Middlebury School in Morocco
Director: TBD
Resident Coordinator: TBD
Middlebury School in Morocco
Rabat, Morocco
International Programs and Off-Campus Study
Sunderland Language Center
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753
tel. 802-443-5745
fax. 802-443-3157
Please note that information in this handbook is subject to change.
Copyright 2010 by Middlebury College. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or
transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photographic or otherwise, without the prior written permission of
Middlebury College.
Dear Students,
Congratulations on your decision to study with the Middlebury School in Morocco. I would
personally like to welcome you and tell you what to expect.
Welcome to Rabat, a city that has always been a melting pot of diverse cultures, and as the capital city
of Morocco, it is one of the great cultural centers of North Africa.
Your classes will be located in the Language Center on the campus of Mohammad V University near
other faculties, university buildings, and facilities. Being on campus is a great advantage and the best
advice I can give you is to engage with the students, and spend time with your Moroccan peers as
much as possible. This opportunity to interact with young Moroccan students will help you
communicate in an authentic linguistic context. The Language Center is also close to many internet
cafés, print and copy shops, restaurants, and other services that you may need for your everyday life.
Rabat is as diverse as its people, and I encourage you to explore and discover the language and
cultures of the people. The city is generally safe and the people are friendly. However, you will
encounter some challenges. At times you will have to deal with the difficulties and frustrations of
adapting to a totally different culture and environment. Be ready for the challenge if you want to
make the best out of your stay. Our resident staff will be there for you, if you’re feeling academically
overwhelmed, socially unsettled, or just trying to figure out where to find a working ATM. They will
help you settle in and feel comfortable. Please do not hesitate to contact them if you have any
questions. And back here, stateside, I am also available, if you think that I can help you out.
Inshaallah, Rabat will feel like home and your stay will be worthwhile and unforgettable.
Looking forward to meeting you in Rabat this fall!
Bill Mayers
Study Abroad Advisor
Middlebury School in Morocco
Table of Contents
Pre-departure Information _________________________________________________ 1
Approximate Program Costs _____________________________________________ 1
Expenses ____________________________________________________________ 1
Student Visas _________________________________________________________ 1
Moroccan Consulates in the U.S. __________________________________________ 2
Customs ___________________________________________________________ 2
Registering with the U.S. Department of State ______________________________ 2
International Students ________________________________________________ 2
Travel to Morocco _____________________________________________________ 3
Airline Reservations __________________________________________________ 3
Flying to Morocco ___________________________________________________ 3
Departures from Morocco _____________________________________________ 3
TSA Regulations ____________________________________________________ 3
Airline Luggage Regulations ____________________________________________ 3
Immunizations ______________________________________________________ 4
Checklist of things to pack _____________________________________________ 4
General Packing Suggestions ___________________________________________ 4
Other suggested items: ________________________________________________ 5
Climate and Clothing _________________________________________________ 5
Bed and Bath Linens _________________________________________________ 6
Toiletries __________________________________________________________ 6
Prescriptions _______________________________________________________ 6
Electrical Appliances _________________________________________________ 6
Computers _________________________________________________________ 6
Gifts______________________________________________________________ 7
Arrival in Morocco _______________________________________________________ 8
Immigration __________________________________________________________ 8
How to Get to Rabat ___________________________________________________ 8
Orientation __________________________________________________________ 8
Academic and Administrative Matters ________________________________________ 8
Host University _______________________________________________________ 9
Credit _______________________________________________________________ 9
All Undergraduates __________________________________________________ 9
Middlebury Undergraduates ____________________________________________ 9
Students from other Colleges & Universities _______________________________ 9
Registration _________________________________________________________ 10
Typical Academic Schedule _____________________________________________ 10
Placement/Proficiency Exams ___________________________________________ 10
Student-Teacher Interaction and Classroom Etiquette _________________________ 10
Learning Outside the Classroom _________________________________________ 11
Internships ________________________________________________________ 11
Community Engagement _____________________________________________ 11
Cultural Activities ___________________________________________________ 12
Living in Morocco ______________________________________________________
Housing ____________________________________________________________
Homestays ________________________________________________________
Apartments _______________________________________________________
Meeting Moroccans ___________________________________________________
Heritage Learners _____________________________________________________
Travel within Morocco _________________________________________________
Transportation in Rabat ______________________________________________
Travel outside the Host Country _________________________________________
Health and Safety _______________________________________________________
Sexual Assault and Harassment __________________________________________
Drugs ______________________________________________________________
Water ______________________________________________________________
Tips for Safety in Morocco______________________________________________
Medical Care ________________________________________________________
Hospitals ___________________________________________________________
Mental Health & Counseling ____________________________________________
On-Site Money Matters __________________________________________________
Currency Exchange ___________________________________________________
Money and Banking ___________________________________________________
Accessing Money ___________________________________________________
Bank Cards________________________________________________________
Credit Cards _______________________________________________________
Emergency Cash ___________________________________________________
Communication with Home and Friends _____________________________________
Communication and Immersion __________________________________________
Language Pledge _____________________________________________________
Means of Communication ______________________________________________
Mail _____________________________________________________________
E-Mail ___________________________________________________________
VOIP – Voice Over Internet Protocol ___________________________________
Phones ___________________________________________________________
Fax/Copy/Scan ____________________________________________________
Local Resources ________________________________________________________
Emergency Numbers ________________________________________________
U.S. Embassy in Morocco ____________________________________________
Shopping _________________________________________________________
Program Calendar 2015-2016 ______________________________________________
Pre-departure Information
Approximate Program Costs
The following website provides an estimate of program costs for full and half-year students as of
February 2015. Middlebury College will bill you for the program fee and housing (as well as the
$1,500 per semester study abroad fee for Middlebury students); the remaining expenses will be outof-pocket. Figures may vary depending on individual lifestyles and situations. Please note that the
“personal” figure covers most necessities and does not and is not intended to include students’
discretionary spending (e.g. exploring Rabat, entertainment and travel).
In general, you should plan
to spend as much in a given
month in Morocco as you
would at home; though if you
are accustomed to living on a
residential campus with a
meal plan, you might at first
be surprised by how quickly
meals and taxis can add up.
Keep in mind that the
amount of money you spend ultimately depends on the lifestyle you choose. Western-style cafes and
restaurants in West Rabat are often more expensive than in the U.S.. One staff member noted, “I
would even make a direct relationship here: the less money you spend, the better the experience.
