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The Morocco 411

Since I’m writing to you from Madrid, it probably won’t come as a surprise that I’ve always wanted to study abroad in Spain. I’ve been here for about four months, and Africa had never been on my radar until I arrived. I was lucky enough to visit Tarifa, Spain’s southernmost tip, in July; from there, I had great views of Africa just across the Mediterranean Sea. And although I haven’t made my way there (yet), I’ve talked to some friends about their wonderful experiences. So if you’re interested in a trip to Morocco (Hint: you should be), read on!

 

First and foremost, each friend has told me that the people they encountered in Morocco were incredible, with a capital “I” and about 50 exclamation points. Some initial comments were:

 

  • “I wasn’t expecting such a warm welcome, especially to a huge group of foreigners, but we would be walking down the road and every ten seconds someone would say ‘Welcome to Morocco.’ Everyone looked genuinely happy to see us; it was such a great feeling.”
  • “I can’t stress how generous the people were. We were fed like kings, with the freshest food and drinks ever.” (Sorry Spain!!)
  • “I was shocked by how much easier communication was. The people there are so diverse and know a bunch of languages, since they’re so close to Spain and are used to dealing with tourists.”

 

After the first few comments like this, I was already convinced on wanting to go—and SO jealous that I hadn’t been there with them. Aside from these comments, each friend stressed the importance of respecting culture there. With each country or city you visit while abroad, it’s crucial to keep in mind the cultural differences you will face there, and adapt accordingly. So with this, here is a list of their advice/observations from traveling to Morocco:

 

  • “We had to be very aware of our clothing. Girls must wear long clothes; no chest, shoulders or legs could show.”
  • “Some things can seem initially surprising—for instance, women in rural areas have to follow more traditional rules like getting married young (ages 15+), never discussing sex/relationships, etc. It can seem strange at first, but you need to be aware of the religious/cultural beliefs/differences before going. The most important thing it to be open-minded and talk to everyone there, because there’s so much to learn.”
  • “Ask questions! Talk to people! A lot of the time, students are so overwhelmed and nervous to say anything that they miss out on opportunities to talk to wonderful people.”

 

If I learned anything from talking to my friends, it was just reaffirming (and amplifying) my desire to go—Hopefully you’re in the same boat! And if you need help finalizing your travel plans, check out BeMadrid’s site to learn more about our upcoming trip to Morocco.