The GoGlobal Blog

First Impressions…

First Impressions…

First impressions are the most important, or so they say, and Rabat definitely makes a great one. After taking a hard nap on the plane from Paris to Rabat, accompanied by over 15 other students from my program, we landed in the Rabat-Sale airport. From there, we were greeted by our program directors and we took a bus through the city to the hotel where we will stay for 5 nights until Friday (when we meet our host family). The sun was shining and the sky was cloudless as we drove through the three different parts of the city: the post-colonial area or ville nouvelle; the colonial, French created area, and the ancient medina which dates back to the 15-16th centuries and is where we will be staying for the duration of the program. After a quick nap and some introductions, we dined at a restaurant just outside the medina. The food is comprised mostly of fresh fruits, steamed vegetables, round bread, and hearty soups and stews. We had a sort of Moroccan chicken gumbo as well as steamed green beans, carrots, and potatoes followed by oranges and bananas for dessert. Our program will be hosted at the Center for Cross Cultural Learning (CCCL) which is housed in a GORGEOUS building nestled deep in the alleyways of the medina. It has many large rooms around an open courtyard, a huge skylight, and a rooftop patio which gives a panoramic view of the city as well as Rabat’s sister city Sale–just across the Bourgreg river. There’s also a great view of the Atlantic Ocean and some of the city’s surfing beaches.


My absolute favorite part of my first day in Rabat was the drive from the airport to the hotel. Morocco definitely differs from my initial expectations. It is green and there are lots of trees, there are so many parks and families were everywhere, picnicking on the beautiful Sunday morning. Palm trees and orange groves give the area a feeling of Palm Springs, streets signs read French and Arabic, and new construction surrounds the entire city. There is a lot of new infrastructure, such as roads and parks and schools, as well as residences being built. It’s interesting to see the city is growing and changing as I’m discovering it for the first time. It smells like Europe, looks like the Arab world, feels like Palm Springs, and sounds in some places like France. I think it’s going to be easy to call this place home for four months.


Arabic lesson: the center of the city
markaz al-madinat

I eat a lot of bread and fruits and vegetables
Ana akl al-khubz wa al-fawakih wa al-khaDrawaat al-kathiir

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