Morocco

Forgoing the opportunity to visit home after seven months abroad, I signed up for another study trip (the first being to Kazakhstan for fall break) for the first week of spring break during my master’s program. On a rainy February day in Paris, twelve students & my program director boarded a plane for a nine-day adventure in North Africa. The first few days were spent in Marrakech, touring sustainable businesses, shopping (and repeatedly getting lost) in the medina, eating the traditional tajine dishes (that became steadily less appealing as the week went on), wandering through le jardin Majorelle (the former residence of the illustrious fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent & his partner Pierre Bergé) & laying by the pool at the beautiful resort where we stayed. On our travel day to Casablanca, we stopped by a phosphate mine for an in-depth presentation & tour. In Casablanca we ate at Rick’s Café (modeled after the Casablanca movie set), enjoyed formal dinners & networking opportunities at two beautiful homes of AUP students, found more souvenirs at the old medina & walked along the ocean. Our final day we drove to Rabat for an absolutely lovely day of tours, sunshine, hospitality, relaxation & quality entertainment. The whole country is bursting with colors, spices, languages, textures & architectural masterpieces that stimulate all the senses in the best possible ways. The entire Moroccan experience filled me with energy, excitement & memories that will not easily be forgotten.

The Highlights

Camel riding. Colorfully intense sunsets. Tajines & baba ghannouj. Mint tea. Berber jewelry. Mountain & ocean views.

The Remarkable

On our day trip to the coastal city of Rabat, we toured AMESIP, a non-profit that offers vocational training in culinary, equestrian & performing arts to children & young adults in the hopes of providing them with a future off of the streets. At noon we were served what I believed to be the best tajine of the entire week followed by delicious sugared donuts for dessert. After the incredibly impressive tour of the culinary & circus training facilities, our group voted to extend the day in Rabat so we could catch the evening performance of the circus with dinner catered by the cooking school. We spent the afternoon lounging in a stunning guest home, where we were served coffee, mint tea & traditional Moroccan sweets. The dinner & performance later in the evening were brilliantly executed. The talent of both groups of students was exceptional, proving that young people are capable of accomplishing astonishing success when they are given genuine mentorship, encouragement & preparation.

IMG_2300 Camel-riding adventure
IMG_2323IMG_2259IMG_2258 Traditional chicken tajine (couscous with meat & vegetables) & mint teaIMG_2289 A new building using traditional techniques & architectural stylesIMG_2342Freshly dyed yarnIMG_2338Spices at the heboriste

 Architecture, mountains & le jardin MarjorelleIMG_2392Most of the graduate studentsIMG_2468Grande Mosquée Hassan II

 Students at the culinary school & lounging at the guest house
IMG_2531View from the rooftop patio at the guest house in Rabat IMG_2556Delightfully fancy chicken & rice for the catered dinnerIMG_2562 Incredible talent at the circusIMG_2553 IMG_2492The beautiful coast at Rabat

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