Top Ten Reasons to Teach Abroad in Morocco

by Brendan Monroe

Need a reason to teach abroad in Morocco? Here’s one (plus nine more).

1. Off The Beaten Path. While it is set to become a more popular tourist destination in coming years, Morocco is relatively uncharted territory for the Western visitor, at least when compared with the likes of Europe. Truly remarkable when you consider how much there is here to appeal to tourists! Whatever your flavor — be it ancient ruins, hip metropolitan cities, vibrant nightlife, or stunning landscapes — you'll find it if you teach abroad in Morocco.

A view of Chefchaouen, situated in the Rif Mountains.
A view of Chefchaouen, situated in the Rif Mountains. Photo by Breanna Thompson

2. Won't Be Confused For Disney World. The famed theme park in Orlando, Florida features Morocco as part of its “world showcase.” The reality couldn't be more different. Morocco is still an unapologetically raw North African country that is more mystery than it is Mickey. This isn’t a place for a family looking to spend their days queuing up to ride Aladdin’s Magic Carpet (though if you’re looking for a carpet, Mustapha in Fez will be sure to give you a good price).

3. Fresh Juice! If you knew how life-altering the juice here is, you'd be on a plane to Morocco already. Whether they’re serving up pineapple, peach, pear, or fruits and vegetables you’ve never even heard of, the plethora of stands squeezing fresh juice can be found on literally every corner. You may find it impossible to return to any kind of normalcy after leaving. Take it from somebody who knows; after having a fresh avocado juice every day before class, between class, and after class, your dreams and waking life will be haunted by the thought of returning. Moroccan juice won't let go — no matter how hard you try.

4. Amazing Cuisine. Morocco has some of the best in the world. Couscous, pastilla, tagine... One could get used to this. Unlike in the West, the food here follows old traditions and has been passed on through generations. Why should Good Friday come just once a year? For Moroccans, couscous is only eaten at lunchtime Friday, which just made Friday the best day of the week. Accompany it with some kefir (a generally thick fermented milk, yogurt-like drink that’ll grow on you like scabies) and follow with the world’s best fresh mint tea. T.G.I.F. indeed.

5. Kickin’ Social Life. After hours (or just after lunch), Moroccans flock in droves to cafes for shisha and mint tea. Wise Westerners will follow. It’s the place to meet up with friends and colleagues, and make friends with a local or five. Just be careful when drinking that mint tea. Carpet, leather, and every other kind of salesmen give it for free before showing off their wares, and why not? The ecstatic bliss bubble the tea invokes might just have you agreeing to buy a $5,000 rug!

6. Location, Location, Location. Regardless of where you’re teaching abroad in Morocco, this is a relatively compact country and the public transportation here is excellent and oftentimes cheaper than a Starbucks Frappuccino. Get from Casablanca or the capital city of Rabat to Fez or Marrakesh in four hours on a European-quality fast train. Little is better than watching the Moroccan countryside pass by out the window on the way to a thousand-year old-city.

7. Eternal Summer. If you come from the Northeast, you understand the significance of this. Northerners worship the sun so once here it isn’t a surprise that between the constantly warm weather, the hot mint tea, and the fresh, cold juice it’s possible to have a spiritual experience teaching abroad in Morocco without ever stepping inside of a mosque.

8. Experience A Different Culture. And oh, is it ever different! From learning the value of negotiating for things both big and small, to getting used to hearing the Muslim call to prayer blaring out from loudspeakers five times a day, to the wild driving. Morocco is like nothing you've ever experienced before. Embrace it and it’ll embrace you back.

9. Shatter The Stereotypes. Living anywhere for a while is cause to reassess previously-held beliefs or ideas about a certain culture and people. Nowhere is that more true than Morocco. The value of teaching abroad in Morocco is the ability to confront these beliefs head-on, through interactions and conversations with students and colleagues. Many of them have been living in your new city or town their whole lives and will jump at the chance to educate you about the “real” Morocco.

10. Take Back Memories. Morocco is an emerging country at the heart of so much currently happening in the world. It will challenge your preconceptions, thrill your senses, and leave you grinning from ear to ear when you think back years from now to that time a camel chased you through the sand dunes of Merzouga.