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This guide was created to help you navigate the different aspects of travelling abroad as a UCEAP student. All important aspects of attending university in your host country are addressed here, including academic information, extension of UCEAP participation, cultural awareness, orientation, transportation, finances and much more.
Remember to also visit the Participants section of the UCEAP website for important information and deadlines.
Click a heading below to see section content.
Student Finance Accountant
UCEAP Systemwide Office
6950 Hollister Avenue, Suite 200
Goleta, CA 93117-5823
Phone: (805) 893-4762; Fax: (805) 893-2583
Bookmark your Participants
program page. This resource lists requirements and policies you need to know before you go abroad, including your Predeparture Checklist, UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad
, Program Calendar, UCEAP Student Budgets, and payment instructions.
Study Center Abroad
Ms. Madiha DeRosa
Resident Director in Rabat
CIEE Study Center
#5, 2eme etage Agdal
Immeuble angle Avenue Fal Ould et Ave. de France
Rabat, Morocco 10080
(CIEE does not publish the telephone number)
Phone Number Codes
U.S. international code .........011
(dial 011 to call from the U.S.)
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UCEAP students are supported by UC's network of EAP offices at every UC campus and partnerships with UCEAP host universities throughout the world. Local CIEE staff abroad help students integrate into the culture of Morocco and provide assistance with academics, housing, safety, and other issues.
Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE)
300 Fore Street
Portland, ME 04101
The program is designed to help you develop both your language skills as well as your understanding of contemporary Morocco and give you insight into the country’s role in the Arab world and its ties to Europe. These goals are met through Arabic language study at the CIEE Study Center in Rabat and through coursework provided by CIEE at Mohammed V University. In addition, a variety of community engagement and field-based research opportunities are available. Students with strong French language skills can also take elective courses in French, adding to the overall cultural and linguistic experience.
Homestays are an integral part of this exciting new program, giving you a genuine, behind-the-scenes understanding of Moroccan life. Take advantage of this chance to prepare yourself for countless job openings in diplomacy, international business, NGO work, education, health services, and more.
Teaching methods involve a mixture of lectures, tutorials, seminars, and fieldwork. The guest lectures, field trips, and excursions are an integral part of the academic curriculum. All courses use the continuous assessment model and may include quizzes, exams, individual and group presentations, research projects, and papers. Most courses are for CIEE students only. Students are required to attend all class meetings and program functions.
This program provides a rare opportunity for students to be in a multilingual academic setting in North Africa. In addition to the required Arabic language and culture classes taught at the CIEE Study Center, you will choose from specific elective courses taught in English by faculty from both Mohammed V University and the Institut Agronomique et Veterinaire Hassan II. The classes will be taught at Mohammed V University but are not part of the regular university course catalog. Most CIEE elective courses are taught in English, although at least one elective course is offered in French.
You can study the Arabic language, both Modern Standard and Colloquial Moroccan, at your own level - beginner through advanced. At the same time, you can take courses taught in English or French in the subject areas of African studies, business, economics, Francophone studies, international relations, literature, Moroccan studies, political science, and religious studies.
- You are required to take a full-time course of study while abroad. Students enroll in language and elective courses for a total of 22.5-25.5 UC quarter units per semester.
You enroll in the Intensive Moroccan Colloquial Arabic Course during the first two weeks of the program. (4.5 units)
During the regular academic session, all students enroll in Modern Standard Arabic and the CIEE core course, Contemporary Moroccan Society and Culture. (6 units and 4.5 units)
In addition, students choose two CIEE elective courses. Students interested in furthering their language skills may choose to enroll in the optional Moroccan Colloquial Arabic course as one of their electives . (4.5 units and 4.5 units)
View course listings (at bottom of page) and syllabi (scroll to the right to open syllabi PDF)
The most important thing for you to understand is that you are concurrently enrolled in your courses both through CIEE and through UCEAP’s MyEAP Study List. Completing your MyEAP Study List is the only way for your UCEAP courses and grades to appear on your UC transcript. You are receiving direct UC credit, not transfer credit.
When making decisions regarding your academic requirements while abroad, do not follow advice from non-UCEAP students; they are are following different home-university policies.
Registering through CIEE: Signing up for courses
You may be able to pre-register for CIEE courses before arriving on-site. Your CIEE Study Abroad Advisor will notify you when details about the course registration process are available in your online CIEE account. There will be an opportunity to change your preliminary course schedule after you arrive, but pay close attention to any deadlines specified by CIEE staff.
Neither CIEE nor UCEAP Systemwide Office can assist you with questions about fulfilling home department requirements. You will need to contact your home UC department advisor.
Registering through UCEAP: Entering your courses into your MyEAP Registration Study List
Search the MyEAP course catalog to select courses offered by CIEE.
Include the correct number of UC units in UC quarter units (even for semester campus students).
The Systemwide Office reviews courses (especially subject areas and division) and finalizes Study Lists. Check your final Study List carefully, as it determines how your courses will appear on your UC transcript.
Not sure whom to ask for help?
