Acclimating to life abroad can be much more difficult than you anticipate; some people get quite homesick and just want to lay in bed all day after classes and call their families or stalk their friends on social media. Don’t do it! The best thing to do is to get out there and explore. In my experience, this seemed a little more challenging than it might have been elsewhere. My classes here in Morocco are longer– three hours a pop! However, don’t let that deter you from getting out, learning to balance your experience abroad, and starting to love your new city!
I was lucky enough to have a girl in my program that is here for a whole academic year, so when she said that she was going on a day trip to Asilah I jumped at the chance to see more of this beautiful country. Asilah is an idyllic Moroccan coastal town and is known for its gorgeous street art. Once a year the town holds a street art festival and allows local and non-local artists to paint all over the medina (Old City) walls. Asilah is an easy four-hour train ride north of Meknes and I would recommend it to any traveler.
Another fantastic idea that my friends and I recently tried out was going to study in the local park to take advantage of the amazing weather and to do some people-watching. Of course the sun went behind the clouds as soon as we got to the park, but it was still an awesome time! There is an interesting playground that proved to be a popular spot for the Moroccan children to go and play, though on that particular day it also attracted book-weary, foreign students. We had a good play with the children and the language barrier didn’t even matter.
In the first week, our ISA Resident Directors took us to the Meknes medina— such an amazing place. However, you cannot just go once! Get to know your city and have some fun; I feel like you should be able to know all the little nooks and crannies and small alleyways by the time you leave the city at the end of your time abroad. The medina and the kasbah (citadel) are full of old winding streets that house great deals you can brag about to your friends and family about when you do have that weekly call with them.
Thanks for reading! I hope that everyone enjoys the first couple weeks with their new friends and make the most of the fantastic countries that they are living in!
Want to read more about Meknes? Check out “Navigating the Streets of Meknes.”