- Do I need a visa to come to Morocco?
Most countries are exempted from the visa formality. See list at: http://www.maec.gov.ma/fr/consulaires/sansvisa.asp. If your country is on the list, you will get a "visa waiver" when you enter Morocco. This is nothing more than a stamp in your passport as you pass customs. There is no cost involved. The visa waiver allows you to stay in Morocco as a visitor for 90 days. For those staying over that period, a stay extension will be required. Please, note that your passport must be valid until at least the day you leave Morocco.
The basic rule of thumb is to bring nothing more than you can fit into a suitcase or a backpack. Keep in mind that you might want to bring things back from Morocco, so leave a little space. You will be able to fit everything you need in a suitcase. Trust us.
Computer. Dar Loughat has a computer room with free internet access. You may however benefit by bringing a laptop computer—if you are fortunate enough to own one. Free Wifi connection is available during opening hours.
Clothing. You won’t need much variety in your wardrobe, so bring as little as possible. It’s hot for most of the time, so have a couple pairs of light cotton slacks or lightweight skirts. Remember that Morocco is an Islamic country. Modest and understated clothes are highly recommended. If you’re coming in mid-winter, all sorts of warm clothes and shoes come in very handy, as indoor heating is almost non-existent in Morocco.
Toiletries. In addition to clothing, you may need sunscreen, anti-diarrhea medicine, aspirin or Tylenol, and cold medicine.
Supplies. Other things to consider packing are a travel alarm clock, notebooks, pencils and a pack of playing cards.
- When booking flights, when should I plan to arrive and depart?
Normally, courses start Monday morning, so plan to arrive on the weekend before. When departing, our courses finish on Fridays; so plan to fly out on a Saturday. Any extra accommodation nights will be charged.
- I have found a cheap ticket and will be arriving outside the starting dates of the program. How will this work?
In most cases it’s not a problem. However, if you arrive a day late, you will miss out on your first lessons and the welcoming presentation.
- Would it be best to bring travelers’ checks or to use a credit card to get cash? Should we have any Moroccan money upon arrival or will we be able to get money soon after we arrive?
It's best to use a credit card as you might not always be able to cash traveler's checks. Don't bother changing money in your home country. All major currencies, including US Dollars, Canadian Dollars, Pounds Sterling and Euros can be easily exchanged at airports, banks and exchange agencies.
- What kind of students attends classes at your school?
Dar Loughat welcomes students from all over the world from 16 years old and plus. Average ages range from 20 to 40. Our students are university and college students, professionals, executives, NGOs’ workers, and adventure travelers.
- Where do your students come from?
From all over the world!
- What is the minimum age to attend the program?
The minimum age to enroll in our program is 18 years. However, we do accept students who are 16 or 17 years old if they provide us with an authorization from their parents or guardians.
- Will the school be open on local public holidays?
Dar Loughat closes only during two major religious holidays, which are Eid Al-Fitr (2 days following the end of the holy month of Ramadan) and Eid Al-Ad´haa (the feast of Sacrifice). All the classes missed during these days will be made up.
- Does the school offer classes during Ramadan?
Yes, Dar Loughat offers classes during the month of Ramadan with a slight change in the schedule which you’ll get the day before Ramadan begins.
- Does your program offer academic or university credit?
Dar Loughat is a member of the Forum on Education Abroad. Our education system adheres to the criteria held by major universities in teaching, testing, and grading. Students interested in getting their Arabic course credits transferred must get an approval from their home universities beforehand. They will be given a final exam (oral and written) and a proficiency language certificate indicating the levels achieved along with the instructors' comments. For details or other possible ways of transferring credits, please contact us.
- What do the program fees include?
The program fees include: the selected course; the selected accommodation; the selected insurance; pickup from airport, seaport, bus or train stations; cultural adaptation and personal assistance; course book & educational materials; use of computer room with unlimited internet access; written and oral placement tests and a completion certificate; 24-hour emergency phone line; cultural activities and excursions to places of interest.
We believe the longer you are able to study, the better. Most students can expect to develop moderate fluency in 2-5 months depending on several factors (atmosphere, accommodation choice, personal motivation and number of lessons). Additionally, the longer you study, the less money you pay for your courses. For more information on our discounts system, see the program costs section.
- When should I plan to arrive in Morocco and how do I get to the school?
Please plan to arrive in Tetouan at least on the Sunday before your course start date. Your Sunday night's accommodation is included in the price of the program unless otherwise specified. An airport/seaport pickup service free of charge is provided (in selected locations) upon the student’s arrival (except in late arrivals at night, in which case, Dar Loughat charges the student an extra 20 €). A member of Dar Loughat staff will meet you at the gate of the airport /seaport when you arrive. He will be holding a sign with your name on it. With any pick-up request, Dar Loughat must receive arrival details at least a week before your course start date.