UCEAP academic regulations/MyEAP Study List
- UCEAP Systemwide Office
Conflicts or confusion between UCEAP and CIEE general academic policies
- UCEAP Systemwide Office
CIEE course specifics and concerns
- CIEE on-site staff
Home UC college or department requirements
- UC departmental advisor and/or campus EAP advisor
Internships, Research & Independent Study
Students will receive information on internships, research, and independent study after arrival. There may be government restrictions on some research. Internships are not available in the fall semester
In Morocco, you may choose from a variety of volunteer activities with local NGOs, schools, and other organizations. Possible examples include projects with students who are visually impaired, mentally challenged youth, women’s groups, and Berber groups.
Extending UCEAP Participation
Extension is not possible in this program. To participate in two back-to-back programs (either a summer program and fall program or a fall program and spring program) you need to apply to both programs by each one’s application deadline and fulfill all pre-departure requirements for both. Make sure the program calendars do not overlap and that you can apply for the appropriate visas from your location at the time of visa application.
Learn about North Africa and the Middle East before departure. Keep up-to-date on current events by reading articles in newspapers, magazines, and journals.
Check the CIEE website for advice for international students. The CIEE and UCEAP websites answer most of the questions students usually have about the program.
The following is a list of resources invaluable to your predeparture preparation.
The family is the most significant unit of Muslim society. In Muslim society as a whole, the degree of social conservatism of a woman’s background may govern where—and in whose company— she may go and what she may do. A woman, Moroccan or foreign, who ignores societal conventions is open to social disapproval and may be inviting unwelcome advances. Women need to know where and under what circumstances to behave in a particular way without stirring unwanted reactions.
Muslim society is also conservative in areas of male-female relations, dress, religious identity, and alcohol and drug use. Unmarried men and women do not meet in private, especially in apartments. This is an absolute rule in the university dorms. In rented apartments, neighbors will complain to the landlord or even the police. Public displays of affection are unacceptable in this culture. Further, it is considered a sexual advance for a woman to speak to a man. Some tourists may get away with wearing informal attire, but they are in the country for a matter of days. Long-term visitors will be treated rudely, criticized, or harassed for inappropriate dress or behavior.
Dress conservatively, especially in public places. Long hair and untrimmed beards on men, revealing clothes on women (including sun dresses, short skirts, and shorts), and profanity are generally unacceptable in Moroccan society.
Women should not wear shorts; rather, it is preferable to wear skirts or dresses that cover the ankles or, at the very least, the knees, and long sleeves. If you have long hair, tie it up or cover it. Men should cover their shoulders and wear long pants.
Women who violate the dress customs are subject to disrespect and even harassment by Moroccan men.
Alcohol & Drugs
Islam forbids the consumption of alcohol, and you can get into serious trouble if you are found under the influence of alcohol.
According to the U.S. Department of State, Moroccan law defines drugs as any natural drug, including but not limited to hashish, heroin, cocaine, opium, morphine, cannabis or marijuana, or any synthetic drug without a prescription. The penalty for possession or distribution of illegal drugs in Morocco is the following: capital punishment with a fine, or temporary or life-long hard labor.
U.S. citizens violating Moroccan law can be arrested, fined, imprisoned, or expelled. If arrested in Morocco, U.S. citizens will be processed through the legal system, and neither UCEAP nor the CIEE or U.S.embassy will be able to provide students with legal representation or help.
Relationships & Sexual Orientation
Western women must proceed cautiously in relationships with Moroccan men and must keep in mind the significance of their behavior in the Moroccan social context. American women are often stereotyped as being sexually liberal or “easy” because their behavior would not be acceptable in an Moroccan woman. Be sensitive to social mores and adapt to a way of dress and behavior more in tune with the Moroccan culture. A male international student, meanwhile, may find that some Moroccan girls are willing to spend time with him on campus, but not off campus. This is because convention dictates that unmarried men and women should not mix freely in unsupervised social situations except in a few places, such as on the school or university campus, or in the workplace.
Public gestures of affection between two persons of the same sex that are perceived as homosexual behavior can provoke a strong reaction. Also, earrings on men are considered to be a sign of homosexuality. There is no gay rights movement in Morocco because homosexuality is illegal and rejected by both Islam and Coptic Christianity. For the crime of committing “disgraceful impudent acts,” the law imposes up to one year of imprisonment and a fine. Historically, when this law has been implemented with Westerners, they have often been deported instead of imprisoned. In any case, it must be stressed that homosexual relations are not welcome in Morocco.
Religion is a powerful influence on Moroccan life. Whether Islamic or Christian, most Moroccans take religion seriously, even those who do not practice regularly. Nearly all believe in the existence of God, and someone who says that he or she does not believe is regarded as strange and perhaps untrustworthy. Such phrases as shaa al-laah (God willing) and il-ham-du-lil-leh (thanks be to God) are heard frequently in conversations, and they are usually spoken with heartfelt sincerity. Show a healthy respect for attitudes toward God and religion. For example, joking about religion is an insult to devout Moroccans, whether Muslim or Christian.
Refrain from initiating conversations with locals that compare other religions with your own. However, if the subject does arise, express your opinions diplomatically, remaining open to hearing another view. Tolerance and respect for differences should guide any such discussions. Terms such as “fundamentalist” and “born again” do not mean the same in Moroccan society as they do in the U.S.
