Journals from Spain - Center for Cross-Cultural Studies
A marketplace in the small city of Chefchaouen
The last week of November, we had a long puente, or break before finals started. Most of us took advantage of that time to travel for a few days. David and I went with several people from our program to Morocco with a group called We Love Spain. Katie also decided to go to Morocco, but she went with a different group to a few different cities farther south than we were.
Morocco is a very interesting country, and it was a neat opportunity for all of us because we got to experience a culture that is completely different not only from the U.S., but also from Spain. It is a country that has a Muslim majority, but it is also a very moderate country that allows other religions to exist there peacefully. It was my first time in a Muslim country, and it was fascinating to see their cities, customs, styles of clothing and to hear things like the call to prayer in the middle of the day.
We first got to visit a small Spanish city on the border of Morocco called Ceuta, which was a really pretty town on the ocean. We then visited three different Moroccan cities: Chefchaouen, Tangier, and Tetuan. Chefchaouen was by far my favorite. We took a walking tour through the small, winding streets of the charming city. The buildings were all blue (to keep out mosquitoes, apparently) and white (to protect themselves from the heat during the summer), and the markets were full of people trying to convince us to buy scarves, bags, clothing, shoes, and a lot of other things. I had the opportunity to try my hand at bartering in both Tetuan and Chefchaouen. It was a bit intimidating at first because it was new (Im quite content with buying things at fixed prices), but I learned that it is just how they buy and sell there.
One of the things that impressed me the most about Morocco is the amount of people that speak at least 3 languages. Their economy is so dependent on tourism that most of the people that sell things or lead tours can speak not only Arabic but also Spanish, French, and English. Our tour guide for most of the trip spoke all of those fluently! I was able to use both my English and my Spanish while I was there. Being a language major, I was very impressed because I know how much work it takes to just learn a second language!
We also had the opportunity to do a few new things too, like eat the really good Moroccan food, ride camels, see Moroccan dance, listen to their music, and just take in all the sights, smells, and sounds. There were also a lot of people on the trip with us from different parts of Europe, Canada, the U.S., and Spain. It was cool to be surrounded by so many different cultures in one place! I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to see at least a part of Morocco. It opened my eyes to a different culture and to how other people live around the world.