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Morocco

Morocco

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Published by Grant

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Published by: Grant on Mar 27, 2009
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10/12/2011

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Morocco
Morocco is situated in the northwest corner of Africa and shares its borders with Algeria, thecontested Western Sahara, and the Spanish protectorates (Ceuta and Melilla). Morocco is a mere45 minutes away from Spain by ferry ride. The dominant languages in Morocco are Arabic,Berber, and French (for Business use), but the English language is also on the rise as it is a wayto increase tourism and increase one’s job opportunities. Morocco remains a Muslim countryand its form of government is a constitutional monarchy. King Mohammed VI is Morocco’scurrent leader; you can see his picture or billboard across every town you travel to in Morocco.Of significant importance as well are the Berbers, or Amazigh to be politically correct, who arethe indigenous people of Morocco similar to our Native Americans with some crucialdifferences. There are mixed theories about where they came from, ranging from Palestine toYemen, but as mountain nomads they have had to fight to preserve their culture from firstMuslim expansion and later against French colonization. They have since recently been theforgotten past of this country and only recently have been re-introduced into history books withgovernmental organizations established to help restore their language, history, and culture.Further, differing from orthodox Arab culture their women play extremely dominant positionswithin the family and Tribal system.The Moroccanswe have experienced at our university in Ifrane, Morocco has been somewhatdifferent than the lives ‘typical’ Moroccans would lead. First of all, Al Akhwayn University(AUI) is located in the heart of the Middle Atlas Mountains which places it at around 5,000 feet.We experienced several feet of snow our first week here, which is not true for all of Morocco.The majority of Morocco is either coastal or desert so it is not as mountainous as where we areliving. Another difference about our current location is that we are attending an English-speaking university so all classes are taught in English except for the foreign language courses(i.e. French, Arabic, Spanish). Some of the highlights of travels and stay throughout Moroccohas been the generosity of Moroccans, the mint tea (also called Moroccan Tea), the lush greenlandscape/countryside, a different sense of timeliness that Americans possess (Usually about30minutes to an hour behind schedule), and the art of barteringas a cultural practice. Moroccansare extremely accepting of tourists in their country, and Americans in particular. Many havegreeted us saying that we are their “brothers” and other such friendly expressions.
 
Atlantic Ocean – Assilah, Morocco.
 Dades Gorge, Morocco.
 
Near Dades Gorge, Morocco.Snow-capped High Atlas Mountains, Morocco.

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