Volunteer Abroad Project Placements in Morocco with MCAS

Video and Photos

Sahara Desert
Sahara Desert
Asilah with friends
Asilah with friends
Chefchaouen sunset
Chefchaouen sunset
The best class ever
The best class ever
Love for Students
Love for Students
Translators at MCAS
Translators at MCAS

About

The Moroccan Center for Arabic Studies is an active community organization throughout the Medina and greater Rabat-Sale area. A city of 2 million, there are always places for volunteer activities, for students wishing to donate their time and effort to improving the city as well as their Arabic.

Volunteering options include Childcare where volunteers work with special needs children and children from disadvantaged neighborhoods through organizing and engaging in activities to entertain the children and enable them to develop cognitive abilities. Volunteers design activities for the children each day and these activities include physical development activities (music and movement, toys and games) language and literature, arts and craft (painting and drawing), and theatre. The aim is for volunteers to provide these underprivileged children with new enriching and exciting activities or teach English to kids and women as well on programs of human rights and women;s empowerment

Related Programs

Questions & Answers

Reviews

93%
based on 48 reviews
  • Impact 9.2
  • Support 9.3
  • Fun 9.5
  • Value 9.1
  • Safety 9.3
Showing 9 - 16 of 48
Default avatar
Zheng
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Great

This program is nice. The people here are really friendly and I enjoyed a lot. I visited three cities in Morocco in this journey, which are Rabat,Casablanca and Chefchaouen. I taught kids in Rabat to learn English and my co-workers help to teach other kids chinese culture like painting and Taiji. The kids are very eager to learn new things and they like us very much. In class, they listened to us teaching carefully and they asked questions after class. It is a wonderful experience in my 18-year life. And I met the principals and faculty in the school. It was really a great time we spent together. Morocco is really a special country. There are so many cats in every city in Morocco. Hope more people can know this program and come to have fun!

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
So many cats in the streets! And the scenery in Chefchaouen is really beautiful. Not only the blue city but also the endless mountains. It doesn’t seem like an African country at all.
Default avatar
Pei
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A great trip

The experience here is wonderful. Moroccan people are really nice. We’ve received many help from both strangers and our program staffs. Especially Ali, who had been giving us many travel tips which were of great help to our trip. The local people are so friendly to us Chinese people and say hello to us all the time. My friends and I took a road trip to the famous blue city. The place is really beautiful and we were like walking into a fairy tale and thanks to Ali’s helping us finding a driver, we made it to come back to Rabat and catch our flight. Last but not least, the most unforgettable experience here is of course the time we spent with the students. This is the first time that I technically teach a class. It wasn’t just us teaching them, but we were learning from each other.

What would you improve about this program?
It would be better if the accommodation has air conditioner.
Default avatar
jiang
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Truly good

I had a great time living there! I want to be back!Thanks.The best moment I spent there must be a sunny day.We went to the old castle.There we had a good time together.Many thanks for your kind hospitality and the honor you showed me during our delegation’s recent visit to your university。 It was nice of you to introduce me to so many of your famous professors and celebrated scholars at your university。 We had a safe and sound trip home。 Now we have resumed our work。
   Meanwhile, I hope you will someday pay a short visit to our university and give us some lectures on “Modern Western Economics”。
   Please have no hesitation in writing to me if you want me to do something for you in China。
   With best wishes

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
Arabic is so difficult.So it’s difficult to communicate with students
Default avatar
Frannetia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

“In life you get what you put in. When you make a positive impact in someone else’s life, you also make a positive impact in your own life.” MarcAndAngel

