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A reader commented on the Expat Report Culture Shock in Khemisset, Morocco
Culture-Shock-in-Khemisset
Do you have any advice or thoughts about culture shock you would like to share?
Just try to keep yourself busy and occupied and understand its normal to go through an adjustment period, Read about the emotions you may experience while you go through culture shock and know it will get better with time and that it happens to everyone. Also, don't expect your experience to be "textbook" or exactly the same chronologically as others have described. I think one stage that may not be mentioned often is just feeling "numb" or like you are in shock. Just try to go with the flow, have an open mind, and don't freak out over the negative aspects of your new culture. Try to put it in perspective and imagine yourself as a stranger seeing some of the not so great aspects of American culture for the first time, and maybe that will help you get through your own adaption process. (Continue)
marrakchimanquee replied most recently with:
This is a lovely posting. I am sure your personal determination to be positive at all times made a huge difference both for you and for the family you were joining. I think in some of the larger, more cosmopolitan places eg Marrakech, the custom & practice is not so rigidly applied, particularly if you are known to be 'foreign'. Something I have never experienced before coming to Morocco, is that women who are really pleased to see you, kiss the second cheek twice, such a simple but very warm gesture. What I find most difficult to come to terms with is not the hugging between same sex friends- as this seems to have become very fashionable among the young in the UK- but the complete lack of public affection evidenced between husband & wife. In fact it is rare to even see married couples walking together Maybe this might change when arranged marriages stop being the norm & more people get to choose their own partners. The negative side of these close families, however, is that for women who are divorced, life is very difficult. Hardly any will voluntarily offer up this information & instead just say they are : "not married" which is very puzzling at first for a Westerner!
A reader replied recently with:
I also went to Khemisset, Morcco where I got married to my ex-husband. We met online in 2002 and developed a relationship. In 2003 I went over there to meet my husband to be in person and also his family. We were married there.I spent 8 weeks there at that time and then went again in 2005 for 6 weeks. The cultural shock was definetly different from the US. I had a friend of mine who had been to Khemisset also and who gave me a heads up on several things that helped my visit there be an easier transition for me. Although my husband came to the US in 2007,and we divorced in 2008, I don't regret my time spent with him and his family. I am so thankful to have had the experience of Morocco and the people there.
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A reader commented on the Expat Report Dating and Marriage in Khemisset, Morocco
Dating-and-Marriage-in-Khemisset
What is it like in your country of residence for someone with your relationship status (married/divorced/dating)? If you're single, how do you meet other people? Do English-speaking people tend to gravitate to certain parts of your city?
My experience has been overall good, but I think it is because I decided if I am going to live in Morocco with my Moroccan husband, then I need to go with the flow, learn customs, the respect the culture and leave American ways of doing things back in America. Example: My husband was okay with me not wearing hijab, in fact he tried to talk me out of it. But, all the women in his family wear hijab. I decided to do the same, and I've always dressed fairly conservatively in the States anyway. Wow! What a difference. By doing so it speeded the acceptance into the family, and I felt so much more comfortable on the street. the family were loving and wonderful with me from the start but my acceptance of their custom "truly made me a daughter of the house" and they beamed with pride when we went on family outings because it was evidence of my respect for them. With hijab, and dark glasses I became nearly invisible and the tension felt before was reduced immensely. Actually, it worked the opposite of what one might expect. It made me feel more "assimilated" and free, much more than before when my head was uncovered. And, a plus was no more worrying about what my hair looked like, or if it was presentable due to the heat or wind...etc. I guess my experience may be unique to myself. However, if other American women, or European women living in Morocco wish to make comments, I'd love to hear your perspective or experience. (Continue)
A reader replied most recently with:
Very interesting ! The author of this report most probably does not relate with other female or male expats . How would she behave if she had to go out for a coffee or tea with another female expat not wearing a hijab ? How would she behave if she were to welcome her American relatives to go out shopping in Morocco ?
A reader replied recently with:
thank you. Your comments back up what I am experiencing living in a small community in Egypt with an Egyptian partner. They also remind me of the positives of being here and in this relationship, on the days (and there are still plenty of them) when this is not so easy. You also help with my seesawing on whether to adopt hijab or not (I already dress modestly, covered neck to ankle and wrists).
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