Many of us feel down when it’s cold and cloudy outside, and the lack of sunshine can really affect our energy and ability to focus. If you want to study abroad in a hot country, Morocco might be a good choice.
Morocco is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. It has some of the world’s most beautiful cultural attractions, and it’s also a great place to study, thanks to its low living costs and many opportunities to study abroad, among other things.
Three of the top 100 universities in the QS Arab Region University Rankings are in Morocco.
1. Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane
Ah, the mountain town of Ifrane. It’s not the warmest place to start our list of places to study abroad (especially at this time of year), but it’s not one to miss. Ifrane is in the Middle Atlas Mountains of Morocco. It is also home to the best university in the kingdom, the Al Akhawayn University, which this year ranks 101-110 in the Arab region. The curriculum at this public, non-profit school is based on the American liberal arts system, which makes it a great choice for international students who speak English.
Alumni of Al Akhawayn University have gone on to get jobs in many different fields, such as international business, diplomacy, and non-profit organizations.
Even though daytime temperatures are quite low right now, they are expected to rise between 20°C (68°F) and 35°C (95°F) from the middle of spring through the summer.
2. Université Mohammed V de Rabat
Mohamed V University is in Rabat, which is the capital of Morocco. It was founded in 1957 when Mohammed V University at Agdal and Mohammed V University at Souissi merged. It has a range of programs for both undergraduates and graduate students and is currently ranked between 101 and 110 in the Arab region.
Rabat, the capital of Morocco, has all the obvious traits of a typical capital city. Jobs and business opportunities are at their best, prices tend to go up, and the city never sleeps. But as the capital of the North African kingdom, it has a climate that is different from most European capitals: it is usually sunny. You’ll be glad to hear that most of the year here is sunny and warm, with only a few days of cloudy weather and rain. However, the nights are always cold, especially in the winter.
3. Université Hassan II de Casablanca
Hassan II University is a relatively new school. It was founded in 1975 and is based in Casablanca, the largest city in Morocco. But after two Hassan II universities, Mohammedia and Casablanca, merged in 2014, the university thought of itself as a brand-new institution.
The Hassan II University has 123 laboratories, 10 research centers, two technological platforms, an observatory, and 10 doctoral study centers with 46 doctoral courses. It also has two technological platforms and an observatory. It’s important to know that the main languages of instruction at this university are Arabic and French, just like in neighboring Francophone countries. However, technical and scientific courses are taught only in French.
Casablanca is in the central-western part of the country, right next to the Atlantic Ocean. This makes it windy and rainy in the winter, though some days are warm and sunny during the day. Of course, the summers are the best time to be here.
4. The University of Cadi Ayyad
Cadi Ayyad University is ranked between 91 and 100 in the Arab region. This public university is in Marrakech and was founded in 1973. It is one of the biggest in Morocco, with an estimated 102,000 students enrolled. It has 13 areas of study right now, and most of them are in science, like biology, physics, and geology.
Marrakech was once the capital of Morocco. It is known for its many mosques, palaces, and gardens, as well as its Medina, a medieval city center with busy souks (marketplaces) and many historical sites to see. Marrakech is usually warm and sunny all year long. Temperatures are around 21°C at this time of year and soar in the summer that the heat may be too much for some.
More reasons to go to Morocco to study abroad
Morocco, like other North African countries like Tunisia and Algeria, has a comfortable mix of eastern and western cultures. This makes it different from other Arab countries. Most Moroccans speak two or more languages. The main languages of communication here are Colloquial Moroccan Arabic (Darija), Amazigh (Berber), and French, but there are also a lot of Spanish and English speakers, which makes it a great place for adventurous students to visit.
When it comes to living costs, Morocco isn’t too expensive, especially if you’re coming from Europe. A meal at a cheap restaurant will usually cost you 30 Moroccan Dirhams, which is about $3.13. In addition to traditional Moroccan dishes and street food, you’ll also find restaurants like McDonald’s and KFC, which serve food like you’d find in the West. When it comes to rent, a one-bedroom apartment can cost anywhere from 1,934.17 MAD (US$202.66) to 4,562.50 MAD (US$478.06) per month, depending on where you live in the city.
Tuition fees also tend to be different depending on where you choose to study. For example, at Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane, tuition for undergraduate international students costs 3,045 MDH (US$318.35) and for postgraduates, it costs 3,780 MDH (US$395.19). Tuition is based on the number of credits taken, which are usually 15–17 credits per undergraduate course and 12 credits per postgraduate course.
No matter what city you’re in, Morocco has a lot to offer, and the people there are usually very warm, welcoming, and friendly. A trip to a traditional local bathhouse (Hammam) costs between 10 and 20 MDH (US$1.04 and US$2.09), and getting around is easy and usually cheap.
Moroccans are used to dealing with and talking to people from other countries because their country has a long history of tourism. When you add in Morocco’s multicultural history, you get a great mix of people who speak more than one language and who are pretty open to other people’s cultural differences and ways of doing things.
Since most of the people in the country are Muslims, you will need to keep a few things in mind if you want to be respectful to your host country while you study abroad. For example, it’s important to remember to take off your shoes before entering someone’s home and to try to eat quietly during the holy month of Ramadhan, when everyone else is expected to fast until sunset. You might also want to remember that Friday is a day of rest for Muslims and that most shops close around lunchtime.
Depending on the city you’re in, it’s best to have someone with you, especially when it gets dark and you’re out and about. Cities like Casablanca are known for having a moderate to high crime rate, so be careful and don’t look like you’re lost or don’t know what you’re doing! You don’t want to get the wrong kind of attention, and if you’re clueless or inexperienced, it’s easy to get scammed or used.
Haggling is a way of life in almost all of Morocco’s big cities, but it’s especially clear in places like the Medina in Marrakech. Some souk vendors may even come across as too pushy and demanding, which can be scary. But don’t let it bother you. You’ll get used to it quickly and learn to either smile and walk away or haggle back. You might be on your way home with a deal that is very good.