I came to Morocco as an intern to teach the English language. I chose Morocco because it was a Muslim country and I know first hand how knowing a different language is beneficial.
My mother came to the United States of America without knowing English and struggled so much to keep us afloat. I can still recall my elementary days where I would help my mom learn English so we can live better lives. Also, growing up speaking French and Creole has opened so many doors for me. I have many priceless friendships because of the sheer fact I can relate to someone by speaking Creole or French.
Also, as a reverted Muslim these past 3 years have been extremely difficult. On the daily I get mean looks, insults, etc by walking down the street in my hijab. I wanted to go to a country where I wasn’t persecuted based on my religion but instead accepted.
I took my chance and applied to Moroccan Center for Arabic Studies in Rabat, Morocco. I can still remember the anxiety I felt hoping the director accepted my application.
Two weeks later I got a notification that my application was approved and was put into contact with the director. Everything was going well until I thought about finances. I was accepted to be an intern but I needed to fund my trip by myself.
My next mission was to apply for as many scholarships that fund students to intern aboard. I stumbled across a scholarship that does exactly what I was looking for. For months I worked on my essays and had my 2 awesome professors look over my essays and critiquing. After I hit the submit button I felt so secure about my application and prayed I was a recipient.
“We regret to inform you..”. I was on the wait list. My heart shattered because I know what wait list means— a no. I of course notified the director of my financial difficulties and he was completely understanding. I really appreciate his kindness because he saw how much of a drive I had and fight my hardest to make the trip and gave me a chance.
Looking back I am so grateful for the support the director gave me while I was in North America. Every question he answered at his earliest convenience. He went as far as speaking with my mother to assure her I’d be alright and cared for whilst in Morocco.
I was met at the airport by a driver and ushered away to the riad I was to live in. I remember being in awe driving through the streets of Morocco. I made my dream happen. I didn’t give up when challenges arose and my family and friends helped me big time along the way.
I was happy to see a friend from back home who was also interning in Morocco as well but in a different focus area. After a brief rundown of the do’s and don’ts my friend and I walked around so I could begin to become familiar with Rabat.
For the first week in Morocco I felt so liberated and inpendent. Nearly everywhere I looked there was something new and beautiful. The people are so welcoming, even through my broken Arabic they took the time to speak with me.
I’m blessed that I was able to spend Ramadan (holy month in Islam) in Rabat. I felt that I was with the Ummah; all of us fasting for the sake of Allah. I never felt this sensation of truly belonging, it brings me to tears thinking of how vast and beautiful the Ummah is.
My friend and I were then assigned to a host family of 2. The very night we set our luggage down I had a 2 hour conversation with the mother. Even though we both couldn’t understand each other 100% I felt so welcomed by her. It was nice meeting someone that genuinely cared for me.
I will say that Rabat forced me to shed away my privileges that I didn’t even know I had. Things I thought were given I soon realized were a privilege/gift to others. Morocco has truly changed me for the better.
The first week I was starting work I was assigned a class of beautiful little children. Everyday I went in they made me smile; they were so eager to learn! I can still remember singing color songs and listening to fairytales.
After that week I was assigned to a class over children slightly older (8-10). I was truly amazed at how intelligent the children were at their age. They were skilled in Arabic, French, and intermediate English. Not only was I their teacher but they taught me a few things to polish up my Arabic.
Once Ramadan was over I was assigned a class of preteens (11-16). I love teaching them because from time to time we will have really deep conversations that really impacts my way of thinking. For example, I recall having a discussion about their thoughts on the music festival held in Morocco and its impact on the community. They are so socially aware it truly makes me smile.
I also noticed how seriously the English program is taken by not only the students but the parents and the director of the school. It’s a rare occasion if my students miss class. They’re always asking a million questions per second about rules in the language and the culture of United States! It makes going into work 100 times better because I know they’re taking it seriously. There’s kids that have been in the English program since they were young that are nearly fluent! This program is beneficial to both intern and student.
The director is very compassionate when it comes to missing days as well. There were times where I fell ill or had an injury and I was taken care of by my host family and the director. The support I received was out of this world.
My work hours were also very flexible, my day was over at 1pm. I had practically the whole day to explore Rabat and even Morocco if I wanted.
Last but not least reading these two negative reviews have left me is disbelief. To see someone that has come to volunteer/ offer their time to the community and lost the point of what they were doing was very disheartening. The employees/director of MCAS have been nothing but generally helpful supportive from day one. The teaching project has been such an impactful experience for both the children and I. I will leave with memories that will stay with me for the rest of my life. I have been touched for the rest of my life.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
If I could go do this all over again I would probably travel Morocco more often. Due to the really flexible schedule I had I would’ve been able to travel. It’s so affordable to travel around the country and everything is so convenient. I am still grateful that I was able to visit Morocco!
Default avatar
Asma
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Summer volunteering

My time volunteering at the orphanage was nothing short of amazing and a humbling experience. The facilities for both the orphanage and the volunteers accommodation were more than expected. The hosts and the staff at the orphanage made us feel very welcome as if it were our own country. My time spent with the children both normal children and special needs was amazing and eye opening to the differences in mine and their cultures. I was made to feel very welcome and safe and would highly recommend this programme to other students like myself especially nursing students. It was one of the most unique and unforgettable experience I have ever had. Many thanks to the MCAS team for all their support and guidance during our time abroad. Very hospitable and attentive.

