Morocco
NMO GENERAL INFORMATION
Morocco IFMSA-Morocco
LANGUAGE
REQUIRED LANGUAGE
Arabic, French, English, Spanish, german
English
(GMT+00:00) Casablanca, Monrovia, Reykjavik
Moroccan dirham
SCOPE Active
SCORE Active
Morocco (IFMSA-Morocco) - Rabat
Morocco (IFMSA-Morocco) - Casablanca
Morocco (IFMSA-Morocco) - Fez
Morocco (IFMSA Morocco) - Oujda
Morocco (IFMSA-Morocco) - Marrakech

200 SCOPE STUDENTS
56 SCORE STUDENTS
SCOPE EXCHANGE CONDITIONS
SCORE EXCHANGE CONDITIONS
www.ifmsa-morocco.org
NEOs
Mehdi Ilahiane
Ilias HMAIDOUCH
NOREs
Maha Tachaouine
Imane Katir
WELCOME NOTE

Assalam Alaykoum, Merhaba bikoum fil Maghrib (Hello, Welcome to Morocco) 

Join us and discover the mystical beauty of our kingdom.

Please, read this Explore page so you can learn more about our country, our traditions and customs, our health care system and our social program.

OVERVIEW

1. About the country

Morocco, officially the Kingdom of Morocco, is located in Northern Africa. It is bordered by Spain to the north, Algeria to the east, and Mauritania to the south. It has a population of over 32 million and an area of 710.000 Km².

The political capital of Morocco is Rabat, although the largest city is Casablanca. Morocco has both Atlantic and Mediterranean coastlines, and many of the large towns are also coastal, including the fabulous trading cities of CasablancaAgadir and Rabat. In land, on the edge of the Atlas Mountains, lie the equally enticing towns of FésMarrakesh and Meknès.

Morocco is a safe and moderate country that offers a fascinating taste of Africa and gives you the opportunity to learn more about the Arabic and Islamic influences that are shaping the world. Almost all Moroccans speak either Berber, Moroccan Arabic (Darija) or French as mother tongues.

2. History

The History of Morocco spans over 12 centuries, without considering the Classical antiquity. The country was first unified by the Idrisid dynasty in 789, representing the first Islamic state in Africa autonomous from the Arab Empire. Under the Almoravid dynasty and the Almohad dynasty, Morocco dominated the Maghreb and Muslim Spain. The Reconquista ended Almohad rule in Iberia and many Muslims and Jews migrated to Morocco. Under the Saadi dynasty, Morocco would consolidate power and fight off Portuguese and Ottoman invaders, as in the battle of Ksar el Kebir. The reign of Ahmad al-Mansur brought new wealth and prestige to the Sultanate, and an invasion of the Songhay Empire was initiated. However managing the territories across the Sahara proved to be difficult. After the death of al-Mansur the country was divided among his sons. In 1666 the sultanate was reunited by the Alaouite dynasty, who have since been the ruling house of Morocco. The organization of the state developed with Ismail Ibn Sharif. With his Black Guard he drove the English from Tangier (1684) and the Spanish from Larache (1689). The Alaouite dynasty distinguished itself in the 19th century by maintaining Moroccan independence while other states in the region succumbed to European interests. In 1912, after the First Moroccan Crisis and the Agadir Crisis, the Treaty of Fez was signed, effectively dividing Morocco into a French and Spanish protectorate. In 1956, after 44 years of occupation Morocco regained independence from France as the Kingdom of Morocco.

3. Climate


The climate is Mediterranean in the North and in some mountains (West of Atlas), which becomes more extreme towards the interior regions. The terrain is such that the coastal plains are rich and accordingly, they comprise the backbone for agriculture, especially in the North. Forests cover about 12% of the land while arable land accounts for 18%; 5% is irrigated. In the Atlas (Middle Atlas), there are several different climates: Mediterranean (with some more humid and fresher variants), Maritime Temperate (with some humid and fresher variants too) that allow different species of oaks, moss carpets, junipers, atlantic cedars and many other plants, to form extensive and very rich humid cloud forests. In the highest peaks a different climate may occur. On the other side of Atlas mountains (East Atlas), the climate changes, due to the barrier/shelter effect of these mountainous system, turning it very dry and extremely warm during the summer (that can last several months), especially on the lowlands and on the valleys faced to the Sahara. Here it starts the big Desert Sahara and it is perfectly visible, for example, on the Draa Valley, on which it is possible to find oases, sand dunes and rocky desert landscapes. So the climate in this region is desert.



