Intercultural

My Moroccan Memories: From A to Z

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Michaella Patterson is a student at Bridgewater State University and an ISA Featured Blogger. She studied abroad with ISA in Meknes, Morocco.
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A: Al-Attarin Medersa is the oldest Islamic religious school, established in 1325 by Abu Siad in Fes. Its intricate detail work consists of beautiful colored tiles, carved cedar wood and plaster, and is etched with Arabic citations of the Qur’an.

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Al- Attarin Medersa’ Center of the Al- Attarin Medersa.


B: Looking for a cultural experience with a great workout? If you have the time, take a belly dancing class.


C: A popular tradition and the best day of the week is Couscous Friday!

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Couscous with chicken, chickpeas and vegetables.


D: Adoring doors throughout every city!

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You have never seen a door until you have visited Morocco. This one happens to be along the beautiful Muhammad the V mosque in Casablanca!


E: Eid al-Kabir is one of the biggest Islamic holidays of the year. It is the celebration of Abraham’s sacrifice to God. This is an important ceremony where families come together and a sheep is sacrificed. All parts are used.

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For more information on this holiday, check out a article by blogger Jordan Erb.


F: Due to its popularity, frangipane is literally the freshest and best baked good to pick up, no matter the time of day.

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Flakey puff pastry dough with a delicious almond paste center.


G:Gnawa is a traditional and spiritual genre of music and dance with Sub-Saharan and Arabic roots.

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Visiting the Dar Gnawa on are last ISA excursion of the semester in Merzouga.


H: The best place to be exfoliated is the hammam, a local bathhouse used for centuries.

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For more information check out my previous post.


I: Ifrane is a small Moroccan mountain city perched above the Atlas Mountains. It was founded by the French during the protectorate era and is well known for its beautiful views, and as a space for year-long outdoor sport activities.

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During our guided hike through the Cedar Forest, ISA students enjoyed becoming one with nature.


J: Juice Palace Café is the best spot in Meknes to grab fresh Jus (juice), made with fresh ingredients from orange, pineapple, almond or avocado.


K: Looking to learn how to surf and on a budget? Kenitra is a port city off the Atlantic well known for its great waves.

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ISA students enjoyed the last warm weekend in Morocco riding the waves!


L: When in Tangier, you can visit Cap Spartel, a lighthouse that looks out to both the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea.

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Where oceans collide.


M: The medina is the local city / market area where you can find things such as natural products for hair or skin, fresh produce and meats, hand-crafted materials, and shop for traditional clothing.

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One of our guided tours through the city of Fes. Here are the tanneries where hides are dyed to be transformed into merchandise.


N: The Amazigh (also known as Berber) is an ethnic group native to areas throughout North Africa. Today in Morocco, some live in the cities such as Marrakesh, or roam as Nomads throughout the desert.

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Here is a handmade tent made from local resources. This style has many purposes: selling goods, lounging and sipping tea with guests, and keeping out the cool air in the winter months (vise-versa in the summer) by rolling down the sides.


O: Ouzoud is the second tallest waterfall in Africa.

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Breathtaking waterfall in Morocco.


P: Plant a tree to help make Morocco greener.

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Participated in “Plant a Million,” a summit that was run out of Marrakesh.


Q: Participating in cultural exchange discussions and questioning the locals about life in the area is one of the best way to learn about the culture and explore.


R: If you have the chance, ride a camel through the desert in Morzuga.

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Officially checked off my bucket list.


S: After receiving its independence in 1956, a portion of Morocco is still occupied. This small touristy city called Melilla, is better known as “A Little Slice of Spain”.


T: A traditional North African and Arabic cuisine that is named after the detailed ceramics it is prepared in is called Tagine. It is prepared the same but each dish contains different combinations, with a meat (typically lamb or chicken), an abundance of vegetables, potatoes, and may have olives, prunes or raisins.

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Look for the triangular-shaped ceramics.


U: Volubilis is a well-known UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was once controlled by the Phoenician Empire, the Romans, and later by local Christian and Muslim tribes.

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Another ISA excursion, to Volubilis.


V: Visit the colored cities.

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The Bab Mansour is located in Meknes – The Green City. Below is a castle along the coast in Casablanca – The White City.

 

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To the left is an area of the market in Merrekesh – The Red City. To the right is Chefchaouen, known as The Blue City.


W: Watch the sunset and sunrise along the dunes of the Western Sahara.

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Beautiful shadow shots in the desert.


X: Do not be surprised by the xenodochial (hospitable) mentality when being invited to someone’s house after knowing them for a brief amount of time. Yes, this can even be within 15 minutes!


Y: Yalla-Yalla – A common phrase meaning “Come On!” or “Lets’ Go!” All over Morocco (as well as during our excursion), this phrase is said to keep up and keep exploring.

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Shout out to ISA 2016.


Z: The beautiful Zellij which translates to “tile work,” is a customary art form that can be found all over Morocco.

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One of the many beautiful geometric artworks that can be found is the Bab El Assa fountain in Tangier.

The world awaits…discover it.

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