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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.
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
Local UCEAP Support
Campus EAP Office
The Campus EAP Office coordinates recruitment, student selection, orientations, and academic advising; and serves as your primary contact during the application process.
UCEAP Systemwide Office
The UCEAP Systemwide Office establishes and operates programs and coordinates UCEAP administration for all UC campuses from its headquarters in Goleta, California. You will work closely with the following Systemwide Office staff:
Program Advisors provide academic and operational program information to you and your campus as well as administrative support for all aspects of your participation.
Program Specialists manage the logistics of the program. They coordinate document requirements, visa application instructions, health and safety precautions, acceptance and placement by host institutions, arrival and onsite orientation, and housing arrangements.
Academic Specialists advise on academic policies, review courses taken abroad for UC credit, and document your registration, grades, petitions and academic records.
Student Finance Accountants assist primarily with UCEAP statements, program fee collection, and financial aid disbursements (in conjunction with your campus Financial Aid Office).
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'
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
See the CIEE Handbook accessed via your CIEE Polaris account for full contact details.
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. 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 prestigious faculty drawn from various local and international universities. 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 24-25.5 quarter/16-17 semester UC units per semester (5 courses).
You enroll in the Intensive Moroccan Colloquial Arabic Course during the first two weeks of the program (4.5 quarter/3 semester UC units).
During the regular academic session, all students enroll in Modern Standard Arabic and the CIEE core course, Contemporary Moroccan Society and Culture (6 quarter/4 semester UC units and 4.5 quarter/3 semester UC 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 quarter units/3 semester UC units each).
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 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
There are several steps involved before the grades you receive will be posted on your UC transcript. Grades must be submitted to the UCEAP Systemwide Office, reviewed and signed at the UCEAP Systemwide Office, transmitted to your campus, and then processed at the UC registrar.
Seniors should especially consider these issues to make sure they do not require grades sooner than what may be possible. No individual expediting is possible until the end of the 90-day window, regardless of graduation or graduate school deadlines.
Grades are usually available early February.
For general information about grades, see the Academic Information
chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad.
Students will receive information on internships, research, and independent study after arrival. There may be government restrictions on some research. Academic 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 in the Program Calendar on 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.
Travel to Your Host Country
The UCEAP program budget does not include funds for recreational travel abroad.
UCEAP strongly recommends purchasing changeable round trip fares, which will allow you to make changes to your return flight for a fee. Carefully research airfare rules prior to purchasing a flight. Standby and courier fares are not appropriate. Plan for this expense. Neither UCEAP nor the Financial Aid office will reserve or pay for your ticket. If you are on financial aid, you will need to purchase a plane ticket before you receive a financial aid disbursement.
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.
Financial Aid Students
Your financial aid package is based partly on the UCEAP Program Budget for the program. The estimated round-trip airfare amount is based on the cost of a changeable student fare to your host country. If your independent travel costs are greater than the airfare estimate in the UCEAP Program Budget, notify your financial aid counselors. Neither UCEAP nor the Financial Aid Office can guarantee that the additional cost will be funded by financial aid.
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.
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
Students who are granted DACA are strongly encouraged to consult an immigration attorney to evaluate the risks of potentially being unable to re-enter the United States and any impact that participation in UCEAP might have on any deferred action application. If you are undocumented and have not been granted DACA, we strongly encourage you not to leave the country.
The UCEAP Program Budget does not include funds to purchase clothing abroad.
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.
- 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
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.
Insurance for Personal Possessions
Consider having additional protections for your property, as in spite of your best efforts, it is still possible to experience loss, theft, or accidents that will damage your belongings while traveling. Talk to your parents and analyze their family homeowners’ insurance to determine whether the items brought or bought while abroad are covered by their policy.
UCEAP's travel insurance policy offers limited personal property coverage. UCEAP strongly recommends you to examine the details of the UCEAP travel insurance benefits and to purchase additional property insurance coverage, especially to protect high cost items such as laptop computers, MP3 players, and other valuables. Review the policy carefully before departure and determine if it provides adequate coverage for your possessions before you experience a loss.
