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I'm an American going to Morocco

Hi everyone! My name is Reuben, and I'm from Oklahoma in the US. I just stumbled across this forum while looking for information about Morocco. I will be...

  1. Hi everyone! My name is Reuben, and I'm from Oklahoma in the US. I just stumbled across this forum while looking for information about Morocco. I will be going to Morocco at the end of this month to study Modern Standard Arabic, and I'll be staying for at least 16 weeks. I was hoping some of you might be able to give me advice, or any sort of information that would be useful to me. I've never been out of the country, so I'm a bit nervous and pretty unprepared right now.

    I will be living with a host family in Rabat, and attending the Qalam Center for Arabic Studies.

    I also want to add its been quite an experience trying to navigate this forum as I don't know any French at all. =P

  2. All I can say is that Morocco is completly different from Oklahoma so be prepare to live in another universe....

    As for the advise, the only one I got in mind is about the language :

    The language used in daily life is not the same as Modern Standard Arabic (used in media) like it's an arabic based dialect called darija which is only oral.

    Take a look on the wikipedia article which is a good resumate of the actual situation.


  3. Good evening.

    I don't think there are any special warnings to give you, just keep in mind that you are going in a Third World country and as such people are generally less open-minded and educated than in the US. However you can consider yourself completely safe in Rabat, as long as you don't interact with random people in the streets, especially if you happen to get in some popular areas where thievery and swindles might occur. Since I assume you are not going to live alone in there, you will certainly be told everything you need to know about daily life in Morroco as soon as you arrive.

    Like it is said above, people speak a form of Arabic that isn't even close to Modern Standard, however most Morrocans have basic to advanced knowledge of the latter so you may very well use it to talk pretty much everywhere in the city (it is likely to impress people, which is a good thing) ; some French can help a lot too, but honestly, it is near impossible to learn in time unless you spend the rest of the month trying to understand teh nasty French conjugation :p

    I wish you a pleasant and fulfilling sojourn. Have fun !

  4. This is a bit of an odd question I guess, but can any of you tell me about squat toilets? I've only recently heard about them, and my school hasn't even mentioned them. I've seen pictures, and I've gotta be honest, I'm scared lol. How common are they? How hard are they to use compared to what I'm used to?

  5. LOL... that's the least of ur worries. come on Reuben, u r asking all these questions as if u going to afghanistan..lol....about the toilets, I am pretty sure ur host family has a regular seated toilet, u can only find them in old houses and some cheap coffe shops, that's about it. u will be going to Rabat, the capital, pretty safe and somehow modern. I grew up in the states, I came back to morocco after well over a decade. few tips from my experience are:
    people r touchy feely, I mean they like to shake hands, might seat close to u in a coffee shop...ect
    diarrhea!! now this is something worth asking about. most likely, u will get it the 1st few days, so make sure u bring with u something to fight it. it has nothing to do with hygene or food or anything else, u could get it in mexico, france or morocco. I had a bad one first time back to morocco.
    Taxis use meters, so u can see the amount u gotta pay( very cheap)
    food cheap, there r supermarkets.
    rabat is safe, except for ur ususal petty criminals, many of whome target cell phone users( snatching ).
    u will be surprised how many westerners u would see in the street in rabat.
    overall, just like any other capital. u can change ur money at the airport. or once in rabat at banks. here r a couple of sites of interest, the second one r job opportunities
    in english in morocco

    anything else let me know

  6. Squat toilets are pretty rare and slowly disappearing, most toilets are just like the ones you find in the US. You don't have to worry at all about material comfort.

  7. I gotta say thats definitely a relief. I know I'd be able to get by with them, but I'm pretty sure the culture shock is gonna be good enough without that added to it. :p

    I appreciate the information guys. But can you give me any advice on where to go or what to see? I'm going to have more free time than I originally thought, so what sort of stuff should I check out while I'm there?

  8. How much time would you like to invest? Are you an individualist, a globe trotter, or would you prefer to tour the Cities with an organized group? What are you seeking in Morocco? People, landscapes, recreation, ...?

    Edit: sorry, I didn't read your first post. Well, Rabat and Casablanca are definitely worth getting to know in detail. For everything else, you'll certainly get a lot of pointers from your hosts. ;)

  9. Thanks for all of the help so far!

    Today I just got a new iPhone, and I love it. However, since I'm going to be in Morocco for quite a bit of time, I have been considering getting a mobile plan for making local calls from a Moroccan company. I don't really know how that works, though. Do any of you happen to know how I would do that, or of a good company? I would like to just be able to swap the SIM cards out and still use my phone if possible.

  10. wooouuwww koulchi kay tirr fi langlisia :eek:

    Likes reçus Sallyna aime ça.

  11. The fact that you don't speak French will actually be a huge advantage in Morocco, since your objective is to learn and practice Arabic.

  12. Ahahaha!
    Dakshi, Lmgharba kytirou fiha...

  13. *cough*, he's rather going to learn our beautiful mix of French and Arabic called Darija. Later, he'll be wondering why nobody understands his gibberish in other Arab countries. :D

  14. Well, as long as I'm able to come back to the US and carry on a decent conversation in Arabic, I'll be set! I just have to impress people :p It's really very difficult to get to a good speaking level at the university I'm at now, because we don't have class often enough, and we don't have any native speakers.

    Honestly, I actually plan to try and work for the US State Department, so knowing a dialect like Moroccan Arabic could be very beneficial when it comes to my application. That would increase my chances of being put in the US Embassy in Morocco, which I don't think would be too bad :p

  15. So you hop to obtain a position in CIA : The traductor (listning several phone call and carrey out report ..., but you 'll hear kidayr a wlidi labass imta gha tji , jib chi mirikaniya , bessalama...)
    Sorry it's a jock...

  16. I concur. Immersion is key, if you want to speak Arabic (or Darija) fluently.

    Hey, not bad at all. But don't they have extremely selective tests at the State Dept. for that kind of position? I don't want to dampen your hopes, but knowing the process there first hand (well, nearly first hand to be honest), you'll need a very thorough prep to clear even the first hurdles.

    But still, it would be a nice goal. Good luck Reuben! I hope you'll succeed.

    Oh, and enjoy your stay in Morocco. ;)

  17. I am of Teacher my name is Amal (French, Classical Arabic and Moroccan dialect) i have a lot of experience and also host family for students so if you're interested or you just looking for friends here is my email contact me if you're in Morocco*** and also my web site

    NOTE : Pas de pub

  18. says on ur profile u only 22!! too young to be thinking bout working for the state dpt, don't u think?

  19. I would LOVE to be able to email you, or possibly contact you on skype occasionally, especially once I get back to the United States. It's going to be difficult maintaining my Arabic in a place where I never have to use it. Did you put the information in your post? All I see is "Pas de pub" and I don't know what that means.

    That doesn't seem too young to me, if I plan to make a career out of it :p. Being 22 means I'm young and healthy, completely able to travel around the world to places that old people don't want to go to :p.

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