Official Start Date & Mandatory Orientation
The UCEAP official start date is found on the Program Calendar on the Participants page in the UCEAP website. Students are required to arrive at the correct location on the indicated date or be subject to dismissal from the program, per the UCEAP Student Agreement. You must arrive before orientation begins on arrival day. You cannot arrive after the official start date.
CIEE resident staff will meet students at Mohammed V International Airport and at Rabat International Airport on the official start date. You will be driven to the orientation hotel site – more details will be emailed to you by CIEE later in the pre-departure process.
Orientation in Rabat:
CIEE provides an introduction to the culture of Morocco and the survival skills you will need to enjoy both your homestay and your classes.
- Local field trips
- Cultural and social events
- Sessions on health, safety, and emergency procedures
- Meet and bond with other international students
- Receive guidance on how to register your courses with both CIEE and UC, to make sure you receive UC credit for courses taken abroad
- Learn about the many possible volunteer opportunities
- Arabic language study begins during the orientation
Participation in orientation sessions and events is mandatory; missing them could result in dismissal from the program.
The program start date can change due to unforeseen circumstances. You are responsible for making modifications in your travel itinerary to accommodate such changes. UCEAP is not responsible for any unrecoverable transportation charges you may incur for independent travel arrangements.
In order to be kept informed of program changes, update your address, phone number, and primary e-mail address in MyEAP. You are expected to check e-mail announcements from UCEAP regularly. For this reason, you must maintain an e-mail account that is accessible at all times, even when traveling. There are many free online accounts available for this purpose. If you know you will be discontinuing your present e-mail account, or if you know that your present account will not be accessible after departure from UC, investigate the available online options and set up a new account as soon as possible.
Do not ask other students to carry items of any kind abroad for you (laptop, camera, extra bags, etc.) and do not volunteer to do so for others. Airlines will ask you if you are carrying items for someone else and, if so, they will not allow you to take them. If you board the plane with the items, Customs abroad may charge you a high duty upon arrival. They will assume you plan to resell them, especially if you already have one of your own. This is particularly a concern with electronic goods.
Travel to Your Host Country
There is no group flight for this program. You are responsible to make your own travel arrangements directly to the program site. Even if you are on full financial aid you are responsible for reserving and purchasing your airline ticket. Purchase a changeable airline ticket; standby tickets are not appropriate.
Information about passports, visas, and other documents that are required for participation in this program is provided in the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad
and the UCEAP Predeparture Checklist.
U.S. citizens do not need a visa to enter Morocco. Your U.S. passport needs to be valid for at least 6 months after your date of entry. CIEE staff will assist you to get the required Residence Permit after your arrival.
Non-U.S. citizens must contact a Moroccan Embassy or Consulate in the U.S. to find out if they must get a visa before departure. Non-U.S. citizens are responsible to obtain a visa if required for their country of citizenship.
Contact a Moroccan consulate for information about taking cameras, computers, and other expensive electronic equipment into the country. Identify each item of your luggage on the inside and outside with your name, home address, and destination.
When traveling always carry your passport, visa, ticket, prescription medications, and money. Never put valuables in your checked luggage. Leave extra credit cards at home and carry only what is necessary. Luggage restrictions vary by airline. Most carriers have weight restrictions.
The UCEAP student budget does not include funds for the purchase of clothing abroad.
- Layered clothing (T-shirt, shirt, fleece vest, button and pullover sweaters)
- Lightweight jacket
- Warm socks
- Flip-flops, walking shoes, casual footwear
- One dressy outfit
- Bathrobe and slippers
- Beach towel
- Lightweight blanket
- Seat pad (good for train and bus travel)
- Travel-sized sleeping bag
- Empty backpack (to bring home items purchased abroad)
- Travel alarm clock and flashlight
- Heavy jacket or coat
- Small, lightweight gifts for foreign hosts and new friends (suggestions: CDs; T-shirts with city, state, or campus logos; UC pens or pencils; decals; baseball caps representing professional sports teams; California postcards, posters, or scenic calendars; or scarves)
- Antidiarrheal medication
Do Not Pack
- Medications that are illegal in Morocco
- Fragile items unless they are bubble-wrapped
Insurance for Personal Possessions
The UCEAP Insurance Plan
includes a personal property benefit. It is your responsibility to carefully review the benefits and ensure that the UCEAP policy and/or any parental insurance policy offers sufficient coverage for the items you will be taking with you. You may determine that you will need to obtain additional insurance for your personal belongings, especially for anything of high value such as a computer or camera. Obtaining additional insurance for personal belongings is your responsibility. AUC does not cover the loss of student belongings—even in university accommodations.
The average temperatures in Morocco are comparable to those in the American southwest, with hot summers and cold winters. For the most part, Californians are comfortable in Morocco’s predominantly moderate, dry, and sunny climate. If you suffer from asthma, bring a year’s supply of inhalers and other prescription medication.
Nearly all buildings are built to shut out the heat with thick walls, high ceilings, and shutters. This makes the inside cooler without air-conditioning in the summer; however, it has the same effect in the winter, so with no central heating, room temperatures in the winter fall well below 65ºF. Most students find it harder to adjust to the winter cold of Morocco than to the summer heat.