You may decide to purchase additional coverage, especially for high-value electronics (e.g., computer, tablets, camera, etc.). If you decide to do so, purchase supplemental coverage before departure because most theft occurs in the airport or while moving into housing. The host university does not protect student belongings—even in university accommodations.
You are responsible for your own personal property. You can safeguard your belongings from damage or theft by locking your room and securing money, travelers checks, jewelry, passport, and other possessions. Use logical precautions to safeguard valuables. Avoid wearing expensive clothing or jewelry and going to questionable parts of the city, especially at night or when alone. Minimize your vulnerability by staying in control of your drinking and your behavior. Do not invite casual acquaintances or strangers home.
UCEAP strongly recommends purchasing changeable round trip fares, which will allow you to make changes to your return flight for a fee. Carefully research airfare rules prior to purchasing a flight. Standby and courier fares are not appropriate. Plan for this expense. If you do not make round-trip arrangements, be sure to book a return flight with plenty of lead time once abroad. Flights to the U.S. fill up fast and economy-fare seats are booked early.
Most airline tickets are good for one year only. When buying round-trip tickets, purchase a ticket that allows changes to the return date.
The estimated airfare amount in the UCEAP Program Budget is based on the cost of a changeable round-trip student ticket.
Understanding Your Finances
It is important that you carefully read all of the information available in the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad and discuss it with the person who will assist you with your finances while you are abroad.
Understanding your finances before, during, and after your program is crucial to having a successful time abroad. The following list outlines just a few of the many things you will need to know before departure.
Detailed information on the following topics can be found in the Money Matters
chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad
- Contact information for finance questions
- How to estimate the cost of your program
- Budget instructions and information
- Who Can and How to make payments to UCEAP
- UCEAP student account information(what fees do I pay to UCEAP and what fees do I pay out of pocket?)
- Banking before and after arrival
- Fees and penalties
- Loan information
- How financial aid works while abroad (how do I get my financial aid from my home campus and how are my fees paid?)
- Various forms (e.g., direct deposit, etc.)
Your MyEAP Account & Budget
Your MyEAP Student Account is similar to your UC campus financial account. It will be available as soon as you are selected for your program in MyEAP. You can make payments through this account using e-checks or credit cards (MasterCard, Visa, American Express, or Discover). The fees that you owe UCEAP will be applied to your account after your program pre-departure withdrawal date, which is listed in MyEAP. For the amount due to UCEAP prior to fees being posted on your account, refer to the UCEAP Program Budget and Payment Schedule located on the second page of your UCEAP Program Budget
. Program fees are subject to change.
Your UCEAP Program Budget lists the fees you will pay to UCEAP and an estimate of the personal expenses you will need to plan for. It does not include the cost of recreational travel or personal entertainment. Review your UCEAP Program Budget frequently. The Payment Schedule is on the second page of the UCEAP Program Budget.
- Download and print your UCEAP Program Budget and Payment Schedule.
- Note the deadlines on the Payment Schedule.
- Give the UCEAP Program Budget and Payment Schedule to the person responsible for paying your UCEAP bills. Sign this person up for Third Party Authorization on MyEAP so they can make payments online.
Refund of Credit balances and Financial Aid Disbursements:
If you are signed up for Direct Deposit on your UC campus, it is not linked to your MyEAP account. You must sign up for eRefund with UCEAP to receive direct deposits from your MyEAP account. For more information, see the UCEAP eRefund Instructions
Carefully read the detailed Money and Banking section of the online CIEE handbook.
Students will be assessed the UCEAP Withdrawal Fee in the amount of $500.00 as well as any third party and/or program specific fees if they withdraw after the pre-departure withdrawal deadline for their program.
CIEE (3rd Party) withdrawal deadlines and fees:
Withdrawal from May 1, 2016 through August 20, 2016: $ 300.00 Participation fee. No exceptions.
Withdrawal from August 21, 2016 through September 4, 2016: $3,556.75 No exceptions.
Withdrawal from September 5, 2016 through September 30, 2016: $7,113.50 No exceptions.
Withdrawal from October 1, 2016 through October 26, 2016: $10,670.25 No exceptions.
Withdrawal from October 27, 2016 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.
The UCEAP program budget does not include funds for recreational travel abroad.