HEALTH CARE SYSTEM

At present, Morocco is looking into ways and means for the setting up of a health system liable to satisfy the requirements of the end of this century while taking into account the socio-economic constraints. The current health system comprises three sectors: a public sector consisting of the structures of the ministry of public Health together with those of the Health services of the Royal Armed Forces, a semipublic sector, and a private sector.

There is 7 medical schools in Morocco :

  • Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy of Rabat (Which is the first one created, in 1962)
  • Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy of Casablanca
  • Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy of Marrakech
  • Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy of Oujda
  • Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy of Fès
  • Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy of Agadir 
  • Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy of Tangier 

Medical students from Rabat attend their clerkship in 11 University Hospitals (9 in Rabat, and 2 in Salé, which is a city seperated from Rabat by a river : Bouregreg) 

Medical students from Casablanca attend their clerkship in 2 different University Hospitals.


MEDICAL EDUCATION

We have 7 universities in Morocco that provides medical studies : Rabat, Casablanca, Marrakech, Fès, Oujda, Agadir and Tangier.

Getting a general doctor's degree takes up to 8 years in Morocco. As for specialisation, you should add 3 to 6 years 

In first and second year, students learn about fondamental sciences, human and social sciences, cellular and molecular biology, physiology, anatomy, immunology, bacteriology and some other sciences. At the end of our second year, we start our clerkships in hospital by 3 weeks of nurse training. 

In third yead we treat semiology, parasitology, haematology, dermatology, pathologic anatomy, infectious diseases, radiology... 

We also have during all the year and for the rest of our studies clerkships in hospital in the morning, and classes in the afternoon. 

In our sixth year, we can start our internship (2 years) and then we can choose residency (4 to 6 more years).

TRANSPORTATION

1.Air

Mohammed V International Airport in Casablanca, on the west coast of Morocco, is the country’s main air gateway.

It operates frequent domestic flights as well as European connections to mainly French and Spanish airports and some North American, Middle Eastern and African destinations. There is also a smaller airport, Casablanca Anfa Airport, to the west of the city, which offers flights to Sydney, Tunis and Damascus. Airlines operating from here include Air France, Emirates, GB Airways and Lufthansa. Facilities at the airport are adequate, with waiting lounges, eateries and limited shopping and banking facilities.

Other primary air hubs are stationed at Rabat, Marrakech, Al Hoceima, Fez, Laayoune, Nador and Tangier, but they invariably only offer international connections to France and other limited European cities.

2. Road

  • Unless you don’t plan to travel far, taking a train is a more comfortable alternative than taking a bus; however, a ride on a Moroccan bus can be a memorable experience that saves you money. Buses are particularly useful if you want to reach destinations that are not served by train.
  • Car rental agencies are available at all of Morocco’s major airports and in many of the main towns and cities, with both reputable international firms and local agencies represented. While sometimes a hair-raising experience in the larger cities, car travel trough rural Morocco can be a fantastic experience, giving you the freedom to get off the beaten track.
  • Taxis are a popular means of getting around in Morocco, with both short distance (petite) and long distance (grande) services in place. Meters are supposedly obligatory by law, but in reality you will find many cabs don’t use them, making it essential you agree on the fare before setting off on your journey.
  • Buses : As mentioned above, buses are the only mean of transportation to area not served by train. However, two bus companies provide new buses with quality services, they have specific bus station and are always on time. Safety is a plus as well . We recommand : CTM (www.ctm.ma/) and Trans Ghazala (transghazala.ma/)