Think of yourselves as travelers rather than tourists. Oftentimes, the in-country facilities used by
foreign tourists are not those used by the locals…”
Excursions are planned each semester to culturally significant locations in Morocco. These
excursions are partially subsidized by the program, and sometimes include subsidies for Moroccan
mentors or friends to be able to travel with School in Morocco participants. Students’ out-of-pocket
costs for these excursions typically run between $150 and $250 per semester (optional activities
during excursions, such as camel rides, bike rentals, etc. will be at the student’s expense).
Remember to budget extra if you are planning to travel before or after your program or in the
semester break. If you are a big spender at home, budgeting more money would be a good idea.
Student Visas
Morocco issues visas to citizens of North America, the EU, and many other nationalities at most
international ports of entry and at most international land border crossings upon arrival. Once
students are in Morocco, resident staff will assist them in extending their 90 day visa that they get at
the airport.
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Citizens of other countries should ask the Moroccan Embassy in the U.S. or their home country for
help in determining their requirements. International students should be aware that the visa and
residency processes may take several months.
Regardless of your nationality, in order to get a visa at the border, you will need to present either a
round-trip ticket, or a confirmed itinerary. At the very least, you will need to be able to present an
itinerary or ticket that takes you out of Morocco at the end of the program.
Moroccan Consulates in the U.S.
Boston: http://moroccanconsulateboston.com/
Chicago (Honorary): http://www.embassypages.com/missions/embassy23975/
Dallas: http://www.embassypages.com/missions/embassy26477/
Denver: http://www.embassypages.com/missions/embassy23974/
Honolulu: http://www.morocco-in-hawaii.com/
Kansas City (Honorary): http://www.embassypages.com/missions/embassy23977/
Los Angeles (Honorary): http://www.embassypages.com/missions/embassy23971/
New York City: http://www.moroccanconsulate.com/
Salt Lake City (Honorary): http://www.embassypages.com/missions/embassy23973/
If you plan to bring any new, non-U.S.-made articles of value, such as cameras, MP3 players,
computers, bicycles, or jewelry that are LESS THAN 6 MONTHS OLD, you should register them
with U.S. Customs and Border Protection before departure (CBP Form 4457). Alternately, you can
carry your original sales receipts to prove that you purchased them in the U.S. This will help you
avoid having to pay a duty upon your return. Customs regulations vary from country to country;
there are usually limitations on liquor, cigarettes, and other goods.
Registering with the U.S. Department of State
All students who are U.S. citizens are required to register with the U.S. Embassy in Morocco via the
State Department’s “STEP” program. Registering allows embassy officials to provide you with
important information related to your travel plans and safety matters. In the event of international,
political, or family emergencies, or in the event that a passport is lost or stolen, the U.S. Embassy will
be much better able to assist registered citizens. Please visit the Department of State’s website and
follow the links to register: https://step.state.gov/step/.
Please print the confirmation page after you have registered; leave one copy at home and take a copy
with you.
Students of other nationalities should check to see if it is possible to register with their own embassy
in Morocco.
International Students
If you are an international student, you should meet with the international student advising staff at
your home institution as early as possible to discuss how study abroad may affect your international
student status in the United States and the ways it may impact your future plans.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requires re-entry documents for some
foreign nationals. If you are living in the U.S. but are a citizen of another country, check with the
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USCIS to determine the regulations that apply to you and be sure to obtain all necessary re-entry
documents before you leave the United States.
Travel to Morocco
Airline Reservations
Students are responsible for making their own flight arrangements to the orientation in Rabat. We
recommend using a student travel agency for flexibility and the best rates:
Flying to Morocco
Flights from the U.S. can go either into Rabat (RBA) or into Casablanca (CMN) (with a stop or two
in Europe first); routes vary greatly by carrier, and it is much more convenient to fly to Rabat since
the drive from Casablanca to Rabat takes about an hour and a half . We recommend that you plan
to arrive in Rabat, if at all possible. If you fly into Casablanca, you will be responsible for getting
yourself to Rabat.
The on-site staff will email incoming students to share detailed arrival information about two weeks
before the program begins.
Departures from Morocco
Return tickets should be booked according to the calendar on the School in Morocco website. No
departures will be allowed earlier than the dates noted, except in the case of medical emergency. You
may wish to leave yourself some time for further travel in Morocco or the region at the end of the
TSA Regulations
The Transportation Security Administration regulates what items may be carried aboard the aircraft
and, as these regulations are subject to change frequently, you should consult their website close to
your date of departure. Possessing certain items while going through security may result in
fines of $250 - $1,500 or, in the case of firearms, may be considered a criminal offense.
Airline Luggage Regulations
You should contact your airline to confirm exact luggage allowances. We strongly suggest you stick
to these guidelines, or be prepared to pay excess baggage fees, which can be quite expensive.
Students continuing on a domestic flight within your country of destination should be aware that
domestic flights usually have more strict baggage requirements than international flights.
Travel Insurance
Some travel insurance is included under the HTH Worldwide policy, which is the policy students will
be covered under for the entire time that you are on the Middlebury program. Furthermore, it is
possible that you are covered under a policy held by your parents, so investigate this prior to
departure. Middlebury strongly encourages students who will be studying in the MENA region to
purchase “cancel for any reason” trip insurance for the day(s) of their travel to the host country.
Further information about this can be found online the application portal.
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Although no agency requires proof of any immunizations for travel to Morocco, experts strongly
recommend that travelers consider taking some precautions. The Center for Disease Control
recommends the following vaccines:
 Hepatitis A, and Hepatitis B
 Rabies
 Typhoid
 Booster doses for tetanus-diphtheria, measles, and polio as needed
You should consult with your own health care provider to determine which immunizations you
should obtain. Some immunizations can take at least 4-6 weeks to take effect, so please see your
physician in ample time. If you plan to travel to other countries in the Middle East be sure to check
the CDC website to find out if they require immunizations for any of the areas to which you plan to
travel. If you think you may be traveling to a country that requires proof of inoculations for entry,
you should obtain an International Certificate of Vaccination through the World Health
Organization: (202) 861-3200.