During the summer, comfortable, lightweight, loose (but not revealing) cotton clothes are coolest. In the winter, because there is no central heating, you will need to wear layers of clothes, even indoors. Fabrics for winter should be wool or wool-synthetic blends, nylon, cotton, and polyester knits—all washable if possible. Take cotton underwear, because synthetic fabrics are uncomfortable in any hot climate and they trap perspiration and promote infection.
A typical UC wardrobe with some minor modifications is adequate. Cleanliness and neatness are important. By California standards, Moroccans dress up, but you do not need a large wardrobe to dress appropriately. Nice jeans are acceptable for campus or street wear. Consider taking a suit or dress to wear to a disco or to a formal social occasion. You will need a warm winter jacket that is both washable and versatile (down and GORE-TEX products work well).
Take comfortable walking shoes. You will likely wear out several pairs of shoes during the year, since you will be walking a lot over the rough terrain of the streets. Shoes in special sizes (large or small sizes or narrow widths) are virtually impossible to find, and half sizes are unavailable. If you wear half sizes or have an uncommon shoe size, take a year’s supply of shoes. Moroccan sandals and shoes for men and women are moderately priced, but not sturdy or particularly comfortable.
Wool clothing tends to be heavier than woolens available in the U.S. Good quality socks are usually expensive, so both men and women should take plenty of their favorite style of socks. The bathing suits available in Morocco are expensive and flimsy.
You will be more comfortable on the streets if you wear long-sleeved blouses and skirts instead of pants. Even covering your head with a simple scarf will go a long way toward preventing hassles.
Dress pants and neat jeans (not tight) are common on campus, as are sweaters and skirts. Many Moroccan women take pride in being fashionably up-to-date by following Parisian and American fashion trends. Generally, women do not wear sleeveless blouses or dresses, sundresses, halter tops, shorts, tight jeans, form-fitting clothes, miniskirts, or clothes made of sheer fabrics in public. Such clothes may be worn indoors, at sporting clubs, or on the beach. On campus, daring fashions are worn by some women; however, off campus they attract unwelcome attention. By dressing and acting modestly, you can decrease the chances of being harassed. Women dressed in jeans are assumed to be tourists and attract more unwelcome attention than those wearing skirts.
Men generally dress as they do in U.S. metropolitan centers. Shorts are not worn in public (except for sports). Although men are beginning to dress more casually, luxury restaurants and hotels still prefer a jacket and tie for meals, and nightclubs require dress attire. A suit or jacket, good slacks, and a tie are appropriate for social or official occasions. In class, men wear shirts (no tie necessary) and pants or neat jeans in hot weather. In cold weather, they wear several layers of sweaters and long underwear. If you shave with a manual razor, take extra blades and shaving cream. Good imported razor blades are available, as are canned creams, but they are expensive. If you plan to take an electric razor, be sure it has dual voltage, or take a voltage converter.
The current in Morocco ranges between 220 and 240 volts alternating at 50 cycles per second (standard current in the U.S. is between 110–120 volts alternating at 60 cycles). The higher voltage can be stepped down to 110–120 by means of a transformer. Transformers are available in Morocco; U.S. retailers sell smaller voltage converters. Take dual-voltage appliances if possible.
The difference between 50 and 60 cycles is not significant for operating most equipment. Appliances such as an electric razor or hair dryer will run slightly slower. However, for appliances that utilize the alteration in current to produce a given speed of running (such as clocks or tape players), the difference of 10 cycles is extreme. Take battery-operated audio recorders or those designed to run on 50 or 60 cycles. Take rechargeable batteries for pocket calculators (at 220 volts, 50 cycles), since this size may not be available.
If you do not make round-trip arrangements, book a return flight with plenty of lead time once abroad. Study Center staff can refer you to a local travel agency for information on return travel. Flights to the U.S. fill up fast and economy-fare seats are booked early.
Understanding Your Finances
Your MyEAP Account & Budget
Carefully read the detailed Money and Banking section of the online CIEE handbook.
CIEE has set the following withdrawal deadlines and fees:
Withdrawal from May 1st, 2013 through August 18th, 2013: $ 300.00 Participation fee. No exceptions.
Withdrawal from August 19th, 2013 through September 2nd, 2013: $ 3,249.25 No exceptions.
Withdrawal from September 3rd, 2013 through September 28th, 2013: $6,498.50 No exceptions.
Withdrawal from September 29th, 2013 through October 23th, 2013: $9,747.75 No exceptions.
Withdrawal from October 24th, 2013 and after: No Refund. No exceptions.
(Third party withdrawal fees are in addition to EAP pre-departure withdrawal fees.)
Students have access to the Internet at the CIEE study center. There is a computer lab and wi-fi at the school. Some of the homestays offer Internet access as well.
Internet cafes are available in all cities and in some small towns. They are inexpensive for the casual user and at most of them it is possible to get a cheaper rate by signing up for a prepaid card.
CIEE highly recommends that you bring your own wireless-enabled laptop from home if you have one. Please be sure to insure your laptop before heading to Morocco, as CIEE is not responsible if it is lost or stolen. Additionally, any students taking a laptop should consider installing security/theft recovery software. One example of this software is Computrace LoJack
for laptops, made by Absolute software.
