I had been bitten by the travel bug while in Spain so Morocco was my 2nd Passport stamp!!! Well in order to get to Morocco from Alcalá, I took a bus to Algeciras Spain which took about 8 hours. Once I arrived in Algeciras Spain, I met up with the other students that were also participating in the Moroccan Exchange program. From there we took a Ferry to Tangier, Morocco which took about 2.5 hours. The ferry ride was really cool because we were able to see Gibraltar. The other students were from other parts of the U.S that were studying abroad in Spain. I happened to know one of them because I had met him in Madrid, a few weeks before.
What is Moroccan Exchange???
Moroccan Exchange is an educational tour that allows you to see the non tourist aspects of Morocco. My tour lasted about 5 days. The website describes the program as non-profit organization that has been developed in response to the current world political situation. Morocco Exchange offers college and high school students the opportunity for both intensive personal growth and a monumental physical journey of discovery in Morocco. For example, we stayed with host families while there and we also attended lectures about issues affecting Morocco. The home stay was also a very cool experience because we were able to see how Moroccan families live. The house was absolutely beautiful. They made us the most amazing tea with every meal. I also experienced couscous for the first time which I enjoyed. The only part that was awkward was the fact that I didn’t speak French or Arabic so I couldn’t really communicate like I wanted to. There was a family member that spoke English but he wasn’t always at home. I had my first bucket back in Morocco and my first introduction to a squat toilet. Both experiences weren’t as bad as I expected.
One of the things that has stayed with me from my trip to Morocco was the college lecture that we attended. At the lecture, a professor was speaking about how he wanted Morocco to be a part of the European Union so that they wouldn’t have as many travel restrictions. This was something that didn’t make sense to me at the time. I had never given any thought about people not being able to travel freely. Dumbly I thought that most people could travel anywhere as long as they had a passport. When I was listening to him, I became sad because it didn’t make sense that because I have an American passport I can go pretty much anywhere. Whereas people from many other countries have to jump through hoops to be able to leave their home countries. It was that day that I became even more determined to take advantage of the travel opportunities afforded to me because i realized how many people aren’t fortunate to have the same opportunities.
There were also opportunities to speak with Moroccan students and to go shopping (my specialty) at one of the souks (markets). We visited Rabat, Chefchaouen and Ceuta. Chefchaouen was unlike any place I had ever been before. It was so beautiful and so unique. I loved every minute of it.