Jasmine White is a student at University of Utah and an ISA Featured Blogger. Jasmine is currently studying abroad with ISA in Meknes, Morocco.
1. Is there a Facebook page for members of the study abroad I am attending? Make sure you like the ISA Morocco study abroad page and from there you can find people from your same program. Take the initiative to create an individual group for just the people in your program. This group will be really helpful to get to know people beforehand and also ask questions to your fellow students about packing, extra travel ideas, etc.
2. Packing: Should I go with a large suitcase or large backpack? While being here for a short week I have noticed that students have gone either way and it really is personal preference. I chose to take a large suitcase to check in and a carry-on size backpack on the plane with me. In my carry-on I also brought enough outfits and toiletries to last a few days in case my checked in luggage was lost along the plane ride. Check out ISA’s packing video tips here.
3. What places do I want to see other than the excursions that ISA already offers? Do some research and have an idea of where you want to go before you leave, but you can also ask your directors once you arrive to locals where their personal favorite places are to visit. You can also purchase a guidebook of Morocco to get an idea of some of the places you can travel to. I recommend the guidebook of Morocco by Lonely Planet, I found that it was detailed and helpful when planning my own trips.
4. What is some good advice for a student traveling abroad? Ask family or friends who have gone abroad for advice, also take advantage of the resource ISA provides to contact alumni of the program you are interested in and talking with your study abroad office can be helpful as well. Some of the best advice I received include the following:
- Take small bottles of hand sanitizer to keep your hands clean while traveling through airports, through the cities, and hotels…there is bound to be lots of germs and bacteria and you may not always be able to wash your hands when needed.
- For females: learn about the culture and how it impacts females. Understand that eye contact and shaking hands with the opposite sex may be perceived differently in Morocco and may not be culturally acceptable in some situations.
- Begin taking Probiotics at least two weeks before you leave for your program. This will help you not to get sick as easily once you arrive and begin eating new foods and drinking the water.
- Make your study abroad experience your own. Say yes to as many opportunities as you can and be as open minded as possible.
This blog was intended to give some helpful advice to those who are preparing for future study abroad programs. Upcoming blogs will be more detailed about the incredible and beautiful country of Morocco!