Checklist of things to pack
Schools Abroad General Handbook
This Handbook
Passport, valid for at least 6 months after the end of the program (and photocopy)
Airline Ticket/Itinerary (and photocopy)
International Student Identity Card (optional)
Insurance information (from HTH and any additional health and/or travel insurance)
Certified copy of your birth certificate (in case your passport is lost or stolen)
Debit and Credit Cards (and photocopy of front and back so you can have the information
on hand should you need it).
Medications in original containers
General Packing Suggestions
Plan your packing carefully, keeping in mind that you will have to carry all of your own luggage while
traveling. This means TRAVEL LIGHTLY. We cannot emphasize this strongly enough.
Consider what you will use for luggage. Durable backpacks are lightweight and easy to carry. As you
pack for the flight over, also keep in mind that you will be carrying this same luggage by yourself,
sometimes over great distances or in crowded places. Take things that are easy to manage and avoid
over-packing. One rule of thumb is to walk around the block with your bags, then re-pack. It is also
prudent to bring at least one bag or container that can be securely locked for storage of money or
valuables, and a smaller bag that can be used for weekend trips out of town. You may want to bring a
waterproof bag, if you already have one (may be useful during trips). It is also possible to buy decent,
inexpensive clothes in flea markets in Rabat.
You should be prepared for fluctuations in weather, though since Rabat, itself, is on the coast, it
rarely gets very hot. (Inland temperatures, however, can be higher.) The following are average
high/low temperatures in Rabat which sits on the coast. Temperatures inland can vary greatly.
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Bring clothing that is comfortable, durable, culturally appropriate, and suited for the climate. It is a
good idea to bring clothes that can be easily layered during the winter months because of the
fluctuations in daily temperatures, and because most flats and public buildings do not have
central heating. Washing machines are usually available. Choose permanent press, and drip-dry
materials; durable fabrics are preferable. Bring a few items for different occasions: sports, classes, and
dress occasions.
You will be walking a great deal. Comfortable walking shoes are essential. Flip-flops are a good idea
for showers, but are not a good idea for walking around the city, as they provide minimal traction
and no support for your feet. (The streets and sidewalks of Rabat are likely dirtier than you are used
to, as well.)
We recommend that you do not bring valuables.
Other suggested items:
Overnight bag for short trips out of town
Shoulder bag or backpack for daily use and hiking
Basic medication like bandaids, pain relievers, cold medicine and Pepto bismol
Zip-lock bags to use for wet clothes and other small items
Travel-sized sewing kit (in checked bag)
Camera, film/memory cards, batteries, chargers
Money belt
Tour guide of the region (Lonely Planet, Rough Guide, or other)
Plug adaptors – Morocco predominantly uses the European-style plug (these are also easily
purchased in Rabat)
Climate and Clothing
For men, it is improper to wear shorts above the knee in most places in the city. You might bring
one pair for wearing on trips to touristy areas.
For women, bring comfortable clothes that you also enjoy wearing. Rabat is not as conservative as
other Arab countries and you will see all types of clothing. You could bring a pair of both looser
jeans and skinny jeans, also shirts that vary in modesty, but definitely bring at least one modest outfit
for an occasion that you might need it. It's important to dress semi-modestly but also feel good about
what you're wearing since you'll attract attention as a foreign woman regardless of how “loose” your
clothing is.. In Rabat and in non-touristy areas of the country, it’s best to cover your chest, shoulders,
and your legs to the ankles in fabrics that are not see-through. On back-country trips or in very
touristy areas, shorts and tank tops are ok). Also, bring modest nightwear and/or a light robe. This is
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especially important if there are males in your homestay house. Note that many Moroccan girls wear
very tight clothes and a hijab, but they are held to a different standard and people often turn a blind
eye as long as they have their hair covered.
Bed and Bath Linens
We do not recommend that you bring sheets, blankets, or pillows with you. They are too heavy and
take up too much space in your luggage. Your host families will provide them for you, and these
items can also be easily purchased in Morocco.
Toiletries are readily available throughout most of Morocco. If you are particular about brands, you
may want to pack an appropriate supply of the articles you regularly use. Many American brands can
be bought in Morocco although local brands are less expensive. If you wear contact lenses, you may
want to bring enough solution with you to last your entire stay as it can be quite a bit more expensive
in Morocco. Sunscreen is also expensive in Morocco.
If you are taking any medication that is not available in Morocco, you should bring a full supply of
what you will need with you. (It is a good idea to check the HTH Worldwide website, after you’ve
received confirmation that you’ve been enrolled in the insurance plan, to make sure that your
medications are available and legal in Morocco.) Mailing medicines across international borders is
complex and often impossible. Prescription medicines should be left in the original containers. It is
also suggested that you carry the original prescription or a note from your doctor to avoid
questioning. Please also note that in the event that a prescription must be replaced in Morocco, you
should have the generic name of your medication on the prescription, in addition to the U.S. brand
name. Some medications are available in Morocco without a prescription, but you should not count
on this.
If you are under a doctor’s care for a specific condition, you may want to bring a copy of your
medical history with you or sign a release form with your doctor in case your medical history needs
to be sent to a doctor in Morocco.
Electrical Appliances
Most electrical current in Morocco is 220 volts/50 cycles, rather than the 110 volts/60 cycles found
in the United States. It is not recommended to bring small appliances (hair dryer, electric razor, etc),
as these appliances will burn out immediately without an electrical converter, which can be expensive.
Most mobile phones and laptops do not require a converter (just a plug adapter, easily purchased in
Rabat), but always check your chargers carefully before plugging them in in Morocco to be sure they
automatically adapt to the 220/50 current.
Most students opt to bring laptops to Rabat, and we recommend this for keeping up with your
coursework. If you do not bring your laptop, you will be able to use “cyber-cafés” or computer labs
on campus. On-site staff will attempt to provide all students with campus wireless access, though this
may not be immediately available when students arrive. Some students opt to purchase a USB
internet modem, which can be refilled every month depending on usage. Note that not all housing
sites provide reliable wireless internet access. Internet access at your host family’s house is not to be
used for streaming videos or other data-intensive uses, since internet fees are charged according to
data use and can quickly get very expensive or deplete your host’s data allowance. Stick to email and
class-related tasks on your host family’s internet connection.
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Please be aware that while many people in the cities carry their laptops around with them and
Morocco is generally very safe, you should be very careful as thieves target laptops.