- What should I expect on my first Monday morning at the school?
You should plan to arrive at 8:30 am on your first day. You will be asked to take a language placement test, unless you are a complete beginner. The test will take about 30 minutes; the Head of the Arabic department will evaluate your language level and will place you in the appropriate class. Immediately after, there will be an orientation session where you will be given the classes schedule and the program of activities for the week.
- What happens if I arrive late and miss the first day at school?
We would like to stress that it is very important to arrive on time and we would always recommend arriving earlier than later. Should you arrive late for your course and miss one or several days, we will make every effort to bring you up to date with what has been taught and what you have missed. We will still give you a placement test and place you into the correct class for your level. However, your missed days can not be made up and you will miss those classroom days. Dar Loughat offers the option of taking some additional private lessons (at an additional cost) to help you catch up. This can be arranged upon arrival and the additional cost paid directly at the school.
- What happens if I feel I have been placed in the wrong class?
If you feel the class you have been placed in is too easy or too difficult, just let your teacher know and we will immediately move you in another level.
- What language level do I need to have to attend your program?
We accept all levels from complete beginners to advanced levels. Our program caters to many different language levels.
- How long is your program and when do the classes start?
Classes start every Monday. We have tailored several programs to accommodate all of our students’ needs and special requests. Our programs are very flexible and you can select your length of stay, from a minimum of 1 week to a complete academic year. For more information on the different options, please see the Course Options section.
- How many students should I expect in a class?
Usually our classroom sizes range from 3 to 8 students (maximum) per class.
- How will the language be taught and what should I expect in class?
We believe that teaching a language cannot be successful solely by routine and repetition but should be creative and communicative. Our students learn very fast in our classrooms, which are highly communicative and student-centered. In addition to the official textbooks, our instructors use a wide variety of educational material such as local newspaper articles, videos, songs and popular Moroccan tales.
Usually the length of a lesson is 4 hours if there is a group of 3 students or more, with a break of 5 minutes every hour. Otherwise, the number of instruction hours depends on the selected type of course. For details, please see the Course Options section.
- On which days are classes held?
Classes are held from Monday to Friday. Missed classes might be made up on Saturdays or in the afternoons according to students’ wishes.
- What are the school's office hours (if different from the class times)?
The school is open from 9:00 am to 8:00 p.m. But the staff’s office hours are from 9:30 am-12:30 pm and from 3:30 pm-8:00 p.m.
- Do I receive a certificate at the end of the program?
Yes, our program offers a “language proficiency certificate” upon course completion.
- How are your host families chosen?
We have specific requirements that our families must meet before they are invited to host our international students. We require that the families live within a reasonable distance from the school, have ample living space for the student, and live in a clean, safe and comfortable environment. We especially work with families who enjoy hosting international students. We try to match each student with a family as best as we can. The more specific and honest you are on your home-stay application form, the better the match.
- If I stay with a host family what should I expect?
The family will treat you as a family member and you will be expected to obey house rules. All families provide a private or shared room (depending on location) with access to all living areas in the house and two meals. In most cases; students will be expected to share the bathroom. Your host family will always do their best to engage you in daily conversation while making you feel as though you are in a "home away from home". Remember that your host family will have different customs and habits than perhaps you are accustomed to, and meals will be prepared according to local custom. Please note that not all host families are within walking distance to the school. Some are within 30 minutes traveling time from the school. For more information about host family rules, please see the accommodation section.
- Will I get any information about my host family ahead of time in order to think about the gifts I might bring for them?
We will try to send you your home-stay details at least a week prior to your arrival.
- What would some appropriate gifts for my hosts be?
Here are a few suggestions, but feel free to be creative:
- A decorative box of chocolate or candy always works (please check labels to make sure they contain no alcohol or animal fat).
- T-shirts, baseball caps, pens/pencils, backpacks with something specific about your school or country.
Yes, for an additional charge you can book a few extra nights before or after the course. But if you are staying with a host family, you may stay one or two additional nights free of charge.
- What are other options for accommodation?
A hotel, a Riyad (a luxury hotel) or a furnished apartment are other options to consider for accommodation. For more information about either option, please see the accommodation section.
- If I choose to stay at a hotel, will it be the same hotel used for all incoming students? If so, what else should I know about the hotel (meals included, room size, bathrooms/en suite, laundry service, restaurant/in-room dining, safe for valuables, etc)?
