A while ago, I wrote a list of things I wish more Americans knew about Morocco. Here’s the complementary post; what I wish more Moroccans knew about their own country.
- There are a lot of foreigners. There are not just French expats, but Americans, Africans, Asians, and other Europeans. And not all of them are rich, contrary to popular opinion.
- It is incredibly difficult for those foreigners to get visas. My explanations of what I have to go through to renew my residency are met by surprised looks from Moroccans, and knowing nods from other foreigners. I heard that the majority of French expats in Morocco just don’t bother getting visas, and leave every few months in order to continue living on a tourist visa.
- There is a big Christian presence in Morocco. There are churches in every major city, and there are several different denominations represented.
- It is much easier and much more useful to learn French than to learn Arabic. I came to Morocco with the intention of learning more Arabic, but ended up learning French out of necessity. Speaking French has allowed me to make friends, communicate with others, and be a better English teacher.
- It is not dangerous to walk by yourself in Casablanca. I walk to work every day, and have never felt unsafe (although I do often get annoyed by the traffic and by men). I am occasionally told that I should not walk, but I think it’s actually safer than putting my life in the hands of an impatient taxi driver.
- There are a lot of wonderful things that Morocco has that the United States does NOT have. For example, vacation homes for big companies, maternity leave and generous vacation day policies, cheap organic produce, and cleaning ladies who will clean your apartment once a week for a small price. Which explains my first point, that there are a lot of foreigners.