3. Rail

Travelling by train is an excellent way to get around the country, with all major cities well linked and they have major train stations with services across the country. The larger train stations have good facilities including left luggage, newsstands and cash machines. A ticket for the train ride Marrakesh-Rabat costs 101 Dirhams (About 9 euros) in second class, from Rabat to Fes it is 72 Dirhams (About 6 euros). First class costs half more. There is not so much difference in luxury. The main difference is actually that you are sure of a seat in first class, as there is a seat number on your ticket; on busy days and hours, there is a big chance you will have to stand a long part of your trip in the hall when choosing second class. All times and fares of the Moroccan railways are available online on http://www.oncf.ma

 
SOCIAL PROGRAM

A free Social Program for July and August is provided by ALL Local Committees.

During other months, there is no social program organized for incomings.However, our SCORE Local Team is always available to help exchange students organize their trips and to invite them to some of their activities.

Please check the LC's page for more information.

MUST SEE

Marrakech

A holiday in Morocco is not complete without an extended visit to Marrakech, the Imperial City of Morocco situated at the base of the Atlas Mountains. There are many things to experience in this city, but you should visit the Jamaa el Fna in the centre of the old city. This square is the home of orange juice stalls and snake charmers, dancers and story tellers, magicians and peddlers. It is a kaleidoscope of colours and as dark falls it becomes a food market where you can purchase some of the amazing culinary delights of Morocco and eat them in the chill of the desert evening. 

Around the edge of the Jamaa el Fna you will find the Koutoubia Mosque which is the largest mosque in Marrakech. The minaret was completed under the reign of the Almohad Caliph Yaqub al-Mansur (1184-1199) and was used as the model for the Giralda of Seville and for the Hassan Tower of Rabat. 
Finally, you have to visit the Majorelle Garden which is a twelve-acre botanical garden and artist's landscape garde designed by the expatriate French artist Jacques Majorelle in the 1920s and 1930s.

Essaouira

This Atlantic coast beach is a favourite of wind and kite surfers due to the often shallow waters. It was once a favourite haunt of Bob Marley and Jimi Hendrix, though times have moved on since then.

As well as the beach there is also plenty to experience in the town, which is typical of many small fortified Moroccan townships. At one time it was a very important port, it is still a fishing port, and it was a trading post in 400 BC; it is now a World Heritage City.

Fes

Fes is the oldest city in the country and the Medina (or Fes el-Bali) is a World Heritage site. There is nowhere in Morocco that has quite the vibrancy and culture of Fes, and in particular the Fes el-Bali, so a visit to it should be an essential destination on your itinerary. It is worthwhile paying for a guide to take you through its maze of streets and to show you the important sites and explain some of its history. Hiring a guide for a half or even a full day is quite inexpensive and an investment worth making.

In the Fes el-Bali you will take a trip back in time, you will find yourself in a place that is unique to your experience and which others have described as life changing. Many of the houses to be found in the labyrinth of tiny streets can only be accessed by drop ladders; you will find Royal gardens, Mosques, the workshops of local artisans, fountains and several monuments; but most of all your senses will be overwhelmed by the variety of things you will experience.

Ouarzazate:

The town is chiefly inhabited by Berbers, who constructed many of the prominent kasbahs and buildings for which the area is known. Ouarzazate is an important holiday destination in Morocco, as a base for excursions across the Draa Valley and into the desert. The Ouarzazate area is also a noted film-making location, with Morocco's biggest studios inviting many international film companies to shoot their films (Films such as Gladiator, Legionnaire, Kingdom of heaven ...)

Ait Benhaddou 

At the west of Ouarzazate, you'll find Ait Benhaddhu, in the Draa Valley, which is a desert fortress that will make you think of Hollywood films, mainly because it has been in so many of them and yet this set is the real thing. There’s a reason Hollywood loves it so much. Aït Benhaddou has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987.

Sahara 

Visit the Sahara. Whether you go to Ouarzazate, Ait Benhaddou, Merzouga or another spot, the essential thing to do in Morocco is to visit the world’s largest desert of sand. You can ride a camel or take a 4×4 but you must see the Sahara.