Mac support tends to be limited and expensive in Rabat.
Landline phones are not common in Morocco as they are expensive and difficult to install. Cell phones, on the other hand, are quite cheap and widely available, as are public pay phones. There are two major cell-phone companies in Morocco, Meditel and Maroc Telecom. It is possible to purchase a monthly cell-phone subscription; however, most people opt to use prepaid cards, which come in denominations ranging from 10dh to 2,500dh or more and can be purchased from any store. Incoming calls are free.
Cell phones in Morocco are all GSM and work just about everywhere in the country. European-bought cell phones usually work; however, American ones (even those that are multiband and unlocked) are hit and miss.
Pay phones are modern and require a prepaid card. These cards are available in various dominations for either domestic or international calls. It is generally cheaper to use these pay phones to make an international call than it is to make one using a cell phone.
The last option is to use a teleboutique. These small stores offer coin-operated phones and there is generally an attendant on duty to assist you. It is less expensive to make a call from a teleboutique than it is to use your cell phone.
Participants should note that it is more expensive to call a Moroccan cell phone from abroad than it is to call a landline phone.
Packages should be addressed to the CIEE Study Center in Rabat, but may be delayed at Customs.
Losses occasionally occur, so it is better to have packages sent by an express mail service rather than through regular mail.
All students are required to participate in homestays with host families where they learn about the hearts and minds of the community through the eyes of the local people. Families are carefully matched with students based on a variety of factors including family makeup, language background and proximity to campus. In many ways, the families represent the diversity of the Moroccan people.
Whether located downtown, in the older part of the city, or in newer quarters, homestays are providing students with clues to understanding Moroccan culture. This opportunity truly gives you a glimpse into the generosity, tolerance, and diversity of the Moroccan family. You will learn your homestay assignment on the last day of orientation.
Host families will provide breakfast and dinner on weekdays and additional meals on the weekend.
Carefully read the detailed Housing and Meals section of the online CIEE handbook. Homestays require cultural sensitivity and understanding and the handbook will explain many important points that you will need to know.
Morocco has an extensive ground-transportation system of buses, taxis, and trains. Rabat has inexpensive and reliable public bus services, which is how most students get from their homestays to the study center and back. There are also local “petits taxis” that are licensed to carry up to three passengers. These taxis often use a meter. Each town has its own particular color for petit taxis; for instance, they are red in Casablanca and blue in Rabat. Seatbelts might not work, and they cannot be used to travel between cities. "Grand taxis” are white Mercedes that use fixed urban or interurban routes. They can be crowded and uncomfortable.
Some students in the past have purchased bikes and bicycle helmets, but most either walk or take buses.
When traveling throughout the country, the intercity bus line CTM and the private bus line Supratours are recommended.
The train system is good and there is a high-speed train between Rabat and Casablanca. Female students should not travel alone.
The program includes a series of required and optional cultural activities and field trips in and around Rabat. Examples of local cultural activities include concerts and festivals; group activities in the Medina and Kasbah; field trips to the ancient ruins of Chellah and the Andalucian Gardens, and visits to local elementary schools and government agencies. As part of the language courses, students may practice their newly acquired language skills by visiting local markets and attending music and theater performances.
There is a 4-day academic visit to Marrakesh and Essaouria (a town on the Atlantic coast) where students partake in a seminar and a 3-day visit to Chefchaoune where students participate in community development activities. Other trips will include Fez, one of the medieval cities of Morocco. Trips and cultural events provide students with an opportunity to learn more about these culturally rich and diverse regions.
From Carthaginian settlement to Roman city to various Islamic rulers to French and Spanish protectorates to constitutional monarchy, the capital Rabat exhibits multiple influences while all of Morocco has a wealth of historical sites and famous gardens to visit. UCEAP students are encouraged to take part in as many optional activities as possible to gain a broad and informed understanding of their host country.
Students with Disabilities
Students with learning or other disabilities should inform CIEE of what services or accommodation may be needed as early in the pre-departure process as possible so appropriate arrangements can be made. There are wheelchair-accessible homestays. The classrooms at the Qalam Center for Arabic language study are not accessible but CIEE will arrange to use other classrooms for language study if needed.
While in Morocco, students with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from the United States. Businesses and institutions generally do not make special accommodation for persons with disabilities. Additionally, Moroccan authorities do not effectively enforce laws mandating access to transportation, communication, and public buildings.
Pedestrian sidewalks and walkways are limited, and when present, often end abruptly. Accommodations on public transportation are not offered for persons with disabilities. Pedestrian crosswalks are rarely established and not adhered to, creating risk for pedestrians traversing roads in both business and residential areas.
The UCEAP student budget does not include funds for recreational travel abroad.
You may choose from a variety of volunteer activities with local NGOs, schools, and other organizations. Possible examples include projects with students who are visually impaired, mentally challenged youth, women’s groups, Berber groups, the World Health Organization, and the World Bank.
Your UCEAP insurance is primary coverage anywhere in the world. Coverage starts 14 days before the official start of the program and ends 31 days after the last day of the program. There is no co-pay or deductible.