You will want to bring a USB flash-drive with you to for making presentations in class and printing
homework assignments in copy/print shops near the campus. It is always a good idea to back up
important files, whether on an external hard drive, a flash drive, or online. Be sure to have back-ups
for any hard or portable drives that you take abroad.
As students will usually live with Moroccan host families, you may wish to present them with a token
gift. You may also wish to have a couple small gifts with you for if you are invited to a professor or
classmate's house. It is probably best to select something that has significance to you and is packable
and light. Consider the following items:
• Books--with lots of photos.
• CDs of current music of your country and your favorite artists.
• Small souvenirs from your home country: postcards, buttons, stickers, stamps, small
• Items representative of where you are from (i.e. Vermont maple syrup).
DON’T FORGET PHOTOS! Your local friends will be interested in where you come from: your
family, town, friends, and school. Take pictures that help explain parts of your life.
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Arrival in Morocco
Make sure that your passport is stamped by the immigration official when you arrive in Morocco,
whether you arrive directly or via another country in Europe or the Middle East. You will be issued
a 90-day visa at the airport (the visa stamp in your passport). You will get this extended during your
first two weeks in Rabat.
There is a shuttle bus from the
airport to the city center for 20
MAD (about $2).
How to Get to
inform your hosts accordingly.
Before you leave for Morocco,
the staff abroad will send you
housing information. The
Resident Coordinator will
check your arrival information
on your online application and
If you are traveling from the US or Europe, you will most likely land at the Rabat/Salé airport (RBA).
You may take a taxi into the city or be picked up after prior agreement with the Resident
The on-site staff will provide you with specific directions to your place of residence before your
arrival, and will be available by phone to help you find it. The trip from the airport to central Rabat
usually takes 20-30 minutes to an hour.
On-site orientation sessions will be held for all students during the week prior to the beginning of
classes. Orientation is conducted in a relaxed informal atmosphere in which you will get the chance
to meet the director, on-site staff and other students in the program, as well as Moroccan students
and mentors. Besides exploring the university and the city, you will be introduced to Moroccan
colloquial Arabic. There will also be in-depth sessions on living in homestays, dealing with
homesickness, and harassment, among other issues. Please consult the School’s calendar for dates.
arrive in Rabat at least one day before orientation is scheduled to begin. (In most cases it will
be fine if you would like to arrive a few days before the beginning of orientation. Please contact
either the staff in Rabat or in Middlebury well in advance if you would like to arrive early.)
Academic and Administrative Matters
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Host University
University Mohammad V
was the first modern
university established in
Morocco, in 1957.
Students in Middlebury’s
School in Morocco will take
their courses at the
Language Center located
within the Faculty of
Letters and Humanities on
University campus.
All Undergraduates
A student’s workload must
be approved by the
Morocco. Students are not
permitted to take lighter loads,
nor will they receive additional
credit for heavier loads.
To facilitate the granting of
major credit, students will
be asked to complete and bring back a “Course Information” form, available from the director
abroad, for each course taken in Morocco. Students should attach to these forms course syllabi
(available online), papers, and any other relevant documentation. Students should take these forms
and supporting documents back to the home institution for the granting of departmental credit, if
Middlebury Undergraduates
Middlebury College students receive four units of credit for the fall, or five units for the spring
semester, and nine units of credit for the academic year.
Students from other Colleges & Universities
Middlebury College considers a semester/academic year abroad equivalent to a semester/academic
year in the U.S.; students who transfer their credits to other institutions typically receive 15-16 credit
hours per semester or 20-25 quarter units per semester for four courses. Because an undergraduate
student’s home institution determines the number of credits awarded for work abroad, you are urged
to consult with your advisers well ahead of time.
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Registration for classes will take place in
country under the advisement of the Resident
Director in Morocco. At that time, more
detailed information about studying in
Morocco will be given, and specific questions
will be addressed.
Typical Academic Schedule
Single semester students and first semester
academic year students:
1. Advanced Modern Standard
Arabic (6 contact hrs/week)
2. Moroccan Colloquial Arabic (4
contact hrs/week)
3. Two elective courses (3 contact hrs
each/week), choosing from courses that
deal with Moroccan and North African
anthropology. Prior to departure you
will be asked to select your course
preferences, but final selections will be
made after everyone has taken an on-site placement exams.. Course availability will depend on
levels and numbers of students and availability of teaching staff.
Second semester, academic-year students’ curriculum will be developed based on their progress
during the first semester, and may include an internship, and/or direct enrollment in a course at the
University, alongside other Moroccan students. (Only advanced level students may pursue this latter
option, at the discretion of the Director, and should be aware that they will have to follow the
Mohammed V University academic calendar for these courses.)
Placement/Proficiency Exams
The School in Morocco uses a number of factors to determine students’ language course placement:
a proficiency exam given a few days after arrival, previous language study, recommendations, and
classroom performance during the first two weeks of classes. Every effort is made to accommodate
the academic needs of all students. In certain rare cases, however, a class may not be offered if there
are not enough students. We are unable to determine actual levels until after the placement exam, and
adjustments may be made after classes begin.
Student-Teacher Interaction and Classroom Etiquette
The relationship between teachers and students in Morocco is different from that in the United
States. It is often warmer, yet simultaneously more formal. When you miss a class due to illness, it is
not unusual for your teacher to show concern by
inquiring about you or calling you. This does not
mean the teacher is being nosy or that s/he doubts
your illness; instead the teacher is demonstrating
care for your well-being.
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On the other hand, the classroom is generally a more formal environment in Morocco than in the
US. Students should show a high level of respect toward their teachers. Eating in class is NEVER
done, and American students will offend instructors if they eati snacks during class periods. Food
and drink (with the occasional exception of tea within the language center) should only be consumed
before or after class. It is expected that students will go to class on time, turn cell phones off during
class, be well-prepared, and let the teachers know if they are sick or will otherwise miss class.
Keep in mind that some behavior that is acceptable in a US university may convey a message of
disrespect in Morocco. For example, it is not common practice for Moroccan students to converse
freely with, or question the opinions of, their professors. This is both a matter of learning philosophy
and classroom etiquette. You may encounter situations in which your professors scold or actively
disagree with your opinions. This is a common part of the educational philosophy in the Middle East,
and should not be taken personally.
Students from US universities will likely find less interaction and group discussion in their courses in
Rabat than they are used to at home. Additionally, instructors may call on students whom they feel
are not speaking up, rather than waiting for students to raise their hands.