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. CIEE can arrange to use accessible classrooms for language study as 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.
For more information:
Leaving your host city for more than 24 hours?
You are required to complete the online sign out through your MyEAP account.
Click on Travel Signout and complete all required fields. During an emergency (abroad or in the U.S.), it is important for UCEAP officials to know how to reach you so we can help you.
The UCEAP program budget does not include funds for recreational travel abroad.
For more information,
The conservative Moroccan government enforces a ban on homosexual acts, making it dangerous for LGBT individuals in most of the country. Social pressure forces most LGBT individuals to conceal their orientation, though an advocacy group works unofficially to help serve the needs of the LGBT community.
As in most African countries, homosexuality is illegal in the kingdom. LGBT issues are not publicly discussed, and there is no recognition of transgenderism. Both men and women convicted of homosexuality are subject to a fine or imprisonment for up to three years.There have been relatively few incidents of enforcement over the past five years. Anecdotal evidence suggests that individuals arrested have been locals, and most have been given short sentences.
The culture tends to be more accepting of male homosexuality in private, but female homosexuality is uncommon and unacknowledged. Female homosexuals are viewed as weak and incapable of fulfilling their societal role as child-bearers. Both male and female homosexuals face ostracization and harassment. Most LGBT individuals conceal their sexual orientation and engage in heterosexual marriages.
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.
Know Before you Go
While abroad you are automatically covered by the UCEAP Travel Insurance Policy
. Coverage begins 14 days before the official start date of your UCEAP program term. Coverage ends 31 days after the official end of the UCEAP program term. Your UCEAP travel insurance does not include coverage for preventative care, checkups, and vaccinations.
The UCEAP travel insurance policy is not the same as your campus or private insurance and it is does not meet ACA requirements for domestic coverage as required by U.S. law
. Read details in Benefits at a Glance
. Familiarize yourself with the coverage, exclusions, and eligibility criteria. Your travel insurance policy number is ADDN 04834823. It is underwritten by ACE American Insurance Company.
There is no deductible or co-insurance but the travel insurance works on a reimbursement basis. You can submit a claim for a refund of covered expenses to the UCEAP insurance carrier.
Do not assume that if you seek medical care abroad for a covered illness or injury that the local hospital will bill your insurance. Generally, hospitals around the world, including the US, do not bill insurance companies (unless there is a special arrangement with a local hospital in your UCEAP country). It is the patient's responsibility to inquire with the hospital, at the time of service, and make arrangements to pay any outstanding bills. Payment for medical services abroad is ultimately your responsibility.
For more information refer to your Pre-Departure Checklist, Insurance tab, or the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, Insurance chapter
For Questions about Coverage, Benefits and Claims
ACI at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Know Before you Go
If you have questions about the UCEAP travel insurance coverage and benefits contact, ACI at email@example.com
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 an insurance claim form, and assist if arrangements are needed with your professors for an extended absence from class.
- Understand your UCEAP travel insurance terms of coverage.
- Although you should always travel with a copy of your prescription from your U.S. doctor, many pharmacies in other countries will only fill prescriptions written in that country. If you need a refill while abroad, you must see a local doctor to get a similar prescription that a pharmacy will fill. Note: If the visit to the local doctor is considered preventive care, it will not be covered by the UCEAP travel insurance. It may be covered if you are insured through your campus health insurance plan. It will be critical to have a letter from a U.S. doctor during this appointment explaining your diagnosis, treatment, and medication regimen, including the generic name.
- If you need to find out if this appointment would be covered by the UCEAP travel insurance, contact ACI at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the UCEAP travel insurance, refer to your UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, or your pre-departure checklist, Insurance tab.
- Two classes of medicines – narcotics and psychotropics – are under the control of international law. This covers any medicine that can have an effect on the Central Nervous System (CNS) and the potential to be abused. The narcotic class mostly relates to analgesic opioids and their derivatives (e.g. morphine and codeine) which tend to be highly regulated. Psychotropics are all those medications likely to be used to treat mental disorders such as anxiety, depression, and psychotic conditions.