Morocco has adequate medical services available in the larger cities, but the quality of care diminishes elsewhere. The medical facilities and hospitals in Rabat and Casablanca can treat most general illnesses and can provide emergency trauma care. However, specialized care is not as easily accessible. French and Arabic are widely spoken by medical personnel; English is less common.
In the event of a medical emergency or serious traffic accident, immediate ambulance services are usually not available.
If there has been any change in your health—physical, mental, or dental—since you submitted your health clearance form to the UCEAP Systemwide Office, you must immediately notify the UCEAP Program Specialist.
Even with professional predeparture travel advice, vaccines, and medications, a person is not 100 percent protected against all diseases or injuries anywhere in the world. Practice healthy behaviors:
- Food and beverage precautions are essential to reduce chance of illness. Do not eat food from street vendors, unless you can peel fruits and vegetables, wash them carefully before eating. Drink only bottled or boiled water, or carbonated drinks in cans or bottles.
- Protect against insect and mosquito bites
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water to prevent many common travel illnesses
- Increase your awareness of cough hygiene or respiratory etiquette (such as covering your mouth when coughing); it is not only a courtesy, but if generally practiced, it will help reduce transmission of respiratory and influenza-like illnesses
Maintain good health and fitness while abroad. UCEAP students have noted that they needed increased stamina to adjust to the climate and to move through busy, crowded streets with few sidewalks or traffic signals.
If you feel sick or have a medical emergency, seek medical attention and contact the CIEE staff immediately. They can recommend a clinic to visit, provide information to complete a UCEAP insurance claim form, and assist if arrangements are needed with your professors for an extended absence from class.
Over-the-counter drugs that may be obtained from pharmacies located throughout large cities may be difficult or impossible to find in the smaller cities or rural areas. Specialty prescription medication may be difficult to locate even in Rabat or Casablanca.
Have enough prescription medications to last the duration of your trip, including inhalers or allergy medication.
Prescriptions must be in their original pharmacy container labeled with your name. Be sure that the name is the same as on your ticket. Don’t combine your medications into one bottle; take each type of medication in its own labeled bottle. Place all medications in a plastic bag for easier security screening. Follow security guidelines if the medicines are liquids.
Some medications commonly prescribed in the U.S. are illegal in other countries. Contact Europ Assistance (UCEAP’s assistance provider) at 1+ (866) 451-7606 before departure to make sure any required medications are legal.
Culture shock and homesick feelings are normal. They are usually transitory—lasting a couple of weeks—and do not imply mental illness or an inability to cope. Most students who experience culture shock function reasonably well under the stress and are able to keep up with the responsibilities of school and everyday life. It is easy to become worn down from physical and mental stress due to the vastly different environment.
Following are symptoms you should not ignore: Sleep disturbances (too much or too little, waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to go back to sleep, etc.). Dramatic weight fluctuations or changes in eating patterns. Unexplained physical symptoms. Difficulty in managing anger or controlling your temper. Constantly tired, without energy, being obsessive, memory loss. Unexplained sadness that doesn't go away.
Adjusting to a new environment can be a powerful experience for even the most seasoned traveller. Any time you move into a new culture, there are a different set of expectations and behaviors that apply.Think about the kinds of situations that might cause you stress in your new environment. To succeed, you will need to be resourceful, open-minded, willing to learn from your mistakes, and determined to stay.
Know the warning signs, learn some techniques and skills to manage stress, and reach out for help. The CIEE Resident Director has a list of medical facilities. They can assist you in finding a bilingual doctor or counselor to help you with emotional or mental health issues.
Common illnesses in Morocco are minor ones: allergies, sinus infections, skin infections, headaches, colds, diarrhea, minor injuries, STDs, and emotional problems. These illnesses may be compounded by life in Morocco because certain environmental factors in the country raise the risk or exacerbate the severity of illnesses and injuries.
Rabies is prevalent throughout the region (Rabies is present on all continents with the exception of Antartica.) If you are exposed to an animal that is known to have or suspected of having rabies, inform the CIEE Resident Director at once so you can receive post-exposure treatment.
You are responsible for your own health. Before departure, request a copy of your personal health record for your wallet, which includes information about your blood type and any allergies you may have. Carry your health record with you and present it to attendant physicians during an emergency. If your pre-existing medical condition has the potential to become problematic on your trip, consider wearing a MedicAlert bracelet.
Much of Morocco's surface and ground waters are polluted by raw sewage, fertilizers and industrial wastes. Highly polluted areas are in Fez and the Casablanca-Mohammedia. Drink recognized brands of sealed bottled water.
Mollusks from the southern coastline of Agadir to Sidi Ifni may be contaminated with heavy metals and sewage and should be avoided. Cook all food thoroughly and serve hot. Avoid raw, locally grown vegetables.
Exercise judgment and personal responsibility to protect your health, safety, and well-being and that of others.
U.S. embassy security warnings are e-mailed to you by the CIEE Resident Director. Monitor U.S. Department of State
warnings and statements on travel in Morocco and surrounding areas regularly.
UCEAP Travel Warning Policy during the program: UCEAP students who are visiting Israel are prohibited from visiting the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, whether or not Israel has closed the border to one or both areas. Students who travel to these areas will be dismissed from the program.
