Photo: Gareth Williams

Europe has its usual, deserving suspects — Prague, Paris, Greece, Rome. There are so many places to see on the mainland that many students studying abroad in Europe never leave the Continent. But just beyond European shores lies a country that, tragically, receives only a handful of study abroad students — Morocco.

Understanding Islam

Taking an organized student trip to Morocco, you’ll be blown away by the overwhelming generosity of students and host families to share their cultural identities. They let us into their homes and culture, and openly discuss the stereotypes and prejudices faced by Muslims, commonly perpetuated by American mainstream media. Being able to talk with them about religion, culture, and social practices gets rid of the confusion or fear you might have about entering an Islamic country. Simply put, it’s impossible not to gain a new meaning of Islam and understanding of daily life in a developing country. Even a brief trip to Morocco can be an eye-opening experience for study-abroad students.

The Peace Corps in action

Morocco is also a great place to see first-hand what the Peace Corps does and what life in the Peace Corps is like. While I’m not entirely sold on signing up for the Peace Corps, it’s an intriguing option for American students who are thinking about taking a “gap year” (or two) before grad school. Your placement lasts 27 months; you partake in grassroots development projects; and, afterwards, you have a remarkable experience on your resume.

I could continue listing the perks of visiting Morocco, but I’d like to leave students with a desire to go there and see for themselves what this country has to offer. Morocco is a melting pot with French, Spanish, and Arabic influences that will leave you wordless (I still can’t adequately describe my trips there). My only advice is to go in with an open mind and open heart, and you’ll be amazed at how much you learn.

This article originally appeared on the Weekend Student Adventures blog and is republished here with permission.

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