if he could mail those to me, he told me no because it’s too expensive. Having gotten a better idea of the cost of living in Morocco while I was there, I knew I was being charged quite a bit for the program, which had turned out to be disappointing. I couldn't believe after all that had happened I wouldn't even receive my certificate and plaque because the program director was unwilling to pay the cost of postage. My experiences outside of this program were wonderful, but I think it could have been much more enriching if I had gone through a more legitimate organization.