This past week my study abroad program had the opportunity to spend five days traveling around Morocco with Morocco Exchange. I loved our time in Morocco and felt like every one of us learned a lot and grew as people because of the experience. I really hope to go back in the future and explore some of these places for a longer period of time, because I definitely wasn’t ready to leave! In this post I want to give you a short introduction to our experiences in each city we visited.
We flew into Rabat last Saturday. We immediately drove from the airport to our homestays and got to meet the families we would be staying with for the next couple of days. The first thing we did when we arrived was have tea with our host grandma. She spoke Arabic and French, so we were able to have a good conversation with her and get to know the family a little better. Afterwards, we walked around the medina and larger city with our host brother and got to know him better. We had a lot of fun our first night, complete with a fabulous homecooked meal and more delicious tea. The next day we spent exploring Rabat more, visiting the Mausoleum of King Mohammmed V (where I saw horses for the first time in a month I might add), talking to Moroccan students about their experiences, and visiting the Kasbah with more Moroccan students. This particular day was really fun for me because we saw so much of the city and had really great conversations with students our age.
Monday morning, we left Rabat early and drove to Sefrou. We spent the morning with Sefrou youth and an NGO exploring the medina and getting to meet with local artisans. We broke up into small groups for this activity, so we would be able to have more meaningful conversations with the artisans about their crafts like weaving, designing clothing, baking, etc. Many people told us about how they perform their job, what they love about their craft, and how they learned their profession. After these conversations, we ate a delicious lunch of rfissa, a traditional Moroccan dish, and visited a local hospital.
After a long day of traveling and visiting Sefrou, we spent Monday night in Fez. We had the afternoon free to explore a really large ancient medina and get to know the city a little bit. I loved walking through the small streets bustling with locals, merchants, and visitors like us. We had more delicious Moroccan mint tea when we returned from exploring the markets and then had dinner on the rooftop of a restaurant in the middle of the city. There was a beautiful view and the food was delicious.
Early Tuesday morning we drove to the Rif Mountains, a more rural area of Morocco, to have lunch and a discussion with a family who operates a farm. I think this particular day would have to be a personal highlight of the trip. We got to see a little bit of this family’s beautiful land, pick fresh fruit, and help prepare some vegetables before sitting down for a delicious homemade dish of couscous. When I say homemade, I mean they literally grew everything themselves, and it was easily the best couscous I’ve ever had. After lunch, we had more mint tea (my favorite!) and talked to the family about their daily life, work, family, and the surrounding areas of Morocco. I had so much fun listening to them talk about their relationship and how they split the household work, and I even managed to get a recipe for authentic Moroccan mint tea!
After lunch, we drove to Chefchaouen, also known as the blue city. We had a free afternoon to explore the beautiful medina, take pictures, and shop. I bought a lot of beautiful, locally made scarves, pillow cases, towels, and shoes that I am so excited to use myself and give as gifts to people back home. That night we went to dinner, and I tried chicken pastilla, another traditional Moroccan dish which was amazing.
We spent our last full day in Tangier. We had lunch at a women’s association, DARNA, and got to learn a little about the work they do in their community. We also had the opportunity to listen to a talk on immigration and migration specifically in Morocco. That afternoon, we explored the city with a couple of Moroccan students and had a lot of fun getting to know and talk to them. It was really valuable to be able to discover so many similarities even though we came from vastly different backgrounds.
I absolutely loved visiting Morocco and learned a lot (I was even able to pick up a little Arabic!). I would definitely recommend to anyone that they visit Morocco, and that they try to go with a program like the one I went on with Morocco Exchange.
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<p>My biggest passion in life has always been riding horses. I began riding when I was in the second grade and love it even more than I did when I started. I used to do a lot of creative writing about horses and riding, and this experience stimulated my love of writing in the academic sphere. I cherish any chance to combine these two passions in creative academic settings.</p>