What would you improve about this program?
In my opinion I couldnt think of anything to improve the program everything was good.
Default avatar
Chase
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The Droplet Betwixt Two Worlds

Where the edge of Hassan district meets the labyrinth of the Old Medina, one can easily pass by a hidden educational gem found at MCAS. Upon entering the building, climbing up the twisted French staircase, you would still not expect a school was there. This is the key of the environment of MCAS, it is small and compact. This translates into less students, but means that the individualization of the educational plan is by far superior to others. I was given considerable work on vocabulary comprehension, listening,
writing, and reading from a variety or sources such as news programs, newspaper articles, online matierals, etc. This overall comprehensive study tends to outweigh other classes I've had with others. Abdelsalam and Ali did everything they could to always make me feel welcome, develop my education, and even went out of their way to help me when issues manifested outside of school. You'll not only gain an education with MCAS, but dear friends as well.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
You may be nervous to actually use a foreign language with native speakers, but Moroccans are some of the most welcoming people in this sense. Hint: You can even get great deals in the Medina, by just attempting to haggle in their language.
Default avatar
Allison
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Great team

We loved our trip leaders/translators, so helpful and fun. It was so nice to have people who were so knowledgeable with us the whole time. We were able to talk with so many more local store and restaurant owners and hear so many cool stories. A good balance of fun tourist sites and more low key experiences in rabat. We learned a lot about islam and Moroccan culture including language food and architecture and saw some beautiful sites. Everyone was welcoming and helpful. As a young group it was always very cool to hear perspectives from young Moroccan women and men about their culture and educational experience compared to our own in the United States. Thanks Mcas for giving us an awesome beautiful place to stay and an amazing experience in Rabat!

Default avatar
Leena
2/10
No, I don't recommend this program

My Experience with MCAS

I had a seriously disappointing and discouraging experience with the Moroccan Center for Arabic Studies and its Program Director. Earlier this year and for 6 weeks, I volunteered as an English teacher at a Middle School in Rabat.

I started questioning a lot of things early on and decided I had to share my concerns with the Program Director. So I did, twice. Once on my own and once with a fellow volunteer. The outcomes of these conversations confirmed all my doubts.

To keep it as concise as possible:
- I experienced first hand the lack of structure, curriculum, and continuity in the teaching English program. I taught a group of mainly new students (meaning they had never been taught English by a volunteer, or anyone else for that matter, before) and wasn’t given any background or insights on the students and their level of English, what previous volunteers have worked on and accomplished or what the organization’s goals were. It became clear that MCAS is not involved in building a program that develops the student’s learning and ensures its continuity.

- I had serious doubts about where the money I paid to cover program costs was going, so I asked the Program Director for a breakdown. Unfortunately, he was unwilling to share any financial information and instead came up with ridiculous numbers on the spot, as well as claimed to have made a donation to the school on my behalf. The Program Director confirmed all my doubts – the amount I paid is unjustified and the vast majority of it is not going where it should be, to cover our accommodation, food, etc

- The Program Director was unreliable, absent and unprofessional throughout my time in Rabat. When I needed his help or support, he often let me down. It was clear that we, as volunteers, and our work were not at all a priority of his.

- Throughout my 6 weeks in Rabat, I was almost never informed of anything important I needed to know. I was not given any information or insight into the programs by the Program Director – not even during orientation, which was all about travel in Morocco. We were also never informed of the renovation work in the volunteer house that would last for weeks, with workers coming in and out of the house at any time.

- The volunteer house did not feel like a private, safe space for me and my fellow volunteers. The Program Director invited strangers over to the volunteer house multiple times without informing us. We never knew who was going in and out of the house and, at any point, who else was there. This made our stay uncomfortable, to say the least.

The Program Director's last words to me were “I hope I never meet someone like you ever again,” accusing me of having ulterior motives and going so far as to blame it on my nationality. I’m sharing this with you because I think it reveals so much.

If you are looking to benefit communities in Rabat and leave a positive impact as a volunteer, MCAS is not the place. It’s a business.

**I went through all of this with a fellow volunteer (Catharina), whose review you can read below.