Although Arabic and / or Berber are most Moroccan's native language, French is widely spoken enough to offer French learners an opportunity to learn French while immersing yourself in a truly unique, North African culture.
Known for it’s cultural and geographic diversity, Morocco has enchanted travelers for centuries. From the large, lively medinas of Marrakech, to small Berber villages in the Atlas mountains, and an endless expanse of Saharan Desert, there really isn’t much that Morocco can’t provide you while learning French abroad.
When it comes to languages though, Morocco is a country of polyglots. Arabic, Berber, French, and Spanish are commonly spoken throughout the country -- though Spanish is more common in the north (near Tangier), whereas French is more prevalent further south.
Roughly 32% of the population speaks French fluently in educational and professional settings -- more commonly in cities than small towns -- which gives you plenty of time to learn and practice French and experience all the other breathtaking parts of Moroccan life and culture!
Go Overseas has everything you'll need to get started. Start by reading this expert guide to finding a French Language School in Morocco. Then read reviews and choose a Language School from the list below. You'll be well on your way to becoming a fluent French speaker!
Before searching for a course, create a goal for yourself. Do you want to further your French skills for professional development? Or are you more interested in immersing yourself another culture and discovering a new way of life?
Keep in mind that while Morocco is a French-speaking country, it’s national language - and most widely spoken language - is Arabic. Most language schools will be structured around teaching Arabic, not French. Studying French in Morocco means you must be opening to learning some Arabic and your drive will often be what determines how little or how much French you learn!
Language exchanges tend to be a lot more informal than other classes, which has its advantages (i.e. they’re usually free!) and disadvantages (i.e. they might not always be structured around language learning).
One way to meet individuals in the area you are looking to study is by signing up for an account with My Language Exchange. This is a simple, online forum where you can meet and exchange emails with someone who speaks your target language. (Bonus, almost everyone on the site wants to learn English, so you’re one step ahead!)
Most times, this won’t move past an online pen-pal exchange, but it is possible to look for those who would be interested in and willing to host you. You could also easily use this method if you were in Morocco and looking for a few informal meetings with locals. (Note: You should obviously use caution when communicating with potential partners online, especially if you are planning on meeting them! Never give out any personal or financial information.)
Private Language Schools
Some language schools, like Sprachecaffe Language Schools Plus, offer a variety of French language courses, ranging from standard to intensive to one-on-one lessons.
You also have to the option to choose your preferred accommodation! If you’re looking to get the most out of your language learning experience, be sure to opt for a host family stay so you can practice in and out of the classroom.
Volunteer & Language Learning Program
Another popular option is to try a volunteer & language learning program, Projects Abroad, which gives you the option to learn French full time (between 30 and 60 hours a week!) or part time (14 hours a week) paired with volunteer work.
Many American universities and organizations offer study abroad programs with Moroccan universities. These courses will often be for more advanced French speakers, hoping to improve and perfect their foundational French.
IES Abroad offers a few different study abroad programs in Rabat, which focus on Arabic and cultural studies and can be taken in French. If you opt to live with a homestay, you’ll be more likely to learn Moroccan colloquial French than a standard classroom French.
Be aware that these options can end up being pretty expensive when all is said and done. These prices often include things like travel and medical insurance, but it’s always a good idea to check exactly what you are paying for before you leave!
French is an official language of Morocco, but is more widely spoken in the southern regions of the country. Arabic and Berber are spoken throughout, and you'll hear Spanish in the northern region towards Tangier (which is the closest Moroccan city to Spain).
When searching for a French language course in Morocco, you'll have the best luck looking at:
- Rabat - Morocco's political capital
You can also find courses in Tangier, a major Moroccan city, as well as several coastal towns (which are known for having some great surfing, by the way...)
Costs & Funding
Living and learning in Morocco is relatively affordable, and a great option for French learners who want to avoid the high costs of living in France.
The average price for rent is about $250-$600 for a one bedroom apartment. A liter of milk costs around $0.79-$0.84. You can get a nice meal out for about $10 (seriously, try cinnamon chicken couscous and one of the ubiquitous boxes of avocado juice if you can!)
Keep in mind that certain programs which have fees often provide meals or other options for low cost living. For example, living with a host family means you have authentic meals cooked for you, usually included in the price of the homestay.
If you’re looking to make some extra money while studying, be sure to check with your program (if you’re with one). Some programs may have restrictions about whether you can work and study at the same time. An easy way to make a few dirham is to offer English lessons.
For French learners who are still in college, going to Morocco to learn French -- affordable as the cost of living may be -- can still be pricy. Many study abroad programs will offer scholarships. Language schools, however do not.