With the right information - and by thinking ahead - everyone can play a part in preventing crime. There are steps you can take to manage or minimize risk. Stop and think. Inform yourself of risks you can encounter while traveling.Talk to returnees and learn firsthand the things to avoid. Follow the CIEE staff advice and directions regarding safety and security matters, which can change depending on specific tensions or issues. Remain aware of your surroundings.
Living and traveling in an unfamiliar environment, having a limited understanding of local language and culture, and being perceived as well-off are some of the factors that can put you at increased risk.
Staying safe and secure on UCEAP is a partnership between you, CIEE, and UCEAP; it requires you to take personal responsibility for culturally appropriate behavior, exercising sound judgment, and abiding by UCEAP and CIEE policies and procedures.
You are responsible 24/7 for exercising good judgment to protect your health, safety and well-being. Essential behaviors include being aware of your surroundings, understanding how your conduct and actions may be perceived, and being sensitive to the impact that your behavior could have on your personal safety. When you remain aware of your surroundings your instinct will alert you to conditions or persons that are potentially unsafe. Trust your instincts.
All students are required to have internet access, to check their e-mail regularly, and to respond in a timely manner to the CIEE resident staff and UCEAP officials, as important security information and alerts will be relayed through e-mail in addition to cell phone and text messaging.
Photographing Sensitive Locations
Taking photographs of anything that could be perceived as being of military or security interest may result in problems with the authorities. As a general rule, travelers should not photograph palaces, diplomatic missions, government buildings, or other sensitive facilities and, when in doubt, they should ask for permission from the appropriate Moroccan authorities.
Generally, crime does not pose a significant threat in Morocco. Crime is higher in areas where there is a high concentration of people and tourists. Pickpockets and bag snatchers may target pedestrians, especially in larger urban areas. A common scenario is for two assailants to approach a victim on a scooter; the passenger snatches a bag or jewelry from the victim. Pedestrians walking alone in isolated areas, or late at night, are at greater risk for being targeted.
The most notable terrorist group in the region is al-Qai’da in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). To date, AQIM has not demonstrated the ability to establish a foothold inside Morocco.
Morocco does have an element of domestic terrorism. However, the primary focus of these groups is on government institutions and secondarily on Western and U.S. interests. Remain alert to local security developments and be vigilant with your personal security and report any suspicious incidents or problems immediately to Moroccan authorities and the U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
The government has put significant effort into fighting terrorism, making numerous terrorism-related arrests every year since.
Moroccan law enforcement officials are well trained, with many attending international training programs. However, the police are understaffed and in some cases underequipped. The police generally respond effectively to a report of a foreign victim of crime. This quick response and the familiarity of the police with the people and area they patrol often results in quick arrests of perpetrators. It is important that all crimes be reported in a timely manner.
All police officers speak French or Arabic, but English translation may not be readily available.
While you are traveling in Morocco you are subject to its laws even if you are a U.S. citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different. In some places you may be taken in for questioning if you don’t have your passport with you.
Demonstrations occur frequently in Morocco and are typically focused on political or social issues. During periods of heightened regional tension, large demonstrations may take place in the major cities.
There has been sporadic violence between demonstrators and the authorities (and sometimes, counter-demonstrators), but this has been the exception rather than the rule. All lawful protests require the authorization of the local police jurisdiction. This allows the police to establish the duration, route, and parameters of the protest. However, impromptu protests have arisen on university campuses, in city centers, or other locations where there are internationally-affiliated facilities and are usually in response to domestic issues. Unauthorized protests have been tolerated to a greater extent than they had been in past years.
Traffic & Transportation Safety
There are risks involved with road travel in Morocco. Different vehicles--including bicycles, scooters, donkey carts, and slower-moving utility vehicles--share the road. Driving practices in Morocco are poor, and excessive speeding, passing on blind curves, driving the wrong way down one-way streets, running red lights, and tailgating are very common. Vehicles often lack headlights, seat belts, and other safety equipment. Never assume that you have the right of way when you and another driver are on the same course.
Roads within and between the major cities are generally well-maintained; however, roadways can be congested, and traffic signals and lighting do not always work properly. Road signs will often only be in Arabic and French.
Roads in the rural areas or in the mountain regions can be narrow and poorly paved. Inclement weather can further exacerbate poor road conditions. Exercise caution when traveling in these areas.
Roadblocks set up by Moroccan police are common at areas where drivers are entering or leaving a city. Make sure you have your passport when traveling. These roadblocks are for security reasons, and foreigners with proper identification should have no problem getting through.
Avoid traveling at night, if possible. Streetlights are often poorly lit, and vehicles rarely have working headlights.
Public transportation, with the exception of city buses, is relatively safe in Morocco. Travelers should use commonsense awareness while traveling on public transportation, as petty theft is common. Taxis and hired cars with drivers are recommended for inner-city travel. Trains, express buses and shared taxis are all safe for travel between Morocco's cities.
- Avoid public transportation in rural areas and after dark.
- Keep an eye on your belongings when using any type of public transport
While public buses and taxis are inexpensive, drivers typically exhibit poor driving habits, and buses are frequently overcrowded.
The train system has a good safety record. Trains, while sometimes crowded, are comfortable and generally on time.
