For those visiting from first-world countries, Morocco will totally change your mindset. The day-to-day norm in the country is very different and can be shocking. Although a move to Morocco is a big step and everything might seem different, it is only a matter of time before you acclimate and become more open-minded and accepting as you live among people who warmly welcome you.
Moroccans are known for their hospitality and for warmly welcoming visitors. They are grateful and happy when visitors come to experience the traditions, cuisine and history. It’s not uncommon to strike up conversation in a restaurant and then find yourself at a family dinner with your new friends the next day. It’s just what they do! Those who move to Morocco might notice there are many small things such as this that people do to help you feel more at home.
Many people travel to Morocco just for the food. Local cuisine uses many spices, including in dishes such as couscous, tagines, rfissa, pastilla and others. Moroccans also enjoy some foods not commonly found elsewhere, such as camel meat and snails. Going to the souks to pick your own spices and cook at home is also a unique experience.
Morocco is where Europe meets Africa and the Middle East. Here you will find a rich and diverse history that includes different dynasties, the Romans, the Berbers, Jews, Spaniards, Africans and Arabs. Although the main religion in Morocco is Islam, there are also large Jewish and Christian communities. There is no need to worry about fitting in when coming from abroad—Moroccans love socialising and helping you discover their country. Wherever you are from, you will feel welcomed.
Haggling in Morocco as a foreigner is not always easy, but it is part of the culture and simply part of the shopping experience. If you don’t speak the language, some vendors will try to get you to pay a higher price. Start by stating the price you think the product is worth. If the merchant doesn’t agree, walk off. He will likely chase you down the street to agree to your price. If he doesn’t, just go somewhere else, and you will probably find the same product for less. Once you’ve got the hang of it, the merchants will be able to tell.
Communicating might be your number-one issue when you arrive. Many people only speak Moroccan Arabic, French and Spanish. At first, you might need to use gestures and other means of communication, but it is a great opportunity to learn a new language while you’re immersed in it.
Morocco is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea and includes part of the Sahara Desert and some incredibly beautiful oases. The combination makes for an endless number of activities and experiences. You might decide one day on a whim to go camel trekking in the Sahara or to hike the Toubkal. Maybe while watching Game of Thrones you’ll get the urge to visit the filming location in Ait Ben Haddou, an old village that draws many Hollywood producers.