Morocco

Projects Abroad

Over the summer, I went on a two-week high school special trip to Rabat, Morocco, with Projects Abroad. I can say with no exaggeration that those were two of the best weeks of my life.

To start off, Projects Abroad is extremely well organized. Throughout my trip, the staff supported me from the moment I stepped off the plane to the moment I boarded my flight home. They made everything easy, including transportation, exchanging money, getting a Moroccan sim card, and finding local cafes and wifi hotspots.

My host family was incredible. My roommate and I ate most of our meals with our host family in their big sitting room. We always looked forward to eating: our mom was an incredible cook! Breakfast usually consisted of fresh bread, jam, and a nutella-like spread, with fresh fruit as well. We usually had a late afternoon tea, and our host mom would invite her friends and family to these gatherings. We would munch on pastries and of course, mint tea, a delicious Moroccan specialty. For lunch and dinner, we usually had couscous or tagine, an incredible Moroccan dish. After dinner, we’d often partake in a game of Uno with our host brother, or would walk to local parks and cafes with our host sister. There was never a dull moment at home.

The volunteer placement was extremely enjoyable, and I felt like I was really helping the children I worked with. We worked at a care center in Salé, which was a type of summer camp for underprivileged children. We spent half the day working with the children, who ranged in age from four to sixteen. We played games with them, did arts and crafts, held sports tournaments, and even taught them some English. The children were energetic, positive, and eager to learn: overall a joy to work with. The other half of the day we spent working on small projects around the facility. We cleaned up the center’s gardens, built some concrete benches, and painted a mural. After we left, the center looked better than ever.

I made some lifelong friends on the trip: the other volunteers were amazing, interesting people who came from all over the world. Together (and with the help of the Projects Abroad staff), we explored the medina, went shopping, drank tons and tons of tea, took night walks on the beach, and even went to a Moroccan music festival. I would recommend a Projects Abroad trip to anyone who wants to experience a new culture, improve his or her language skills, and really make a difference in the world. I’ll never forget my time in Morocco.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Morocco
Posted: Jan 2, 2016
Overall:
10
Support:
9
Value:
9

Projects Abroad

I did the intensive language Arabic classes in Morocco with Projects Abroad for two months. The organization arranged a good host family for me that made sure that I had three full meals a day, did my laundry, and answered all of my questions. There were also at least three staff members that I could turn to at any time if I had any problems or felt ill. If for any reason, one of them was unavailable they would let you know promptly and the length of time that they would be unreachable. Five days a week for three hours a day I had one on one Arabic classes in the private residence of my teacher. She was very inviting and always willing to provide me with extra assistance when needed. Overall I had a wonderful a wonderful experience and I would love to use the organization again to travel to another country.

Program: Study Abroad
Location: Morocco
Posted: Nov 17, 2015
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Projects Abroad

I volunteered with Projects Abroad in Morocco for spring break as a college student. It was an incredible trip, and i regard it as one of the most important in my life. All the volunteers on our trip got along really well. Our program coordinators were absolutely amazing and I am so thankful for that. Going abroad to Morocco was something that my parents were worried about because of safety, but I did not feel unsafe there. Staying with a host family was a really memorable experience because I got to practice a language I am learning. I would completely recommend Projects Abroad because they are organized and effective in addition to engaging and adventurous. The price was a factor, but I think that you are paying for a lot of the things that ensure your organized, easy and safe trip. Well worth it.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Morocco
Posted: Jul 12, 2015
Overall:
8
Support:
10
Value:
8

Original Volunteers

For everyone who's thinking about volunteering with them, DON'T DO IT!!! They stole my money!!

They force you to pay everything in advance and advertise on their website that they will give you back a refund when you don't use all your days/weeks. THIS IS A LIE! They owe me so much money and never gave it back to me. I've been emailing them lots of times and I keep getting the same response. When I call them there's no anwser. And my money? I don't think I will ever see it again.

All I can recommend you is to not volunteer with them because they are thieves and they don't have any integrity at all!!!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Morocco
Posted: Apr 7, 2015
Overall:
1
Support:
1
Value:
1

Cross-Cultural Solutions

An ideal program for anyone who wants an all-encompassing travel and learning experience. Volunteering with CCS Rabat allows participants to learn, volunteer and travel in a safe, culturally vibrant, wildly hospitable country. For Americans especially, deepening our understanding of Arab and Islamic culture has never been more important than it is today. The staff both at the CCS home base, as well as at volunteer sites are extremely knowledgeable and professional and become family to all volunteers. All CCS Rabat program coordinators are multilingual and have many years of experience working with volunteers from programs such as Peace Corps.