Chefchaouen 

Stroll through Chefchauen. The funky town of Chefchauen in the northwest of Morocco is painted blue because it has always been a refuge for those who move to the beat of a different drum. In this case Jewish refugees from Europe. It’s like being in a different world.

Ifrane 

Ifrane (nicknamed Little Switzerland)is a town and ski resort in the Middle Atlas region of Morocco. Developed by the French during the protectorate era for their administration due to its Alpine climate, this Moroccan town has a remarkable European style, as if it were an Alpine village

Tangiers and north wild beachs

You can find all infos and best destinations in our survival books (send by mail to every IC and NORE) 

CULTURAL DIFFERENCES
Morocco is a country with a multiethnic society and a rich culture, civilization, and etiquette. Throughout Moroccan history, Morocco has hosted many peoples, in addition to the indigenous Berbers, coming from the East (Phoenicians, Jews, and Arabs), South (Sub-Saharan African), and North (Romans and Vandals). All of these have had an impact on the social structure of Morocco. It has also hosted many forms of belief, from Paganism, Judaism, Christianity to Islam.

Traditional clothing

The traditional dress for men and women is called djellaba; a long, loose, hooded garment with full sleeves. For special occasions, men also wear a red cap called a bernousse, more commonly referred to as a Fez. Women wear kaftans decorated with ornaments. Nearly all men, and most women, wear balgha —- soft leather slippers with no heel, often dyed yellow. Women also wear high-heeled sandals, often with silver or gold tinsel.

Domestic architecture

Dar, the name given to one of the most common types of domestic structures in Morocco, is a home found in a medina, or walled urban area of a city. Dar exteriors are typically devoid of ornamentation and windows, except occasional small openings in secondary quarters, such as stairways and service areas. These piercings provide light and ventilation. Dars are typically composed of thick, high walls that protect inhabitants from thievery, animals, and other such hazards; however, they have a much more symbolic value from an Arabic perspective. In this culture the exterior represents a place of work, while the interior represents a place of refuge. Thus, Moroccan interiors are often very lavish in decoration and craft. Consistent with most Islamic architecture, dars are based around small open-air patios, surrounded by very tall thick walls, to block direct light and minimize heat. Enjoy typical Moroccan hospitality with a stay at a riad, which is usually a palace or grand courtyard home that has been turned into a luxury boutique hotel or bed and breakfast.

Cuisine

Moroccan cuisine is home to Berber, Moorish, and Arab influences. It is known for dishes like couscouspastilla, and others. Sweets like halwa are popular, as well as other sweets. Cuisines from neighbouring countries also influence the country's culinary traditions. Delicious Moroccan cuisine will have you asking for more. You also have to try tajine, a subtly-flavoured stew using lamb, chicken or fish. 
Taste the moroccan tea, which is a green tea with mint leaves. It is served not only at mealtimes but all through the day, and it is especially a drink of hospitality, commonly served whenever there are guests. It is almost impolite to refuse it ;)

Our cuisine was rated the Second best cuisine in the world, you will not be disappointed ! 

After your exchange in Morocco, you will have tasted almost all the moroccan dishes/drinks.

Music

Music, dance and Arab traditions such as storytelling and horse riding are at the fore of Morocco’s moussems, held throughout the country and incorporating a fair and a religious celebration. Top picks include the rose moussem at Kelaat M’Gouna near Ouarzazate and the date festival at Erfoud on the edge of the desert. Many festivals are held during all the year, in different cities. The most famous are : Jazzablanca, Festival de fès des musiques sacrées du monde(June), Festival international du film de Marrakech (November), ESSAOUIRA Gnaoua (June), Mawazine Festival (A world known festival, May) ...
OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Drugs, alcohol and smoking

In Morocco it is illegal to take any kind of recreational drugs. The legal drinking age is 18 for alcoholic drinks. Note that smoking is allowed in public places, unless explicitly specified.