ISA Service-Learning in Meknes, Morocco

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About

Known as the "Versailles of Morocco," Meknes is home to a beautiful blend of the Arab, Berber, and French cultures that comprise modern Morocco. The diverse and distinct districts of the city, such as the bustling Ville Nouvelle, and relaxing plazas and green spaces speak true of the traditional Moroccan lifestyle.

Throughout your program, you will create a portfolio of assignments and activities, including individual reflective essays, logs of hours, weekly journals, and group discussions. Through service at a local organization and guided reflection activities, our goal is to help you gain a better understanding of the local language, culture and community.

Each service-learning placement is unique, so please visit the ISA Service-Learning website to learn more about the specific placements and program options available in Meknes. We especially recommend our Meknes program for those interested in education and youth development or women's empowerment field placements.

Highlights
  • Receive personalized advising on service opportunities and program options that are the best fit for you. You will receive confirmation of the community-based organization you have been matched with before departure.
  • Begin your transition to daily life in your new country and culture on the Bridging Cultures Program, our in-country orientation.
  • Benefit from the ISA office, located in Ville Nouvelle, just minutes away from many ISA apartments and homestays. The office provides participants with a central place to reference travel materials and other books, practice their Arabic, or simply visit w
  • Have the opportunity to earn academic credit.
  • Demonstrate the professional, cultural, and personal competencies you acquired while on the program through reflection-based assignments and activities that make up the ISA Service-Learning Portfolio.

Questions & Answers

Reviews

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  • Impact 8
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SamathaVaughn
8/10

Women's Rights in Meknes

I interned at a women's rights organization in Meknes. The branch there is small, and focuses primarily on helping women who have faced different types of abuse. It worked to gain instrumental change in marriage and family laws in Morocco as well, and continues to help Meknassi women fight personal battles as well. The staff members are absolutely incredible. I became very close with them, as well as many of the women in the community who frequented the center. Every week, the center holds a cooking class. The women who attend each take a turn teaching the others how to make a specific dish from traditional desserts to snacks and savory meals. It is a time and place for them to bond over similar experiences and feel protected and comforted in a safe environment. I observed and participated in these classes each week, often getting Arabic and Darija lessons from the women in exchange for teaching them English. The language barrier was difficult at times - my ability to speak French wasn't always enough, but interacting with the women at the classes allowed me to learn to communicate in other ways, on a deeper level. I developed great relationships built on respect and mutual understanding that will last the rest of my life, and improve the way I work with others in frustrating professional environments. It also contributed to my teaching skills, and will definitely be important when I apply for a Fulbright Teaching Assistantship next year. Other days at the center were very slow. Because the Meknes branch is small (and I did not speak Darija), there was not always a lot to do, and sometimes it was difficult to find productive work for the required amount of weekly hours. The other intern and I resorted to organizing the library, and performed cleaning and secretarial tasks when we weren't teaching English or learning Arabic from the staff. We got to meet many inspirational women including the center's lawyer and president, who were both intelligent and fascinating. I learned a lot about differences in culture between the U.S. and Morocco, especially in terms of women's rights and societal roles.

How can this program be improved?
I would allow the interns to participate in more of the events. There were campaigning events where the staff members would go into neighborhoods to meet with women and spread their cause. It would have been cool to take part in events like that. Despite the language barrier, I always found it easy to communicate with Moroccans (men and women alike). The people are very expressive and communicative, and I think being out in the community, participating or even just observing the "real life" work of the organization would be a valuable experience.
Yes, I recommend this program

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About ISA Internships & Service-Learning

ISA Internships & Service-Learning provides participants unique experiential learning programs abroad. ISA Internships focuses on finding participants high-quality, customized professional work experiences in a wide variety of career fields. Through...