10 Ways My Everyday Life in Morocco is Different than in the US

tea in Morocco: How to Go for a Run in Morocco - 0 Ways My Everyday Life in Morocco is Different than in the US

10 Ways My Everyday Life in Morocco is Different than in the US

When I first came to Morocco, I knew that my life here would be different than in the U.S. for obvious reasons. As I’ve spent more time here I’ve noticed that the things which were at first blatantly different aren’t necessarily the things that I notice the most on a day-to-day basis. Here are the top 10 little ways my life here is different:

10 Ways My Everyday Life in Morocco is Different than in the US

1. I buy my own water.

Because the tap water in Morocco is very different from what I drink at home, I don’t drink it to try and avoid the stomach problems that would come with adjusting to the new bacteria. I usually pick up a large case of bottled water at the grocery store near my apartment about once a week.

2. I buy and eat more clementines.

In Morocco, the biggest health issues that travelers have to worry about besides those that come from drinking the water are those that come from eating fruit or vegetables that haven’t been washed.

An easy and delicious remedy is fruit with a peel because they are sold everywhere and you don’t have to wash them before eating them.

Eating unwashed produce may result in contracting bacteria.  An easy and delicious remedy is fruit with a peel because they are sold everywhere and you don’t have to wash them before eating them.

3. Ginger ale is the equivalent of the Fountain of Youth.

Whenever I am sick, especially with some sort of stomach bug, ginger ale is one of my go-to remedies because I find the bubbles and the ginger help calm my stomach down.

However ginger ale is not a popular drink here. It took weeks of searching before my roommate found a dusty stash in a corner store, but be warned, it is quite expensive.

4. I can make people smile just by greeting them in their language.

Whenever I go to the store or take a taxi, I try to at least greet the people I interact with in Dhrija (the Moroccan dialect of Arabic). The reaction I get is very rewarding–most people smile and ask me if I speak Arabic, and when I respond that I am learning it, they are happy. Something as small as making the effort to speak to someone in their native language has a significant impact.

5. I jaywalk all the time.

In every country you visit, there are two sets of traffic laws: the official ones and the unofficial ones. In Morocco, if you want to cross the street you’re going to have to jaywalk, and even stand on the traffic line as cars pass you on either side.

6. I worry about having change on me.

In a cash-based society such as Morocco, it’s important to always have cash on you as many shops don’t take credit cards.

It’s just as important to carry change (defined here as 20 dirham or less). This is crucial especially when taking cabs, as drivers hate making change and will insist that they don’t have any if you try and get more than a few dirham back on your fare.

It’s just as important to carry change (defined here as 20 dirham or less). This is crucial especially when taking cabs, as drivers hate making change and will insist that they don’t have any if you try and get more than a few dirham back on your fare.

7. I drink a lot of tea.

Tea is the most popular drink in Morocco, and once you’ve tasted traditional Moroccan mint tea, you’ll understand why. Usually I drink at least two to three glasses a day, with breakfast and then again at tea time.

8. I switch between English, Arabic and French without even realizing it.

It’s a challenge to live in a country that doesn’t use your native language because you’re constantly surrounded by signs and conversations that you don’t necessarily understand.

After a while, you probably won’t even notice it, and now I speak to my host family using a mix of three languages and forget that I’m doing so all the time.

After a while, you probably won’t even notice it, and now I speak to my host family using a mix of three languages and forget that I’m doing so all the time. When you start to think in a language that isn’t your native language then you know you’ve reached a new level of language immersion.

9. I don’t need a watch to tell what time it is; I can just listen for the call to prayer.

Because Morocco is a Muslim country, there are many aspects of Moroccan culture that reflect the importance of religion to the Moroccan identity, one of which is the call to prayer. This can be heard no matter where you are in the city five times a day.

10. I haven’t found any place to buy floss.

This is another one of those random items that you take for granted until you realize they don’t sell it in the grocery store.

These are the kinds of things you learn during a study abroad experience versus a vacation abroad.  I’m sure as I spend more time here this list will grow!

 

Life in Morocco

10 Ways My Everyday Life in Morocco is Different than in the US

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Fasting, Feasting, and Friendship: Visiting Morocco During Ramadan
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What Women Should Know Before Visiting North Africa
Bonjour, Morocco: Journeying to a Magical Land of Contrasts
What I Learned from Muslim Women in Morocco
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Have you traveled to Morocco? What were your impressions? We’d love to know if there’s any important information you recommend adding to this list. Email us at editor@pinkpangea.com for information about sharing your experience and advice with the Pink Pangea community. We can’t wait to hear from you.

About Virginia Cady

Virginia CadyVirginia Cady studies international studies and Middle Eastern studies at Dickinson College. She is currently studying abroad in Rabat, Morocco.

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