10 Tips for Living in Morocco 0

By Betsy Burlingame

Summary: Despite the Turkish toilets, high cost of living and language barrier, expats in Morocco agree that they love living in Morocco. Members share advice for living in and moving to Morocco.

Morocco - 10 Tips for Living in Morocco

In late November, we began a series of threads on our country forums entitled, "10 Tips for Living in...". We thank all of you who posted your tips and encourage readers to continue to post more tips by visiting your country's forum and looking for the thread "10 Tips for Living in...".

Here is our second 10 Tips article for people living in and moving to Morocco:

  1. Finding a Job - I feel that languages especially English, French and Spanish are in demand and you can easily find a job in a language centre. Some of them do not require you to have a teaching certificate, only that you are a native speaker. - Riana
  2. Taxis - There may be more than one passenger in a taxi. BUT as you add each person, YOUR fare should be reduced pro rata. It's not unusual at all to have 2 passengers plus driver in front and 4 in back. You would pay for the amount of SIX people if you go alone (I'm talking about big taxis, not petite taxis by the way) and if you are one of the SIX in a full taxi, it's substantially less. - malika
  3. Marriage - If you are an American getting married in Morocco, LOOK OUT! The complicated red tape is beyond anything one could imagine. Be prepared for a federal police investigation, a local police investigation, many many trips to the notary for advice and help, convincing the judge your marriage is for real, convincing all the support staff around the judge the marriage is real. You will have to meet with the king's delegate at the court and when he asks you about sexual relations, "no, I have not had sexual relations with my fiance". If you are female, when you get your certificate of good health from the doctor, be sure and also get a statement that you are not pregnant. I'm over 60 and had to go back for this. Organize, organize, organize and be prepared for hours of waiting and nothing moves. Be prepared to pay off anyone who is even slightly involved with your marriage papers. You will have at least 4 pounds of papers at the end and multiple multiple red seal stamps on every document. Set the price the notary is going to charge you BEFORE you start this process - we're getting ripped off now for double the price. You need to be patient and expect to do a lot of traveling to hand deliver documents between multiple cities. If they say come back at 2, don't leave - sit there until 2. - malika
  4. Moroccans - Moroccans are warm and extremely hospitable. There are man poor poor people and if you have $10 in your pocket, it's $10 more than they have and many times they are hungry. Please try to understand many people are desperate just to feed their family or to buy a tank of gas to heat their home for a very cold night. As Americans, almost none among us can imagine the challenges that face some of the most brillant and loving people on earth. - malika
  5. Family - Speaking of love, a Moroccan's family is their everything. Always remember to ask how each one of them are. Always say you pass your greetings on to them. This is so important to them. - malika
  6. Turkish Toilets - Be prepared for turkish toilets - the hole in the floor. If you travel outside the big cities, there will be many of them. Be sure to wash your hands well and touch as little as possible. Bring some antibiotic wipes from home to cut down on the risk of inviting in some uninvited germs. - malika
  7. Schools - There are no English schools unless you are prepared to pay private school prices. I have two kids and they cost about $10k a year in the American School. The French schools are difficult to get into as well. - gds
  8. Shopping - If anyone says "I want you to meet my friend" while shopping - run as fast as you can and don't look back. You'll be spending a lot more money. And by the way, money and cards in holder around neck and INSIDE your shirt. - malika
  9. Cost of Living - Cost of Living is high, especially if you intend on shopping in supermarkets. Having said that though, markets are abundant and affordable. Accommodation is very expensive if you have dreams of living in a Moroccan villa. Apartment living varies from very plush to very 'un-plush'. You get what you pay for, so you need to understand what you can afford, and also really make sure that you get good advice on areas to live in. - gds
  10. Language - English is a 3rd language if you are lucky so without support from a company, expect to struggle a lot as you get to grips with Arabic (not easy btw) and French. Nothing is in English...nothing!! The signs at the airport are the last smattering of English you will see...I assure you! - gds
  11. Last but not Least - Don't die until you've visited this magnificent and beautiful country. 40% illiteracy but some of the most intelligent people on the planet. I have many "favorite" parts of Morocco. The roads are dangerous particularly in the high atlas. Drive safely or force the driver to drive safely. The views are astounding. Merzouga and the surrounding area is about being free and feeling the presence of God. The beach cities are busy and wonderful. Try to connect with one family to be your friend and you'll find what the real value of life is if you happen to be a typical American. - malika

Add your own tips for living in Morocco by clicking here and posting a reply to the thread "10 Tips for Living in Morocco". To post tips for another country find the country forum here and look for the thread "10 Tips...".

Need more information on living in Morocco?

Login or Register and visit our Morocco Forum. Talk with other expats who can offer you insight and tips about living in Morocco.



About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder of Expat Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

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Comments about this Article

guest
Sep 16, 2010 11:10

this article gave me lots of good tips ii guess ii will have 2 put my son in arabic classes here in america before moving over there and myself as well. ii wuldve like to see more information on living conditions and places though and a place which i want to live in is casablanca ii heard its beautiful over there

guest
Oct 12, 2010 19:05

lot information was helpfull to me i am in process to move and live in mohammedia second option is safi what 2 bedroom apt cost to rent in safi or mohammedia ? plus i heared safi lot cheapper is their any hospital

guest
Nov 21, 2010 23:26

Thank you it sounds like an amazing place to visit...i will be visiting the end of next year.

guest
Feb 6, 2011 20:08

I Love Morocco and I also Love Othmane Nasrallah!!! Baby I love you!! Hugs and Kisses from New York !!

guest
Feb 9, 2011 13:03

I am a Swiss Chiropractor that speaks reads and writes fluent Arabic and English Could anyone help me by finding out if there are any limitations on me opening a private practice in Marakesh or Casablanca

guest
Jun 13, 2011 14:47

How is the gay scene in Morroco? Many gay bars? I like to cross dress; will this be a problem ?

guest
Jul 18, 2011 15:58

as moroccans i find your informations about moroccan people are quite false and harsh , 10 dollars means 10 more times than they have??? interesting i wonder if you were talking about moroccans here or some other nation in the universe, toilets ... thats funny cuz since i was born never used one of them !! by the way those toilets exist even in S.korea one of the most high tech countries..people of morocco are welcoming and and... but don't go with someone who ask you to meet his friend ( i won't do that even in danemark one of the safest places in the whole planet) marriage the conditions who have shown us it's only for moroccans ,about the language i feel like you were complaining that you can find any english signs !! hello you are in an arab country when i visited the us last year i had to read things in english :) so ?anyway my advice is who ever want to visit morocco come with open heart and taste the beauty of life, we love people and make people love us by being ourselves.

guest
Aug 20, 2011 03:27

@July 18, 2011 guest. Really, Malika's comments were pretty good overall. I find your July 18 overly critical and harsh. Perhaps you didnt read her comments very thoroughly. She said there are many many poor moroccans, and ten dollars can be a lot of money. Yes. That's true. I don't know where you've been in Morocco if you've never used the turkish style toilet and claim to have lived there all your life. You must come from a very rich family because most homes still have the turkish toilets, and most cafes, government buildings do too. If you are Moroccan you must be arabic moroccan, not amazigh, because only an arab is going to insist "get used to it you are in an arabic country. i do agree though that the comment about avoiding going shopping if they want to bring a friend seems over the top...i mean that can happen anywhere in the world...you just need to say, "No!" if its in Los Angeles, or Morocco....

guest
Nov 21, 2011 06:39

I have lived in Morocco for almost 2 years now and i love it here . First off , i am an American Muslim and so expected to live by the mores of the Moroccans from the start. I wear traditional Moroccan clothes and have a beard so it's not until i say something that they realize i'm not Moroccan myself. I have friends that go with me when i want to do things and so i haven't gotten into scrapes yet at all. The only things i miss here in morocco is peanut butter and sharp cheddar cheese ( not the processed wrapped single slices but real sharp cheddar cheese)The food is great here , almost all organic ( maybe antibiotics in the water given to chickens but that's it) I lost almost 50 lbs without being hungry here (lol and about 50 to go ) Rent , electricity and water are cheaper here than in america and food is a little more expensive , in the end its about the same or slightly cheaper than living in America

guest
Feb 27, 2012 23:57

morocco home of pick pockets , and corruption . they want to be your friend until they hustle you for whatever they can. your camera,cell phone,jewery,cash, passports. and thats just the civilians ! The police are even bigger thieves.

guest
Mar 9, 2012 11:38

very dramaitcally description of morrocco ? something is true and something is wrong for the marraige is easy if you have your passport and some contacts since in morocco all is contact and bribes iss so fast and people dont ask too much as 100 dollars or 450 dollars for all marriage processe .....dont be also this description is for the south of morrocco people are not very well regarding thier situation of living they are poor gentille personne ...be advised marrekch since too much tourist is normmally they get like that.....im spanish expat my english is noisy so sorry the countery are very beatiful and people are friendly if you find how to act and advised to know personnes of countery for to easy you a lief and after all is well the liefe is safe more in the usa iwas living

guest
Jun 10, 2012 12:09

I want to live in morocco because it reminds me of mexico. I am of mixed Mexican and German background and can afford to visit Europe too. I have a felony on me from 23 years ago I was a sailor bar fight and Americans do not want you to ever forget it. I also do not like American society it is for perverts. might become a Muslim. Carlos

guest
Jul 4, 2012 18:16

Awesome articles. The toilets would totally not shock me. I stayed w/a family in Mexico once, who only had the far end of a field. And would it also be like Mexico, in that you should always carry toilet paper? Wow, I learned THAT one fast!!! So many things we take for granted in the U.S.

guest
Jul 5, 2012 18:21

What is the possibility of staying there as a single woman? I am an English teacher.

guest
Apr 14, 2013 20:45

to whom may concerned, i appreciate every little tip i read in this article, i always dream to visit Morocco and love one day to say my dreams came true when i visit the Morocco. I know the people are beautiful and very warm cultured, God Bless Morocco and the people that live there,i would like to have more information the best place to visit if just visiting by my self. I love Morocco and the cultured sincerely Carmen Acevedo any information send to my E-mail carmenisaly@hotmail.com

guest
Apr 16, 2013 14:51

Yes you should carry toilet paper!! It's actually Islamic tradition to wipe with something before washing. The tradition is to use three 'stones' (hard clods of earth baked by the sun), but toilet paper will do. So I'm not sure why Moroccans don't use anything before they wash. Antibacterial wipes or that alcohol stuff to clean your hands with is a good idea if you're using public toilets. As for food prices, it depends where you shop. If you go to the supermarkets then it's pretty expensive. But street markets are excellent and cheap. I would advise be adventurous and explore the markets, don't be afraid to bargain! Take a Moroccan friend with you if possible so they can show you how to not get ripped off, how to bargain efficiently and the best people to buy from. Why not ask a friendly neighbour if you don't know any native moroccans yet? Most moroccans will be obliging, helpful and trustworthy. Once you learn the ropes your food prices will be amazingly cheap. Gorgeous fresh produce for a fraction of the price in the US or UK.

guest
Jul 19, 2013 07:29

Am from morocco and everything you sad is 100% correct thank you so much i dont like to strugle like this a see you soon

catnmouss
Sep 28, 2013 19:59

I am currently purchasing a home for retirement in Aglou ,morocco. I love morocco, the people are friendly. As for some of the tips, especially Marked July 19 2013. You must not be friendly your self. I've been to Kenitra, Rabat, essourra, Marrakech , Agadir, Tisnit, Mirlift, and Tafraoute . Every place the people were kind. I am blonde and only speak English, some Spanish, I did find it a little difficult buying anything that wasn't marked, and of course the price goes up when the see me, but that's part of the charm. I grew up in the ghetto in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. So I know how to watch my back, but I'm more afraid of the junkies with guns and prostitutes then I am of someone begging. I'm a convert to Islam, and a haja. If you can give something to someone you should, make their life a little easier. Alhammdullah God has blessed me with a fantastic, generous Moroccan husband who has taught me to be a true muslim, not just going to the mosque to pray. Live your life as a good muslim and God will be rewarding to you. Although I have only spent three holidays in Morocco, I can't wait to retire there, our home will be finished by June 2014, Enshallah, but I won't be permanently living there for at least 5- 8 years. Until all my children are out of college and doing well for themselves. I plan on studying French, so I can communicat on my own. I would love to work part time with children, either teaching them English or at an orphanage, or teaching them sports, maybe volleyball or softball for girls. I want to learn how to surf! Even if I'll be in my 50's when I retire, I want to keep busy, and stay healthy. I have just recently been back to Agadir in July of this year, and loved going to the weekly souk. Can't wait to be able to buy fresh food, and it is much cheaper then in the states, at least where I live in Central Nj. If anyone knows of any schools near Aglou that I could volunteer at I would appreciate it, or if someone know where I should start, perhaps in Tisnit, government buildings , there maybe something there that would put me on the right direction. Shukron Cathy

First Published: Feb 01, 2009

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