Year-long students who choose direct-enrollment in Mohammed V classes should keep in mind that
they will likely have to work harder than their Moroccan classmates. Moroccan students who chat or
read magazines in class will probably be able to cram for finals. They will be able to read large
amounts of material during a reading period at the end of the semester, while your language skills will
limit your ability to do this.
Learning Outside the Classroom
Middlebury College encourages all undergraduate students to take full advantage of their experience
abroad by participating in learning experiences outside the classroom. Community engagement and
cultural activities provide students with opportunities to deepen your social immersion in Moroccan
culture, enhance your language skills, and gain a better understanding of present-day Morocco.
Students who are in Morocco for a full year may pursue a for-credit internship during their second
semester. Through an internship in a host organization, students can gain more in-depth experience
and exposure to the host culture and work environment. This experience will also provide students
with new knowledge and skills, which can lead to other overseas opportunities in the future.
Community Engagement
Students wishing to contribute time and service to the
community may choose to work as volunteers with
organizations in the non-profit sector. The Director and
Resident Coordinator in Morocco will help students find
volunteer opportunities through a variety of host
organizations. As part of our Community Engagement
program, students are required to participate in at
least one extracurricular activity, be it volunteering or
another activity like meeting regularly with a language
partner or joining a sports group.
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Cultural Activities
Other activities that facilitate student immersion include sports, cultural, and outdoor activities. Rabat
provides plenty of cultural resources if one looks for them. Students are encouraged to explore and
share opportunities advertised on campus and in community calendars online. The Resident
Coordinator is also available to advise students on the wide range of possibilities the city has to offer,
including concerts, lectures, art exhibits, and more.
Living in Morocco
It is our policy that students must live in an Arabic-speaking environment; you may not live alone
nor solely with other English speakers. Students will typically live with a host family. During the
second semester of a full year in Morocco, at the discretion of the Director, students may move into
private apartments. In making housing placement decisions, we prioritize cultural immersion and
student safety.
Students will complete a housing form on the online application (after admittance to the program) to
convey housing preferences to the on-site staff, who will make housing placements. While every
effort will be made to accommodate your housing requests, it is not always possible to grant
everyone’s first choice. We encourage students to keep an open mind in terms of your housing, as
with all other aspects of the experience.
There is no doubt that living in a Moroccan home can be a rewarding experience for a study abroad
student who is willing to adapt to a different lifestyle within the context of someone else’s home. The
use of colloquial Arabic in the home, and contact with Moroccans in their daily routine, are among
the advantages of this experience. Nevertheless, you must be aware that your integration into the
Moroccan home will be gradual and that many things taken for granted in our own homes are often
viewed from a different perspective in a Moroccan household. If you wish to feel like part of the
household and have more active participation in the Moroccan way of life, you should seriously
consider having dinner with them on a regular basis. Dinner then becomes the time to enjoy a
relaxed atmosphere and to better familiarize yourself with Moroccan ways of life and to improve
colloquial Arabic language skills.
Although living with a Moroccan host may sound ideal, you should also be aware that:
 Privacy will be relatively limited; people in Morocco do not have the same concept of
privacy as we do, and “alone-time” may say to the family that you are sad, homesick,
antisocial, or that something else is wrong.
 While a homestay may involve cultural exchange, it is also a business agreement in which
each party has particular rules by which to abide;
 It is possible that a host family will not have internet access;
 Students, especially girls, will likely be expected to be in the house for the night (perhaps as
early as 9 or 10pm)
 Kitchen privileges may or may not be granted;
 Homestay families may live anywhere from 20-60 minutes from campus.
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During their second semester, students may choose to find and rent flats on your own in the city.
The Language Pledge remains in effect for students who rent flats.
It is very important to always keep the School in Morocco staff informed about your current
housing situation and cell phone number so that they can contact you in case of emergency.
No housing changes may be made without consultation with, and approval of, the on-site
All housing arrangements will be organized by the Resident Coordinators. Students who
have contacts in Morocco and wish to arrange their own housing must adhere to the
policy above. The Resident Director has the final word on approving students’ housing to
ensure their safety and maximum cultural immersion.
However, if academic year students choose to live in an apartment, the process of finding
and narrowing down your options is your responsibility. Take your time in looking at various options
and several different places before deciding where to live. It is the student’s responsibility to READ
not hesitate to ask for assistance if the wording in a contract is unclear.
Meeting Moroccans
One of the questions we are asked most
frequently is how to go about meeting local
students. Those of your predecessors who have
been successful in this respect would say that
the best approach is to find a group activity that
includes local people: choral singing, calligraphy
lessons, biking, sports, volunteer work, etc. You
will need some courage and a good deal of
initiative. Results may not live up to your
expectations, especially right away. Given
cultural differences and expectations, your
friendships with your Moroccan peers may not
be quite the same as your relationships with
friends at home. But if you are patient,
persistent, and open to relating to peers in a
different cultural context with different social
norms, you can still develop deep and life-long
Your mentors will introduce you to other Moroccans and might also invite you to their homes. Do
make an effort to be in regular touch with them because they may infer that you don’t want to meet
with them if it is always they who try to maintain the relationship.
Keep in mind the strategies you would use at home to meet people you are interested in knowing:
you try to be where they are, you try to share an interest or an activity that will bring you into contact
with them, and you get to know people who know them. It goes without saying that if you have one
or two Arabic-speaking acquaintances to start, it can only make things easier.
Moroccans are very friendly people and generally love to engage anyone in conversation. These
conversations, whether they take place in a taxi cab, an qahwa (café), or while shopping, can provide
you with excellent opportunities to practice and refine your colloquial Arabic. Don’t be surprised if
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you are asked about your religious or political sentiments by a complete stranger. This is not a trap,
but rather a common question for foreigners, though it often takes Americans by surprise at first. As
a student of Arabic, you know that it is nearly impossible to have even the briefest exchange in
Arabic without mentioning God. It should not be surprising therefore that Moroccans will be
curious about your beliefs.
For your own well-being, it is best not to divulge much information about your religious beliefs,
sexual orientation, or marital status to someone you do not know well (e.g. a taxi driver). Sensitive
ideas are definitely topics to avoid with strangers, as certain issues can cause a lot of curiosity or
tension, especially among more conservative members of society. Once you get to know someone
better, you can get a sense of their worldviews and judge when it is safe and productive to share your
personal views, particularly if they are of a sensitive nature.