The Western Sahara is an area where the legal status of the territory and the issue of its sovereignty remain unresolved. The area was long the site of armed conflict between government forces and the POLISARIO Front, which continues to seek independence for the territory. A cease-fire has been fully in effect since 1991 in the UN-administered area. There are thousands of unexploded mines in the Western Sahara and in areas of Mauritania adjacent to the Western Sahara border. Travelers in the area should keep to well-traveled paths and avoid fenced-off areas where landmines are suspected. Exploding mines are occasionally reported, and they have caused death and injury.
There have been sporadic reports of violence in the cities of Laayoune and Dakhla stemming from sporting events and from political demonstrations.
Travel to the Western Sahara is often restricted. Contact the Moroccan Embassy in the U.S. for clearance requirements.
Females, especially those traveling alone or those who are clearly Westerners, may experience verbal harassment by Moroccan men. The risk of harassment varies by city. Modern cities, including Casablanca, Rabat and Tangier, pose the least risk. Harassment is most likely in medinas and poor neighborhoods. Verbal harassment should be ignored; some women who have responded to verbal abuse have come under attack.
- Travel with a trusted male companion.
- Do not walk alone in isolated areas or at night.
- Avoid direct eye contact with Moroccan men.
- Sit next to a woman or alone on public transport.
- When using a taxi or chauffeured car, sit in the back seat. Do not allow taxi drivers to pick up additional passengers.
- If harassed, continue walking and enter a populated establishment, such as a hotel, shop, or restaurant. Responding to the perpetrators and politely trying to get out of the situation usually only encourages more harassment.
- Be conservative in dress and behavior.
- Remain distant when dealing with Moroccan men, as friendliness is often perceived as flirtation.
- If you are touched or threatened by harassers, yell and seek help immediately ( men generally behave protectively toward women, including foreign women, and have been known to come to their defense).
- Ask female friends for advice.
- Learn a few phrases in Arabic that can be used to ask others for help with unwanted attention. Yelling or calling attention to physical harassment will generally scare the perpetrator away.
Never submit to behaviors that feel unsafe or uncomfortable. If it feels inappropriate or makes you uneasy, get yourself out of the situation. Never sacrifice yourself or your sense of safety for the sake of cultural sensitivity.
If you feel harassed, seek counsel from the CIEE Resident Director. Harassment issues may be difficult to identify abroad, where cultural norms are different than in the U.S. A fair rule of thumb is to assume that sexual harassment consists of any unwanted sexual advances and behavior of a verbal, visual, written, or physical nature in living arrangements and in educational or work environments. Read more in the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad.
Privacy Concerns and Tolerance
Privacy concerns are not handled in the same way as in the United States.
Sex outside of marriage is illegal in Morocco and may jeopardize your safety or your ability to develop mutually respectful relationships.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students may face a great deal of pressure and/or discrimination. Homosexuality is marginally present in Morocco. There is no visible homosexual community and finding individuals who are openly “out” is unlikely. While there is a perceived level of tolerance, homosexuality is illegal, and open displays of affection will attract unwanted attention.
Recently parliament addressed the urgency of drafting an anti-racism law, the history of racism and treatment towards black Africans stems back centuries ago to the slave trade, which Morocco was heavily involved in. Morocco's black residents include native Moroccans from the southern parts of the country, Saharawis, sub-Saharan migrants and students, and African-Americans and Europeans. A diverse group in the country for varied reasons, black foreigners often find themselves grouped together as a monolith, and treated differently from native Moroccans.
The National Council for Human Rights (CNDH) has been incessantly denouncing racism in Morocco and has continuously shed light on its dangerous repercussions at all perceptible levels. The CNDH has also been urging the government to reinforce judicial means deployed to combat racism against black people in particular.
UCEAP Contingency Planning
When possible, UCEAP will assist students in completing their academic program while minimizing adverse financial consequences. If you refuse to participate in a mandated security evacuation, or any part of a security evacuation, no UCEAP insurance benefits will be payable under the UCEAP policy.
CIEE has a fire extinguisher in the Study Center. The fire department is one mile away from the CIEE center. Firefighters respond very quickly.
Generally, some form of fire safety legislation exists in nearly every nation. Some are extensive and complete while others are extremely basic, if not primitive. In Morocco, there are no fire safety requirements for businesses, schools, or public places according to local law. Homes do not typically have smoke detectors, even the most modern ones.
The Rabat CIEE Resident Director and/or the UCEAP Systemwide Director will contact you immediately to ascertain your welfare and to provide information, instructions, and advice. Contact your parents, guardians, or emergency contacts to reassure them about your welfare. Depending on the emergency, the UCEAP Systemwide Office will post a message on the UCEAP website and provide updates to your emergency contacts.
If you are abroad
U.S.Embassy in Rabat
2 Avenue de Mohamed El Fassi
Phone: (212-537) 76-22-65
Fax: (212-537) 76-56-61
Emergency Services After-Hours: (212-661) 13-19-39
U.S. Consulate in Casablanca
8 Boulevard Moulay Youssef
Phone: (212-522) 26-45-50
Fax: (212-522) 20-80-97
Emergency Services After-Hours: (212-661) 13-19-39
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