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8 Expats Talk About What It's Like Living in Morocco

Betsy Burlingame

Summary: Expats in Morocco talk about challenges for women living in smaller cities, Moroccan people, cultural blunders and more.

Marrakech, Morocco
Marrakech, Morocco

Expats talk about adapting to the Moroccan culture, restrictions for women living in smaller cities, cultural blunders and more.

What Expats Appreciate About Moroccan Culture

"Moroccans are warm and extremely hospitable. There are 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 brilliant and loving people on earth," said one expat in Morocco.

"I appreciate so much the way Moroccans have a strong social network of family and friends to help each other and support each other in a multitude of ways. I appreciate observing in my Amazigh family relationships that even when there are squabbles, they pull together again and help each other when its needed. I appreciate greatly the "TRUE GENEROSITY" of sharing themselves and materially with others. I also enjoy the way the men in our family help their wives, mothers, grandmas, etc., with the chores of daily life," said one expat living in Khemisset, Morocco.

The Most Challenging Aspects of Living in Morocco

Depending upon where you live in Morocco, expats will find different challenges. "Being a woman alone in Morocco should not pose a problem. I am a while, fair haired woman frequently travelling alone in many parts of Morocco. Alhamdolilleh until now have never had a problem. But I put it down to dressing modestly, I don't wear much make up and very little jewellery. People are friendly and want to talk. If men make a call I smile and say good morning but carry on with my business. I will stop to chat with storekeepers and women," commented one expat living in Rabat.

"One new challenge was adapting from American culture where women can easily go most anywhere unaccompanied without a thought about it. And, no one sees that as strange. But, in a smaller city such as Khemisset, women travel in family groups with other female relatives, or with male relatives, or with their children and its not common for a woman to walk the streets, or travel by oneself. In my family, most of the daily shopping for food, etc., is done by men. It actually takes a lot of the burden of running the household off the women," said one expat living in Khemisset, Morocco.

"Thieves, trash everywhere and the outdoor urinal. Getting used to the economy," mentioned another expat in Morocco.

Cultural Blunders

Morocco
Morocco

When we asked expats about cultural blunders they've experienced in Morocco, they replied:

"Yes. I learned quickly that my habit of ambidexterity and using both hands to do things needed retraining to break that habit. Its not good to reach for food with your left hand.. Oh my gosh. Thats a huge social blunder. And, so much hugging between members of the same sex, holding hands etc., which really I never was a hugger back in the USA. I also needed to learn no shaking hands with men," said one expat living in Khemisset, Morocco.

"I love my new family they truly are so patient in my attempt to learn arabic. I am not allowed to say a few words in arabic since I cannot seem to hear or repeat what is being said. So much so that it is now the family joke. The words are not in any book stating to be carefull. zip as in: to zip around a corner. This essentially is a man unzipping his pants as explained to me. Careful saying coffee in arabic. Said wrong you are asking someone if they would like a cup of sperm. Husband said wrong in arabic means thief. And there were a few other funnies, bless them all for making light of the learning moments. I will say the whole family agreed after numerous attempts of trying to say coffee in arabic I am now to just say "coffee"," mentioned another expat in Morocco.

Expats living in Morocco interested in expat health insurance should take a minute to get a quote from our trusted expat health insurance partner, CIGNA. Get a Quote

Expats living in Morocco interested in expat health insurance should take a minute to get a quote from our trusted expat health insurance partner, CIGNA.

Diversity in Morocco

We asked expats about diversity in Morocco and whether locals are accepting of differences. They said:

"As a black American I have never disrespected but I know no one outside of my wife. I do not speak either Arabic or French so I'm unable to have any conversations with anyone outside of my wife. I have not seen any other American living in Al Hocemia. But I'm still hoping to meet other people and hopefully some Americans," said one expat living in Al Hocemia , Morocco.

Advice for Newcomers to Morocco

Rabat, Morocco
Rabat, Morocco

"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," said one expat living in Khemisset, Morocco.

"If you have never traveled to another country you need to find a group of people who live in the area who have already gone thru the culture shock. If you are used to travel just remember that you can still experience culture shock and the emotions associated," mentioned another expat in Morocco.

Expat Health Insurance in Morocco

Expats interested in expat health insurance should take a minute to get a quote from our trusted expat health insurance partner, CIGNA.

Read Next

Living-in-Al-Hocemia-An Expat Discusses Living in Al Hocemia , Morocco

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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. Some of Betsy's more popular articles include 6 Best Places to Live in Costa Rica, 12 Things to Know Before Moving to The Dominican Republic and 7 Tips for Obtaining Residence in Italy. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

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First Published: Mar 27, 2018

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8-Expats-Talk-About-What-Its-Like-Living-in-Morocco8 Expats Talk About What It's Like Living in Morocco

Expats in Morocco talk about challenges for women living in smaller cities, Moroccan people, cultural blunders and more.
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What are the best hospitals in Morocco? Is Moroccan healthcare free? Should I buy expat health insurance? Are my medications available in Morocco? Answers to these and more questions that expats living in Morocco and people moving to Morocco need to know.