Heritage Learners
If you are of Arab or African descent, studying in Morocco may be the realization of a long held
desire to learn more about your own heritage and roots. It is a wonderful opportunity to experience
first-hand the country or culture that you’ve heard and read so much about and, of course, to
improve your language skills. It may also be an important phase in developing your understanding of
yourself. At the same time, some former students felt they were psychologically unprepared for the
challenges to their self-identity that they encountered in the Middle East/North Africa. There is
often a feeling of being “caught between two worlds.”
You may be surprised by the assumption made by classmates, locals and even some teachers, that,
since you are an Arab, you should speak the language well; when off campus with your classmates,
some locals may mistake you as their guide. Or they may tell you how poor your language skills are
while your non-Arab/non-African peers are complimented for their fluency! While being of Arabic
or African descent will help you blend in and avoid the stares that your other classmates may
regularly encounter, at other times you may be envious of the “novelty” treatment your fellow
classmates receive—everything from photo requests to spontaneous invitations home for a meal.
The vast majority of the time, however, people will simply be curious about your upbringing and
keen to hear about your experiences as an Arab/African living abroad. Moroccans are proud of
their heritage, and will be pleased to learn that you have “returned” to study the language and culture.
Travel within Morocco
While in Morocco, the following tourist guides are recommended:
 The Rough Guide to Morocco
 Lonely Planet Morocco
 Insight Guide Morocco
Whenever you leave the city of Rabat overnight, you should contact the Resident
Coordinators and let them know where you will be going and when you expect to return to
Rabat. An online form will be available for you to complete before travelling.
Many students travel within Morocco on the weekends. There are a number of cultural sites to visit
as well as great outdoor opportunities. Morocco is relatively small, so traveling within the country is
generally easy to do by way of bus or train.
Transportation in Rabat
When out and about in Rabat, we recommend students travel in pairs or small groups for
safety, as they would at home (particularly at night). Women should be aware that sexual
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harassment can be an issue on all forms of transportation; more information about dealing
with harassment will be discussed in detail during orientation.
Buses: The cheapest way to travel in Rabat is via public bus. There are numerous buses and minibuses that connect the area around the university with other parts of Rabat. At first, buses can be a
bit confusing. The more you use them, the easier it will be to recognize where to get on and off the
Taxis: The most convenient way to travel through Rabat is via taxi. “Petit Taxis” are small blue cars
with signs on their roofs that can go anywhere within city limits. (Most Moroccan cities have Petit
Taxis though they are different colors in different cities.) If you need to travel beyond the city limits,
you should take a “Grand Taxi”; usually a white Mercedes.. Most drivers of Petit Taxis use the meter
but gently remind them when they don't. Don’t be surprised if they stop to pick up another
passenger or two along the way; this is common. You need to be especially careful when you're laden
with bags and searching for your hotel or being out late at night. Men riding alone will typically ride
next to the driver, while women riding alone should sit in the back seat. Rates are higher late at night
than during the day.
Travel outside the Host Country
If you plan to travel to other countries, be advised that regulations vary and may change at very short
notice. In some cases a visa and inoculations may be required. You can refer to the U.S. State
Department consular information website for specific travel regulations to other countries or consult
a travel agent for current procedures. Travel to countries covered by current US travel advisories
must be discussed with the Resident Director well in advance.
When leaving the country, even between semesters, all students are required to inform the
Resident Coordinator about your travel plans and fill out the travel form online. This is
simply a matter of safety, so that we have some idea of where you are if an emergency arises.
Hitchhiking as a mode of transportation is strongly discouraged as a matter of College policy. The
practice is regarded by Moroccan (and other) security officials to be extremely unsafe and is often
illegal. Buses and trains provide a low-cost, safe alternative.
Lonely Planet Morocco provides an excellent and comprehensive guide to traveling in the region.
Health and Safety
Whenever you go to any foreign country, you are exposed to germs against which your body has not
yet built up a resistance. You may, therefore, be more susceptible to illness than local people are.
This is as true for Americans going abroad as it is for those coming to the United States.
The most common areas for health problems are digestive and upper respiratory systems.
Please keep in mind:
 Bring a supply of any prescription medicine to last your entire stay, as these may be difficult
to acquire, and customs may prohibit shipping of medicines. Any medication that requires
refrigeration should be brought to the attention of Middlebury prior to the departure as
special arrangements may be necessary.
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When eating on the street or in restaurants, pay special attention to cleanliness of eating
utensils and food.
The School in Morocco’s staff reserves the right to send any participant home who, in the
judgment of the staff, is not mentally or physically fit to continue in the program. Students
who must leave Morocco early for documented health reasons may be eligible for a partial
tuition refund. Please refer to the information in the Schools Abroad General Handbook on
tuition refund insurance and health insurance for further details.
Sexual Assault and Harassment
(Gentlemen, please do not skip this section. This applies to you as well.)
A recent study has shown that studying abroad may increase your risk of unwanted sexual contact.
The Department of State has this to say:
Our on-site staff is your primary resource for advice to keep yourself safe and can also direct you to
local support resources.
Regrettably, for women studying in the Middle East and North Africa, sexual harassment can be a
part of daily life. For the most part, this comes in the form of unsolicited comments, including not
infrequent marriage proposals from strangers. However, groping, or an unwelcomed grab, while
much less common, is not unheard of. It should be noted, however, that this behavior, and the
attitudes that one can associate with it, should not be universally attributed to all men in the MENA
or Morocco. Most men abhor these inappropriate actions and will berate the perpetrators when they
are made aware of it. A woman's best defense from harassment in Morocco is awareness, and
perhaps some reflection on what types of reactions feel most natural to you.
We will talk extensively during orientation about ways to deal with harassment, and our staff is here
to be a support system throughout the semester.
Different countries view the use of narcotics in a variety of ways. In the MENA region , there is a
strict code of social mores. In most countries, drug use for non-medicinal purposes is illegal, and the
local authorities may take official action against anyone found using or possessing any kind of drugs.
Use of recreational drugs while attending the School in Morocco is strictly prohibited.
While the use of drugs by foreigners in Morocco may result in jail sentences and penalties, the
penalties for Moroccan nationals can be much more severe.
The tap water in Morocco is mostly safe to drink for Moroccans, but it contains minerals that will
likely upset your stomach if you drink itWe recommend students stick to drinking bottled water.