Staff lead Arabic classes, classes in the history and practice of Islam, Moroccan culture and even Moroccan cooking! Morocco is beautiful, has all every type of climate; snow peaked mountains, deserts and tropical coastlines. It is easy and safe to travel on your own (guided by the expert advice of CCS staff!).

The CCS program allows volunteers to feel as though they are making a difference, while being completely immersed in a rich and complex culture. Two years after completing my volunteer work with CCS Rabat, I still keep in touch with staff and volunteers. I would recommend this program to families and individuals alike. Rabat is an amazing city with something for everyone and the CCS Rabat staff is wonderful!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Morocco
Posted: Aug 8, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Cross-Cultural Solutions

This was my second volunteer trip with cross cultural solutions and I loved it even more than the first. Overall I feel extremely safe traveling with this program and I think it is an excellent way for less experienced travels like myself. I feel as though they do an awesome job of showing you the highlights of the country while also giving you insight into the culture beyond just the tourist attractions. This is definitely a great program to deal with.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Morocco
Posted: Aug 3, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Cross-Cultural Solutions

What an enjoyable, amazing experience I had as a Cross-Cultural Solutions volunteer in Rabat, Morocco. Home Base was so comfortable. That entire staff was always so accommodating. It was very comfortable, I always felt safe, and any questions I had were always answered. It was really a pleasure to volunteer teaching English. While working with each student and school administrators it was a great opportunity to share in cultural stories, and have fun during the entire process and time there. Although in a volunteer-teaching role, I learned so much!!

What a beautiful place and wonderful people; and I look forward to returning. I feel so fortunate to be able to volunteer in general. But the opportunity to volunteer abroad and have exposure to different cultures reminds me of our sameness, and also how much bigger our purposes are here. I am humbled and blessed.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Morocco
Posted: Jul 20, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Cross-Cultural Solutions

