Daily Life in RabatRabat, Spring 2010
One of the aspects of my semester in Rabat that has been overlooked is my daily routine. While weekend adventures and cultural observations have dominated previous posts, this post will be dedicated to the commonplace routine of an IES Rabat student. As the end of the semester approaches, I am becoming nostalgic for the lifestyle I have enjoyed during the past four months. It will soon be merely a memory.
The day begins with a simple breakfast of coffee and bread. All students have Arabic class at 8:00 a.m. Following Arabic class, students’ schedules vary. Courses related to gender studies, politics, history, culture, literature, economics, advanced French, and communications are held twice a week. Students participating in the communications course also engage in an internship for eight hours a week.
I interned at l’Association Démocratique des Femmes du Maroc (ADFM). The ADFM is a non-governmental organization dedicated to improving the situation of women in Morocco. I have assisted the organization in translating articles from French into English. The other four students engaging in the communications course interned at non-governmental organizations (NGOs) dedicated to promoting maternal health, providing rural girls with secondary education, combating anticorruption in business and governmental activities, and combating child labor. The internship experience was enhanced by the communications course focused on the business, communications, and management practices of Arab and African organizations.
When students are not studying at the IES Center or working at their internship sites, they may be spending time in the company of their host families and Moroccan friends. Students living with host families are often eager to return home at the end of the day to enjoy teatime with the family. While having tea, it is nearly inevitable that amidst the animated family discussion, there will be a foreign soap opera dubbed in Darija playing in the background. After tea, students are free to work on homework or socialize. Dinner is generally not served until 9:30 p.m. or as late as 11:00 p.m.
On the weekends, students can find plenty to do within the city. Despite the pollution and traffic that plague any large city, Rabat is making great strides to become more environmentally friendly. On Earth Day, there was a large celebration on the coast with music, an exhibition tent, and activities commemorating the event. Lush green parks, ideal for afternoon strolls or morning jogs, are located within the city. There are beautiful places to visit within walking distance such as Kasbah des Oudayas, Hassan Tower, Mausoleum of Mohammed V, and Chellah. The assortment of cafés and bakeries located throughout the city serve as an ideal location for a study break.
An equally appealing weekend option could include travel outside Rabat. Public transportation options for traveling outside of the city include buses and trains that are affordable and generally run on schedule. Travel within Morocco is safe and fairly easy to plan with a trusted guidebook, moderate language skills, and an eager, adventurous group of travel companions.
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