Third Family’s a Charm?

Brennan Weiss
September 23, 2014

“You have to move out of your house by the end of the week.”

It had barely been a week with my family in Rabat when I got this message from my IES staff. I was shocked. My first week in Rabat was smooth and enjoyable. I had no qualms about my decision to study in Morocco and I loved my family. They were hospitable (as most Moroccan families are), caring, French-speaking and enthusiastic about hosting me. There was nothing to complain about, unlike other students who vocalized their dissatisfaction with their housing placements.

My former host brother, Ismail, relaxes on the living room couch.

My family was hosting another student from another program, something that is explicitly against IES policy. My family knew this, but violated the rule anyway. So, when I was notified that I would have to be relocated to a new home stay, I felt like I was being punished for a violation of policy of which I had no part.

“If I am happy and my family is happy, why make me move?” I asked the IES staff.

My new spacious room with a desk and dresser.

My small, but cozy old room.

Their answer, in summation? Rules are rules.

Although I felt uncomfortable with how the situation was handled, as I voiced to the staff, in the end I am grateful that the IES Abroad team here in Rabat has been so wonderful. They are extremely kind, understanding and supportive. As for the staff that dictates the rules from Chicago, I believe a revision of certain policies needs to be taken, especially in situations where the student has no problems.  Thanks to the on-site staff in Morocco, I am again living with a tremendous family. Although I miss my first family, I still have the opportunity to visit them whenever I’d like. At least now I have the luxury of having more Moroccan contacts!  (I should also mention that my new home is not as hot as my old one.)

It has been a hectic first few weeks here in Rabat, but finally, I hope, I am settled down…oh wait. Never mind. It’s time for some travel! Agadir, here I come.

In honor of finally settling in my new home, the great travel writer Paul Theroux perfectly sums up what it’s like for me to be living in Morocco.

“Nothing is more satisfying in travel than to land in a place and assume an occupation, even a temporary one…to cease being a voyeur and have a purpose and a routine.” 

My first home stay parents pose for one final picture before moving out. (Note: My host dad doesn’t like to wear shirts)


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Brennan Weiss

<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">My name is Brennan Weiss and I am an aspiring international news reporter from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I am a Journalism major with French and Global Studies minors at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York. Since spending my freshman year of university in Florence, Italy, I&rsquo;ve grown to love adventure and travel. I hope my work as an international journalist allows me to navigate the world endlessly until every culture, land, and people has been met.</span></p>

2014 Fall
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Marist College
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