What are the best hospitals in Morocco? Is Moroccan healthcare free? Should I buy expat health insurance? Are my medications available in Morocco? Answers to these and more questions that expats l...

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getreportdetails (Datasource=expert, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/article_tester15.cfm @ 09:23:33.033
SELECT networkname as ctry, city, networkid, rid, networkname, answerid, citynetworkid
FROM allreports
WHERE answerid = 73019 
getnatadcats (Datasource=expert, Time=0ms, Records=0) in /home/www/html/nativerotationtop.cfm @ 09:23:33.033
SELECT *
FROM natadoptions 
WHERE natadtypeid = ''
GROUP BY category
getquestions (Datasource=reports, Time=1ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/article_tester15.cfm @ 09:23:33.033
SELECT questions.qid, defaultheading, defaultintro, question, questions.entity
FROM questions
WHERE  questions.qid = 349 
getcustomquestions (Datasource=reports, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/article_tester15.cfm @ 09:23:33.033
SELECT *
FROM rptarticlequestions
WHERE  qid = 349
and rptarticleid = 19
and dbase = 'report'
getquestionanswers (Datasource=reports, Time=7ms, Records=2) in /home/www/html/article_tester15.cfm @ 09:23:33.033
SELECT DISTINCT answerstext.qid, answerstext.answer as answer, answerstext.reviewed, answerstext.score, answerstext.answerid
FROM answerstext, answersmc
WHERE answerstext.qid = 349
AND answerstext.reviewed= 'y'
AND answerstext.score > 1
AND answerstext.answer <> ''
and length(answerstext.answer) > 80
AND answersmc.qoid = 944
and answersmc.answerid = answerstext.answerid
getcustomphoto (Datasource=expert, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/article_tester15.cfm @ 09:23:33.033
SELECT DISTINCT hpimg, photocaption
FROM countryphotos
WHERE photoid = 672 
getnatadcats (Datasource=expert, Time=0ms, Records=0) in /home/www/html/nativerotationtop.cfm @ 09:23:33.033
SELECT *
FROM natadoptions 
WHERE natadtypeid = ''
GROUP BY category
getreportdetails (Datasource=expert, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/article_tester15.cfm @ 09:23:33.033
SELECT networkname as ctry, city, networkid, rid, networkname, answerid, citynetworkid
FROM allreports
WHERE answerid = 26466 
getreportdetails (Datasource=expert, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/article_tester15.cfm @ 09:23:33.033
SELECT networkname as ctry, city, networkid, rid, networkname, answerid, citynetworkid
FROM allreports
WHERE answerid = 27041 
getnatadcats (Datasource=expert, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/nativerotationtop.cfm @ 09:23:33.033
SELECT *
FROM natadoptions 
WHERE natadtypeid = '1'
GROUP BY category
getnatadtype (Datasource=expert, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/nativerotationtop.cfm @ 09:23:33.033
SELECT *
FROM natadoptions 
WHERE natadtypeid = 1 
getnatadbottom (Datasource=expert, Time=1ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/nativerotationtop.cfm @ 09:23:33.033
SELECT resourceid, headerparagraph as adcode, headerparagraphweight, natads.natadid
FROM natads, natadPlacement
WHERE headerparagraphtype = 1
and natadPlacement.networkID = 81
and natadPlacement.natadid = natads.natadid
and headerparagraphend > "2020-07-02"
and headerparagraphstart < "2020-07-03"
and headerparagraphstatus = 'live'

and headerparagraphweight = 'high'
getnatadbottom (Datasource=expert, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/nativerotationtop.cfm @ 09:23:33.033
SELECT resourceid, headerparagraph as adcode, headerparagraphweight, natadid
FROM natads 
WHERE natadid = 46
and headerparagraphtype = 1 
getcustomquestionstipripper (Datasource=reports, Time=1ms, Records=0) in /home/www/html/article_tester15.cfm @ 09:23:33.033
SELECT *
FROM rptarticlequestions
WHERE  qid = 0
and rptarticleid = 19
and dbase = 'tipripper'
getquestionanswers (Datasource=tipripper, Time=92ms, Records=0) in /home/www/html/article_tester15.cfm @ 09:23:33.033
SELECT DISTINCT answerstext.qid, answerstext.answer as answer, answerstext.reviewed, answerstext.score, answerstext.answerid
FROM answerstext, answersmc, answers
WHERE answerstext.qid = 0
AND answers.reviewed= 'y'
and answerstext.answerid = answers.answerid
AND answerstext.answer <> ''
and length(answerstext.answer) > 80
AND answersmc.qoid = 944 
and answersmc.answerid = answerstext.answerid
getnatadcats (Datasource=expert, Time=1ms, Records=0) in /home/www/html/nativerotationtop.cfm @ 09:23:33.033
SELECT *
FROM natadoptions 
WHERE natadtypeid = ''
GROUP BY category
checkculturefeature (Datasource=expert, Time=5ms, Records=0) in /home/www/html/article_global_readnext.cfm @ 09:23:33.033
		Select networkname as ctry, city, networkid, rid, networkname, answerid
		FROM allreports
         where rid = 95
 	    