Tips for Safety in Morocco
In addition to the general safety guidelines that are published in the General Handbook (which you
really should read), below are a few suggestions that are more specific to students studying in the
MENA region. Middlebury College monitors all programs closely through news channels, regular
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communication with staff overseas, and special information and notifications from the United States
Department of State and other sources. Descriptive material and current warnings can be found on
the State Department website. If for any reason a situation arises that we feel threatens the safety of
our students, we will delay and/or suspend the program or program activities.
As in any large city, you should take reasonable precautions against crime. If you stay in an
apartment, always be sure to lock your door. Always guard your money and passport against
pickpockets, especially on buses, and in other crowded places. When traveling, you should keep your
eyes on your luggage, as theft is a risk in any location. We recommend that you use a money pouch
or passport bag that can be worn inside your clothing. Students (particularly women) should be
careful about jogging or walking alone.
Students should avoid any and all protests or demonstrations. Students should not
photograph, record, or participate in protests, even out of solidarity.
At night, students are advised to go out in groups, ideally with Moroccan students. According to the
social norms in Morocco, women are not normally outside of the home late at night. We advise you
to avoid coming home late, out of respect for your host family and for your safety. In addition,
students should generally avoid places where large groups of tourists congregate.
You should bring your passport with you whenever you leave Rabat. It is recommended that you
keep a photocopy of your passport in your wallet or purse at all times. Remember, when it comes to
safety, a little bit of common sense goes a long way!
It is extremely important that students always have a charged, paid-up cell phone on your person, so
that the on-site staff can communicate with you in the case of an emergency.
As is mentioned elsewhere in this handbook, it is both inconsiderate of the host culture, and unwise
for reasons of personal safety to dress immodestly. Men should not wear shorts except when
engaged in athletic activities, and women should not wear very tight, sleeveless or low-cut shirts or
anything ending above the knee.
The on-site staff will go over safety issues and precautions particular to Morocco in detail during
The School in Morocco does not carry insurance for stolen property, and students who are
particularly concerned should look into taking out such a policy before leaving the U.S. The School
in Morocco cannot offer to store money or valuables for students.
To help protect yourself from violent crime:
 Do not appear drunk in public;
 Try not to dress in expensive-looking foreign clothes or carry American-style bags or
 Identify the dangerous areas of the cities you visit or live in, and stay out of those areas;
 At night, be careful when walking around alone (especially women).
In other words, use common sense. As a foreign student, you should take the same precautions you
would in any large city, anywhere in the world. During orientation, the issue of security will be
discussed in greater depth.
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Local officials may conduct searches at customs entry and exit points for drugs and other
contraband. Anyone found with contraband is subject to punishment as specified by the laws of the
host country. Neither Middlebury College nor your country’s embassy can be responsible for the
consequences of such an arrest.
Medical Care
Travel and study in a foreign country can be very strenuous. It is important that you take action
immediately when an illness or injury occurs.
When you are sick in Morocco, you need to be patient at a time when you may feel least able to be
so. Hospital visits can sometimes take hours. Such experiences can test your patience and cultural
In the event of an illness, use your common sense about whether or not to seek outside help.
Degrees of helpfulness vary as greatly from institution to institution as they do from individual to
individual. You should speak with the Resident Coordinator in all cases of serious illness, and before
agreeing to hospitalization. You can also contact the Resident Coordinators about accompanying you
to the doctor. Depending on the issue, you may be taken to the hospital or a specialist.
Some people have diarrhea just changing countries; the adaptation period can be minimized by
avoiding fruits or vegetables that are unpeeled, uncooked, or grown with irrigation water. These
same precautions will also provide some protection from hepatitis, typhoid, and cholera.
Adequate medical and hospital services are available in Morocco. Rabat has more than 20 hospitals
and some of the best medical facilities available in the Middle East. The resident staff will provide
you with a list of hospitals/doctors during orientation; some of the hospitals are listed below. You
should always contact the on-site staff before seeking treatment at a hospital, as some hospitals
specialize in one type of medicine or another.
Clinique Agdal
6 Place Talha,
Avenue Ibn Sina, Agdal, Rabat
Phone: +212.537.77.77.77
Clinique des Nations Unies
Avenue des Nations Unies
Corner of Rue Ibnou Hanbal, Rabat
Phone: +212.537.670.505
Mental Health & Counseling
Students should be very realistic about their abilities to function in a high-stress environment.
Morocco can be a difficult place to live at times, and certain mental and physical health conditions
can be exacerbated by being abroad in general. Psychological counseling services are available in
Morocco, but they may not be what you are used to in the US, in terms of personal counseling.
Students with particular concerns in this area are encouraged to consult with staff at Middlebury
prior to departure.
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On-Site Money Matters
Currency Exchange
The currency in Morocco is the Moroccan Dinar, which is subdivided into 1000 fils, or 100 qirsh or
piastres. ($1 U.S. equals approximately 10 Moroccan Dirhams (MAD) as of the beginning of 2016.)
The exchange rates are usually set at a fixed rate. The private money changers tend to have longer
hours and transactions are usually faster than in Moroccan banks. Bank working hours are generally
Sunday to Thursday 8:30 am to 3:00 pm. Branches in hotels and shopping malls may have longer
hours. There are several bank branches and ATMs near the campus.
Money and Banking
Accessing Money
We suggest that you travel with several sources of money (ATM/debit card, credit card, and cash).
This will ensure that if one of your means for accessing money fails, you will not be stranded without
money. ATM/debit cards can be used to obtain cash if they have a major credit card logo (Visa,
MasterCard, Cirrus Network, or Plus Network) on them, but they should not be relied upon
exclusively, since they are subject to breakdowns, fraud, and other scams. If you do plan to use debit
or ATM cards while overseas, be sure to check with your bank regarding applicable fees. These can
be quite steep, but this is the most convenient way to access your funds. Also, be sure to notify your
bank and credit card companies that you will be traveling so they do not freeze your account, and to
insure that your PIN will work while you are abroad. If you choose to bring cash with you, please
examine your bills carefully before departure to make sure they are in good condition.
