It’s a new year and there’s still so much to do! The great thing about living in a major city is that there is always something happening—a concert, a festival, an art show, a play—and getting acquainted with and contacting the right venues is sure to make your stay here a busy one. It’s also an excellent way to meet new people which can pave the way to some great social circles. Of course, finding the right activity is a first step – it wouldn’t make sense for one to go to an art gallery if his or her real interest is the music scene. Still, stepping into a new “area” can be helpful since the people going to these places have a wide array of interests and hobbies.
While in Morocco, try to not limit yourself to Rabat. There is plenty to do, but you should make the most of the opportunities to travel around the rest of the country! Train tickets are relatively inexpensive: a train ticket to Casablanca won’t cost you much more than five US Dollars, which is great; you can also easily get to Fez for a little more than that. My advice is to ride second class – first class can be more comfortable, but there usually isn’t a major difference between the two. You’re certainly more likely to meet interesting people – potentially long-term friends – in the compartments, so choose those as opposed to more solitary options.
A few great places around Rabat include l’Institut Français (great for French and Arabic texts, as well as a wide variety of movies and music) and its partner building, La Salle Gérard Philippe (where one might go to see a small play, or a series of skits); the Mohammed V National Theater (great for music performances including those made by the National Symphony); the National Library (a great place to study and have coffee); and Place Pietri (a sunny plaza with wonderful cafés). The best part about getting to these places is that you won’t usually spend more than a dollar or two in cab fares.
All in all, coming to Rabat (and coming back as I have done) is a great choice. Having already spent over a year here, I’m still finding new things to do and new places to see every day.
Jacques E. Belval
Program Assistant, ESL Instructor