There are different categories of hotels to choose among, but we highly recommend the Panorama Hotel where most of our students stay. The Panorama is situated in the center of Tetouan and is within 2 minutes walk from Dar Loughat. It overlooks the beautiful mountains of the city and provides the following services free of charge:
- Room service
- Equipped bathroom
- Satellite TV
- Air conditioning (in some rooms)
- Luggage handlers
Additionally, the Panorama offers a very considerable discount to our students. To benefit from this offer, you need to make your reservations through Dar Loughat. To see pictures of the hotel, rooms and the services, please visit www.panoramavista.com.
For a list of other hotels, please contact us.
- What happens outside the classroom?
After classes are over for the day, our program allows plenty of time to discover Morocco and its culture. Our optional cultural and social activities allow you to make new friends, experience the local life, practice your Arabic outside the classroom, and immerse yourself in the culture. Many of these activities are free. To know more about our cultural and immersion activities, please visit the student life section.
- Do the students meet up after class?
Yes, this is one of the many great reasons to study abroad as you get the opportunity to make new friends from all over the world! You will find that many students form friendships and spend a lot of time together outside of classes. It's always more interesting to go sight seeing with a friend.
- Does your school offer weekend excursions or trips to places of interest?
On weekends, students can enjoy the city’s excellent beaches or its majestic mountains which spread eastwards along a distance of more than 500 kilometers. They can also choose to participate in the trips Dar Loughat organizes to cities such as Chefchaouen, Tangier, Asilah, Marrakech, Fez, and the fabulous Moroccan desert. While arranging our excursions, we usually consider our students’ interests and requests. These organized excursions generally cost between €20 and €60 per person as they are normally a weekend excursion with transport, sometimes meals and accommodation included, depending on the location. All excursions are optional and students may chose to travel on their own; our school staff is more than willing to assist you with travel or excursion options.
- With respect to public transportation in Tetouan, what are the available options?
There is a wide range of transportation from which students can choose. To get around the city, there are buses, yellow ‘little taxis’ and blue ‘big taxis’. To travel to other cities, students can choose between coaches and trains.
- I need my parents to send me a package. Can they send it to the school? If yes, what is your school’s post address?
Yes, they can either send it to your accommodation’s address (be it a hotel or host family) or to Dar Loughat. Here’s the school’s post address:
Dar Loughat, Place Moulay Mehdi - 8, Rue M’hmmed Benaboud
Tetouan, 93000, Morocco
- I need my parents to send me some money. Can they send it to the school? How?
Yes, they can wire transfer funds to the school director’s personal account who will give them to you.
- How safe is Morocco / Tetouan?
While Morocco is one of the safest Arabic-speaking countries, there are risks and security concerns associated with any form of traveling. Study abroad students may run into the same problems as those encountered anywhere else in the world, such as petty crime and rip-offs. Consequently, students need to exercise caution while traveling and sightseeing.
While reputed as a conservative city, Tetouan has always been known for its capacity to integrate new cultural elements. As a result of this cultural blend that the inhabitants of Tetouan cherish and value, people from all over the world feel welcomed, relaxed and comfortable regardless of their cultural, racial or religious backgrounds.
- Are there any health precautions I should take while in Morocco?
Yes, here are some precautions you should plan to take while in Morocco:
- Drink bottled water, avoid fresh products that can’t be peeled, avoid food and drinks from street vendors and use insect repellant to prevent mosquito bites.
- Avoid unpasteurized milk and any products that might have been derived from it.
- Do not eat raw or undercooked meat or fish.
For more information on health and safety matters, please see the health & safety section.
- Are there any gender issues that I should be aware of?
The most important thing to keep in mind is that gender-related issues in your country may not be similar in Morocco. Behaviors that may be considered sexist in your own country, such as catcalls or suggestive remarks particularly addressed to women, are bitterly tolerated although despised and frowned upon by most people.
Please note that this kind of treatment is not only reserved to foreign females. Moroccan women receive similar advances and are generally aware that while this behavior can be annoying is seldom threatening. In most cases, a response is not expected. Moroccan women pretend not to hear these “greetings” and you may simply ignore them as well. Keep in mind that becoming angry or defensive is unlikely to change behaviors. On the contrary, defensiveness may only provoke further catcalling. Try as best as you can to take these comments within their context. However, if anyone becomes particularly persistent, rude, or difficult to avoid, call him to someone else’s attention. Moroccans are more than willing to intervene when they see someone in need of help and won’t hesitate to chastise someone whom they see behaving shamefully.