- If you plan to purchase medication using the UCEAP Travel Insurance coverage, you must fill and pay for medication prescribed by a licensed physician when coverage is effective (14 days before the official start of the program). Do not assume that your local pharmacy knows about the UCEAP travel insurance policy. It is not the same as your campus health insurance coverage. You will need to pay for the medication and submit a claim to the UCEAP insurance.
- Find out whether your medication is legal in your UCEAP country.
- If intending to travel with prescription containing controlled substances, review international agreements governing the transportation of medications across borders check the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) website. The INCB is responsible for international drug control. If traveling with controlled substances, you must have a letter from your doctor. Generally, amphetamines (e.g., Adderall, Vyvanse) are illegal in other countries. Talk with your doctor to switch you to another medication.
- Talk to your doctor to see whether he/she can prescribe an adequate supply of your prescription medication to last through the end of the program. Ask your doctor how to adjust your dosage depending on time zone changes.
- Get a letter from the prescribing physician on letterhead indicating your diagnosis, treatment, and medication regimen, including the generic name as brand names vary considerably around the world.
Traveling with prescription medications
- Keep the medication in its original packaging. Ensure that it is clearly labelled with your full passport name, doctor’s name, generic and brand name, and exact dosage. Carry it in your carry-on luggage. Do not pack the medications in your checked luggage.
- Carry copies of all original prescriptions.
- Carry the letter on letterhead from the prescribing physician for all prescribed medications, indicating your diagnosis, treatment, and medication regimen, including the generic names. This is extremely important in case you need treatment or a medication refill abroad.
If your particular medication cannot be taken into the country in quantities to last through your stay, talk to your doctor. If you need to switch prescriptions, your doctor may need to make changes to your medication at least 3-6 months before departure, so you can have time to consult with your doctor on any resulting complications. The letter from your doctor indicating condition, treatment and medication regimen, can help a local physician to assess you and to consider reissuing your prescription provided it is licensed in your UCEAP country. Note that the local doctor's appointment for medication refill may not be covered by the UCEAP travel insurance.
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.
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.
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.
If you have severe food allergies should take precautions, as the cuisine may include ingredients that can cause anaphylaxis in those affected. A language barrier increases the risks associated with severe food allergies.
Precautions to take include:
- Ask for a waiter/waitress who speaks English to help you choose a safe menu item. Some restaurants will have menus in English, but it varies.
For more information, read the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad
, Health chapter
, Allergies section.
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.
You play an active role in protecting your personal health, safety, and well-being.
Staying safe in another country is similar to staying safe in a large U.S. city. Understand the potential threats, know which neighborhoods to avoid, and remain vigilant (pay attention to your surroundings; do not walk around while talking on the phone or while listening to music).
If you will be traveling, think about how you are getting to your destination and/or any travel inside a country. Plan your itinerary carefully, let your friends and relatives know where you will be, and research the safest way to travel. Be proactive about your safety. Be prepared.
The University of California Education Abroad Program (UCEAP) has established policies and procedures and contracted with emergency service and security providers, to help you minimize your risk exposure and enhance your safety.
Steps to manage or minimize risk and avoid being a victim of a crime:
- Assess your surroundings.
- Remain aware at all times. Do not walk around talking on the phone or listening to music on your headphones.
- Be attentive to what is unusual or threatening. Trust your "gut feelings"; if you feel threatened, leave the area immediately and find somewhere more secure.
- Research potential risks you can encounter while traveling.
- Increase your safety and reduce the likelihood of becoming a victim of crime by staying on top of your drinking.
- Practice the buddy system, which promotes safety. This system helps ensure that you, and a partner, will look out for each other. Choose your buddy wisely. The ideal buddy should feel that the buddy system is very important. If you are having a problem, your buddy can help to alert others and get you to safety.
- Have a communication plan. Who will you call on site if you are facing an emergency? Do your friends and relatives know how to reach you when you are traveling?
Know what to do in a possible risk scenario
Locate the nearest emergency exits. If evacuated in a group, remain in the center of the group with as many people around you as possible. Don’t take the lead or straggle behind.
Register online with the U.S. embassy through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program
(STEP), a free service provided by the U.S. Government to U.S. citizens who are traveling to, or living in, a foreign country.
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.