         and networkid = 81 
         and city <> ''
  	   and date > '2014-04-01'
	    
	    	order by date DESC
	    	
checklivingfeature (Datasource=expert, Time=5ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/article_global_readnext.cfm @ 09:23:33.033
		Select networkname as ctry, city, networkid, rid, networkname, answerid
		FROM allreports
         where rid = 58
           and city <> ''
      	    
         and networkid = 81 
           and answerid > 64927
	    
	    	order by date DESC
	    	
getsummary (Datasource=reports, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/article_global_readnext.cfm @ 09:23:33.033
		Select summary, hiimg 
		FROM answers
         where answerid = 73019
         and summary <> ''
gettaxgeneral (Datasource=expert, Time=6ms, Records=2) in /home/www/html/article_global_readnext.cfm @ 09:23:33.033
	Select title, hitopic, hidescript, author, articles.articleID, hiimg, summary, authorurl, hpimg
	From articles, articlePlacement
	Where hitopic <> ''
	    
   	and articlePlacement.networkID = 81 
	AND articlePlacement.articleID = articles.articleID
	and hidescript <> ''
    and type = '3'
    and articles.topic <> 'Weekly Quizzes'
   	and articles.topic <> 'Weekly Quizzes: Answers'
    and general <> 'bb'
    and hpimg <> 'none'
    and summary <> ''
    and (articles.author = 'Betsy Burlingame' or articles.author = 'Joshua Wood')
    and publishdate < "2020-07-03"
    and publishdate > '2010-01-01'

    ORDER by articles.articleID desc
    
gettopbanner (Datasource=expert, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navbottomad_rdesign5.cfm @ 09:23:33.033
	Select *
	From banners, bannerPlacement
	WHERE status <> "hold"
	AND position = "eebannercountry"
    and toDate > "2020-07-02"
    and fromDate < "2020-07-03"
    and bannerPlacement.networkid = 81
    and bannerPlacement.bannerid = banners.bannerid
    and banners.promised = ''
    and banners.type <> 'swf'
UpdatePageViews (Datasource=expert, Time=2ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navbottomad_rdesign5.cfm @ 09:23:33.033
  UPDATE banners
  SET impressions = impressions + 1
  WHERE bannerid = 869 
gethpbox (Datasource=expert, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navmpu_rdesign5.cfm @ 09:23:33.033
	Select *
	From banners
	WHERE status <> "hold"
	AND (position = "eehpbox" or position = "eehpboxglobal")
    and toDate > {ts '2020-07-02 09:23:33'}
    and fromDate <{ts '2020-07-03 09:23:33'}
    and banners.type <> 'swf'
    
UpdatePageViews (Datasource=expert, Time=2ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navmpu_rdesign5.cfm @ 09:23:33.033
  UPDATE banners
  SET impressions = impressions + 1
  WHERE bannerid = 866 
GetMessages (Datasource=forum, Time=1ms, Records=0) in /home/www/html/commentsnew_rdesign4.cfm @ 09:23:33.033
  SELECT *
  FROM comments m 
  WHERE m.tpcid = 19 
  and m.commenttype = 20
  and m.isapproved = 1
  ORDER BY msgid ASC
checkrptarticles (Datasource=reports, Time=4ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentbox.cfm @ 09:23:33.033
		Select *
		FROM rptarticles, rptarticlenetworks
         where rptarticles.rptarticleID = rptarticlenetworks.rptarticleID
       and rptarticles.publishdate < "2020-07-03"
     
         and rptarticlenetworks.networkid = 81 
    ORDER by rptarticles.rptarticleID desc
    
getreportarticle (Datasource=reports, Time=1ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/rewritearticlefirsttitle.cfm @ 09:23:33.033
	Select *
	From rptarticles, rptarticlenetworks
	Where rptarticles.rptarticleID = 19
	and rptarticlenetworks.rptarticleID = rptarticles.rptarticleID
getnameforarticle (Datasource=expert, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/rewritearticlefirsttitle.cfm @ 09:23:33.033
	Select networkname, forumLink, frmid, networktype, isCity, hot, networkID, usekeywords, metatitle, shortname, shortnamecap
	From Networks
	Where networkID = 81 
getrptarticlephotos (Datasource=reports, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentbox.cfm @ 09:23:33.033
SELECT  hiimg
FROM rptarticles
where rptarticleID = 19
and hiimg <> ''
gettaxgeneral2 (Datasource=expert, Time=5ms, Records=2) in /home/www/html/navcontentbox.cfm @ 09:23:33.033
	Select title, hitopic, hidescript, author, articles.articleID, hiimg, summary, authorurl, hpimg
	From articles, articlePlacement
	Where hitopic <> ''
	and articlePlacement.networkID = 81 
	AND articlePlacement.articleID = articles.articleID
	and hidescript <> ''
    and type = '3'
    and articles.topic <> 'Weekly Quizzes'
   	and articles.topic <> 'Weekly Quizzes: Answers'
    and general <> 'bb'
    and hpimg <> 'none'
    and summary <> ''
    and (articles.author = 'Betsy Burlingame' or articles.author = 'Joshua Wood')
    and publishdate < "2020-07-03"

    ORDER by articles.articleID desc
    
checkretirefeature (Datasource=expert, Time=5ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentbox.cfm @ 09:23:33.033
		Select networkname as ctry, city, networkid, rid, networkname, answerid
		FROM allreports
         where rid = 96
      
         and networkid = 81 
         and city <> ''
         and date > '2013-04-01'
         order by date DESC
getsummary (Datasource=reports, Time=1ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentbox.cfm @ 09:23:33.033
		Select summary, hiimg 
		FROM answers
         where answerid = 73232
         and summary <> ''
checkmovingfeature (Datasource=expert, Time=6ms, Records=0) in /home/www/html/navcontentbox.cfm @ 09:23:33.033
		Select networkname as ctry, city, networkid, rid, networkname, answerid
		FROM allreports
         where rid = 63
         and city <> ''
         
         and networkid = 81 
          and date > '2013-04-01'
		order by date DESC


Scope Variables

CGI Variables:
AUTH_PASSWORD=
AUTH_TYPE=
AUTH_USER=
CERT_COOKIE=
CERT_FLAGS=
CERT_ISSUER=
CERT_KEYSIZE=
CERT_SECRETKEYSIZE=
CERT_SERIALNUMBER=
CERT_SERVER_ISSUER=
CERT_SERVER_SUBJECT=
CERT_SUBJECT=
CF_TEMPLATE_PATH=/home/www/html/article_tester15.cfm
CONTENT_LENGTH=
CONTENT_TYPE=
CONTEXT_PATH=
GATEWAY_INTERFACE=CGI/1.1
HTTPS=on
HTTPS_KEYSIZE=
HTTPS_SECRETKEYSIZE=
HTTPS_SERVER_ISSUER=
HTTPS_SERVER_SUBJECT=
HTTP_ACCEPT=text/html,application/xhtml+xml,application/xml;q=0.9,*/*;q=0.8
HTTP_ACCEPT_ENCODING=gzip
HTTP_ACCEPT_LANGUAGE=en-US,en;q=0.5
HTTP_CONNECTION=Keep-Alive
HTTP_COOKIE=
HTTP_HOST=www.expatexchange.com
HTTP_REFERER=
HTTP_USER_AGENT=CCBot/2.0 (https://commoncrawl.org/faq/)
PATH_INFO=
PATH_TRANSLATED=/home/www/html/article_tester15.cfm
QUERY_STRING=rptarticleid=19&article=2&networkid=81&networkname=Morocco&slug=8-Expats-Talk-About-What-Its-Like-Living-in-Morocco
REMOTE_ADDR=162.158.78.198
REMOTE_HOST=162.158.78.198
REMOTE_USER=
REQUEST_METHOD=GET
SCRIPT_NAME=/article_tester15.cfm
SERVER_NAME=www.expatexchange.com
SERVER_PORT=443
SERVER_PORT_SECURE=1
SERVER_PROTOCOL=HTTP/1.1
SERVER_SOFTWARE=Apache
WEB_SERVER_API=
Session Variables:
cfid=30926686
cftoken=72866177
sessionid=IBEXPATEXCHANGE.COM_30926686_72866177
urltoken=CFID=30926686&CFTOKEN=72866177
URL Parameters:
article=2
networkid=81
networkname=Morocco
rptarticleid=19
slug=8-Expats-Talk-About-What-Its-Like-Living-in-Morocco
Debug Rendering Time: 16 ms