Bank Cards
CIRRUS, Visa and MasterCard are accepted in Morocco, and you will see signs for them at ATMs in
all major Moroccan cities. Check with your bank to make sure your card is activated for overseas use
and that your PIN will work overseas. By using ATMs you can get trade exchange rates, some of
which may be better than those charged by banks for changing cash. It is recommended that you
consult with your bank about the variations and rules or charges for Moroccan branches and carry
the phone number of your bank in case you lose your ATM card. There are a couple of ATMs at the
airports in both Rabat and Casablanca; you get there after passing through customs.
Credit Cards
Credit cards are accepted at major hotels, expensive restaurants, most shops in West Rabat, and
airline offices. The vast majority of monetary transactions are carried out in cash. Where credit
cards are used, the best known are Visa, and MasterCard (American Express is rarely accepted except
in fancy resorts/hotels). They are accepted more and more, although not to the same extent as in the
Emergency Cash
BEFORE you leave, you should discuss with your family a plan for getting more money during the
program. The best way to be sent money is to have a family member deposit cash into your bank
account which you can then access via an ATM. Western Union is also available.
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Communication with Home and Friends
Communication and Immersion
Students who seek maximum immersion should note that regular communication with home can
significantly hinder your language progress and your adjustment to the new culture. If your goal is
maximum immersion, you should prepare family and friends for the reality that you may be difficult
to contact and that, even when possible, regular calling or e-mailing may interfere with your language
acquisition. If something has gone wrong, your family will learn about it immediately. Otherwise, you
can remind them that no news is good news.
Some students have found keeping a blog to be a good way to keep family and friends up to date on
their experiences without having to have multiple conversations in English. Please be aware,
however, that as a “Middlebury student” you are a representative of Middlebury’s program and of the
U.S. as a whole. Make sure to keep your blog culturally respectful and open-minded, as any stranger
reading it will take it to be a representation of the way American students studying in Morocco think.
Language Pledge
The Pledge you will sign at the end of orientation in Morocco reads: "I will speak only Arabic until
the day of my graduation from the School in Morocco."
Arabic must be spoken at all times, except in the case of a genuine emergency, a visit from family
(English may not be spoken with family when within earshot of anyone related to the program), or
when an exception is made by the staff in Rabat. Phone calls to family and friends overseas, whether
over the Internet, from a land line or from a cell phone, are allowed as long as one is out of earshot
of other students and roommates.
Generally, there will be regular meetings with the students and program administrators when the
Language Pledge will be suspended. Speaking English at this time, of course, is not a violation of the
Language Pledge.
Means of Communication
Students should have all mail sent to them through the Language Center at the address below:
Middlebury School in Morocco
‫كلية اآلداب والعلوم اإلنسانية‬
Language Center, Mohammed V University
1040 ‫ صندوق البريد‬،‫ شارع ابن بطوطة‬4
4 Avenue Ibn Battouta, B.P. 1040. MOROCCO
‫ المملكة المغربية‬،‫الرباط‬
Packages should not be sent to arrive before the students have arrived in-country. As a general rule,
we estimate fifteen percent of all international mail never arrives. Some packages of former students
have never arrived, while others have arrived months after the end of the semester. We do not
advise having packages sent from the States unless it is urgent (in which case, we recommend using
DHL, UPS, or FedEx, rather than standard mail). Airmail takes two to three weeks from North
America and between a week and ten days from Europe.
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If you are sending mail from Morocco, service will be expedited if you write the country in Arabic.
Stamps can be purchased at post offices (e.g. on campus), hotel shops, and postcard stands. Post
offices are generally open daily, except Friday, from 8am-5pm.
Internet access is available at the Language Center, on campus, and at some homestays. You should
be able to access your home school account via a browser-based email service, and this is a good way
to ensure you receive important information from your home campus. In apartments and some
homestays you might have to purchase internet service for a USB stick, which onsite staff can help
you procure.
Past students have reported that, unsurprisingly, the less time they spend online while abroad, the
more they learn about the Arabic language and the country in general. Accordingly, it would be wise
to minimize your time on chat, Skype, Facebook, etc.
VOIP – Voice Over Internet Protocol
Students usually use Skype, Viber, or GoogleVoice to keep in touch with family, though the internet
can sometimes be unreliable in Morocco. It’s a good idea to purchase a little Skype credit so that you
can SkypeOut to a US landline, in case you need to make a couple of international phone calls while
you’re in Morocco.
During orientation, you will have a chance to purchase cell phones; you will need to pay for these
(roughly $35 for a basic new phone). Alternatively, you can bring any phone that has a removable
SIM card and simply insert a Moroccan SIM. If you bring a U.S. smart phone with you, make sure
that it is unlocked prior to your arrival in Morocco.
• Basic cell phones (not smart phones) are inexpensive in Rabat.
• Owners buy pre-paid minutes.
• The three phone companies are Inwi (‫)إنوي‬, Maroc Telecom (‫)اتصاالت المغرب‬, and Méditel..
During orientation, program staff will advise you which service is best for your area, and needs.
• Cell phones may be used to call the U.S., but this is very expensive.
The telephone at the Middlebury office in Rabat is for the use of the staff only. Students may not
receive telephone calls through this office, except in cases of emergency.
The country code for Morocco is 00212.
The School in Morocco’s photocopier is for office use only. Any photocopying required for
coursework is the responsibility of the student, and the school photocopier cannot be used for such
purpose. There are numerous shops outside the university opposite the North Gate with
photocopying services. Faxes can be sent through any of the many public fax services. For scanning
official documents, you can use the scanner at the office.
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Emergency Numbers
Local Resources
During orientation, you will receive an emergency contact card that you should carry on your person
at all times.
 Police : 112 from a cell phone–
 Ambulance: 150
U.S. Embassy in Morocco
Avenue Mohamed VI 10170
Tel: 5376-37200
Clinique des Nations Unies
Avenue des Nations Unies, Corner of Rue Ibnou Hanbal (near the university)
Rabat, 10000
Clinique Agdal
6 Place Talha, Avenue Ibn Sina, Quartier de l'Agdal
Rabat, 10100
Stores and other businesses in the downtown area generally stay open from 10:00am until 9:00pm.
In some neighborhoods you may find that they close for two or three hours for lunch. Other
shopping opportunities can be found in one of the many malls in Rabat; and usually you will find
smaller shops near the place where you live. There are also a number of more traditional souqs
around the city.
Program Calendar 2015-2016
Please refer to http://www.middlebury.edu/study-abroad/morocco/calendar for an accurate
program calendar.
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