I just graduated from James Madison University in May. I was planning on taking the summer to travel and spend time with family. My older sister had volunteered in Thailand and Brazil with Cross Cultural Solutions, so I decided to look into their programs. I had never done a volunteer trip like this before, but did spend a semester abroad in Florence, Italy and consider myself a “well traveled” woman.
Despite the apprehension that my family and friends had that I was going to a predominately Muslim country during a time of war and unrest in the Middle East, I spent two weeks in Rabat, Morocco! I too had a lot of anxiety before departing, mostly concerning my safety. It was also going to be a bit of a unique experience, because I visited during Ramadan, one of the most religious times of the year. However, these feelings were quickly quelled when I was greeted at the airport by our program director Mohamed Mhmmoudi , and when I arrived at our home base in Rabat.
Our home base was clean, comfortable, and in a very safe neighborhood. We had a guard 24 hours, and were quickly informed about how to stay safe in the city. We were told what taxis to use, Arabic and French phrases that would be of help to us, and the general location of all things. During our orientation, the staff was extremely helpful and knowledgeable about where to eat, how to act, and our placements. They were open and honest with us about everything! Within the first twenty-five minutes they asked us who wanted to go to the Eastern Sahara for the weekend and ride a camel. All of us shot our hands up, and Mohamed organized a trip for us with transportation, accommodations and a tour guide all taken care of! It was easy, and is one of my favorite memories from the two week time spent in Morocco. On the way to the Sahara we stopped to see monkeys on the road and met Nomads. I truly felt like it was something out of a National Geographic article and an experience I will never forget! Orientation was thorough and helpful. The staff made me feel right at home, along with the other volunteers.
The food was delicious and no one during my stay there got sick. The water was all filtered and everything was clean, which is something that is not a given in some countries. We were served three meals a day with lunch being the biggest. There were plenty of options and a variety of different dishes to choose from. They also catered to dietary restrictions such as gluten free, vegetarian, or vegan. There was a grocery store right down the road from our home base, where we could shop for snacks as well. The home base had a separate refrigerator for volunteers, if we wanted to keep some of our own snacks. This worked very well, and no one ever took others food etc. we all respected one another’s stuff. Personally, I can tend to be a picky health nut when it comes to food. I am going to miss the delicious fresh cuisine they served us, especially couscous Fridays and all of the fresh fruit! I did get a few of the recipes, so I will be able to recreate them in the states! We also had two cooking classes while I was there, which were great. We got a very good understanding of how much passion and emphasis they put on meals. In addition, I visited during Ramadan, so it was fun to learn all about the traditional food they serve when they break fast.
The home base was incredibly clean, safe and gorgeous! Our room were cleaned everyday, and we got clean towels whenever we asked for them. I did not feel uncomfortable and or out of my element at all. I had two other roommates and they were very respectful of my belongings. The home base also had locks and safe places to keep any valuables such as a computer, and passports. However, I never felt the need to lock anything up. I often had my laptop sitting on a table while I left to volunteer for a few hours. I am a huge runner, and was nervous I would not be able to exercise while I was there because of security issues. Luckily, I found a running buddy the first day (a fellow volunteer) and there was a super safe park that we ran to and around every morning. We ran down a street inhabited by embassys and royal families, so there we guards all along the way. They quickly recognized us, and we would say hi to them every morning. Again, I felt safe and secure. However, we did make sure we were respectful of their culture and wore long running pants and a long sleeved shirt.
I loved my placement, and did feel like I was making a difference. For the first week I was put in a children’s hospital. I played with the kids and family members while they were waiting for treatment etc. The children were incredibly affectionate and loved to do crafts. I could tell the mothers also appreciated someone else occupying their children (giving them a bit of a break). The second week, I taught English and was thoroughly impressed with the ability of the children to soak up all the information I handed to them. The kids ranged from ages 6-15. At times, it was challenging because there were a lot of different levels from beginners to more advanced students. However, I learned how to adjust to this. I had never had any teaching experience prior to this, but the staff helped and supported me along the way. Abdellah (CCS Staff in charge of our placements) was constantly checking in with us making sure we were happy with our placement and if we weren’t what he could do to change that.
I believe the CCS program in Rabat, Morocco was absolutely incredible. I had a bit of apprehension going to a predominately Muslim country, when it came to my safety. However, I soon learned that the CCS staff and fellow volunteers were there to make me feel as safe and comfortable as possible. I learned an immense amount about Morocco, and about the Muslim culture. I also felt like I was truly able to extend myself to others in my volunteer placement and hopefully teach them a bit more about my culture and the English Language. As an American Citizen I can proudly say that we need more programs like this in Muslim countries! We need now more than ever to educate ourselves on Islamic beliefs and values. We also need now more than ever to immerse ourselves in Muslim countries, to understand them, and encourage them to understand us.
A HUGE THANK YOU TO CCS for giving me the opportunity to explore Morocco, learn, and give back to another culture!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Morocco
Posted: Jul 14, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Cross-Cultural Solutions

This was the best experience of my life! I loved every minute of it. The staff at CCS is incredibly supportive and made me feel very comfortable about traveling to Morocco on my own. Once I arrived at the house I felt extremely welcomed and immediately felt at home. The volunteer assignment I had was really rewarding and I did not want to leave when I had to. In addition to the volunteer work we were given Moroccan cooking lessons, city tours, history lessons and Arabic classes so I felt like I really knew a lot about the country when I left. There was still time to do things on your own and you are welcome to travel over the weekends if you are staying longer than one week. I cannot wait to plan my next trip with CCS!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Morocco
Posted: Jul 1, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Cross-Cultural Solutions

This was my first volunteer vacation, and with Cross Cultural Solutions. I went with my sister-in-law who had done two other programs with them in China and India. I booked only three weeks in advance after reviewing the information online. Their preparation paperwork matched the program exactly, and their were no surprises. The house was very clean, the food was very fresh, healthy and local. The staff was very pleasant and helpful in anyway possible. There was 24 hour security at all times, so no need to feel unsafe. I was not personally prepared for my teaching duties, but found both the logs and materials very helpful to pave the way thru the week. Thought the schedule was great with the teaching in the mornings, then the cultural activities in afternoon which were alternated each day between in-house and field trips to sites in the area. When traveling in free time, both the staff and other volunteers offered logs, advise, and knowledge as where to go and stay which was really helpful. I would highly recommend a volunteer vacation with Cross Cultural Solutions, and Morocco was a breathtaking place full of color, culture and spirit which I will carry with me for days to come...

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Morocco
Posted: May 5, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

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