While some countries will automatically notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate if a U.S. citizen is detained or arrested in a foreign country, that might not always be the case. To ensure that the United States is aware of your circumstances, request that the police and prison officials notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate as soon as you are arrested or detained overseas
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.
- Do not participate in demonstrations.
Traffic & Transportation Safety
Road Travel Safety
Morocco has a poor road safety record. 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.
More than one fifth of the people killed on the world’s roads each year are pedestrians. Pedestrian deaths and injuries are often preventable.
- Be careful at intersections where drivers may fail to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians while turning onto another street.
- Increase your visibility at night by carrying a flashlight and wearing retro-reflective clothing.
- Be predictable. Stay off freeways and restricted zones. Use sidewalks where provided. Cross or enter streets where it is legal to do so.
- It's safest to walk on a sidewalk, but if you must walk in the street, walk facing traffic.
- Alcohol and drugs can impair your ability to walk safely, just like they do a person's ability to drive.
- Use extra caution when crossing multiple-lane, higher speed streets.
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.
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
If a local situation requires increased caution or a program suspension and evacuation of participants, UCEAP will activate contingency plans. For security reasons, contingency plans are not public and cannot be shared with anyone except UCEAP officials.
Program Suspension Policy
If the U.S. Department of State or CDC issues a Travel Warning after the start date of the program term, UCEAP may suspend the program. If time and local security conditions permit, UCEAP will consult with the UC Study Center Director, U.S. Embassy, U.S. Department of State regional and security analysts, other organizations that offer programs in the same country, and area experts to determine the appropriate timeframe for suspending the program and/or for the evacuation of the students from the host country.
The UCEAP required security evacuation will override any host institution, or local US Embassy voluntary departure on U.S. government-arranged flights, that require U.S. citizens to sign a promissory note with the government. The safe evacuation of UCEAP students, managed by UCEAP, is covered by UCEAP insurance. UC students are required to follow UC safety directives in the event of an evacuation.
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.
Follow these general fire safety tips. Most college-related fires in the U.S. are due to a general lack of knowledge about fire safety and prevention. Educate yourself about fire safety standards in your UCEAP country. Fire safety standards differ drastically around the world.
- Know where emergency exists are located and check whether exits are passable.
- Know how to call the local fire department.
Do not stay in housing above the sixth floor so you are within range of most fire department rescue ladders.
- Print and take with you the UCEAP brochure, Fire Safety 101 for Students.
- Purchase and use a smoke detector. Before departure contact the Fire Safety Foundation. Choose from a variety of battery-powered smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms, including models with sealed, 10-year batteries. Once purchased, the alarms and a multilingual installation manual – written in English and the host country’s native language - will be shipped to the address where you are residing.
- Have an escape plan and practice it.
- Treat every smoke alarm activation as a likely fire and react quickly and safely to the alarm.
- Check for fire hazards. Make sure exit routes are not blocked.
- If you have a disability, alert others of the type of assistance you need to leave the building.
- Refer to the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, Fire Safety section for life-saving information.
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.
UCEAP Contingency Planning
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.
What Is an Emergency?
An emergency is a serious, unexpected, and often dangerous situation requiring immediate action. The following are considered emergencies:
- Any life/death situation
- A traumatic event requiring immediate assistance
- An arrest
- Civil unrest or natural disaster in the host country
In an Emergency
Contact local emergency services first and then contact the following:
If you are in the U.S.
- During office hours (8 a.m.–5 p.m. Pacific Time): Contact your Program Specialist at the UCEAP Systemwide Office at (805) 893-4762.
- After office hours: Call the 24-hour emergency phone numbers at (805) 893-4762 or (805) 882-2086.
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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Federal and State law and University policy, does not
discriminate on the basis of race, national origin, religion,
sex, gender identity, pregnancy,* disability, age, medical
condition (cancer-related), ancestry, marital status,
citizenship, sexual orientation, or status as a Vietnam-era
veteran or special disabled veteran. The University also
prohibits sexual harassment. This nondiscrimination policy
covers admission, access, and treatment in University programs
and activities. Inquiries regarding the University’s
student-related nondiscrimination policies may be directed to
the campus Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action
* Pregnancy includes pregnancy, childbirth, and medical
conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth.