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2 posts from April 2016

04/22/2016

Spring 2016 Issue V

CIEE Scene ~Chefchaouen ~ 7 April 2016    Author: Ellis Robert Maxwell (Max)

             On April 7, we embarked on a weekend trip to the beautiful blue city of Chefchaouen. After a scenic bus ride with our always reliable and kindly driver Abedrahim, we arrived at our Riad for the weekend. It wasn’t long after arrival before we started exploring the blue city. Some students even took a short hike to an abandoned mosque that doubles as a scenic overlook with a great view of the city. The perfect weather definitely didn’t hurt the incredible sights!

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         The following day, and after some much needed rest, half of our group went on a long hike to a beautiful waterfall near Chefchaouen, while the other half stayed back and instead attended a workshop where they made citrus oil for the body and face! Although exhausting, and tough at times, the hike was well worth the time and effort.

       On Saturday, everyone chose a different workshop in which they learned about either carpet weaving, brass, leather, or painting. Every student was able to create their own souvenir from scratch, which was both challenging and rewarding. In the afternoon the group took an optional trip to Tetouan where we met up with students at the local English language center. After introductions, we went on a tour of the old medina, and were even able to grab coffee with the students.

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         The trip to Chefchaouen was definitely a favorite for a lot of the group. The cities beauty and rich culture is hard to overlook, and the fact that all of the buildings are painted blue is just an added bonus!

On April 13, we were lucky enough to spend the day with children from Dar Shabab, the local youth center. Throughout the day we played numerous games with the children and got the chance to teach them a little English! The children were very excited to get outside and enjoy the wonderful Moroccan weather, and the day was concluded with snacks and juice at the beach. It was a very rewarding experience for everyone involved.

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04/15/2016

Spring 2016 Issue IV

CIEE Scene ~  Rabat, Morocco ~ 5 April 2016 (Author: Catriona Craven-Matthews)

On the evening of Thursday, March 17, the end of Darija class marked the beginning of spring break, the unofficial halfway point of the CIEE semester in Rabat.  Vacation plans were as diverse as the students themselves.  Many students in the program strengthened newfound friendships by traveling together.  Spain was a popular destination, thanks in part to its proximity to Morocco. One group explored Andalusia, experiencing the region’s heritage as part of the ancient Moroccan empire, while other pairs and individuals explored Madrid, Barcelona, and other cities.  Several students met up with family and friends in Europe as well as here in Morocco, hosting loved ones in their home-away-from-home. 

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                When classes resumed on Monday, March 28, the CIEE student center found itself full of refreshed students eagerly trading stories and pictures from their week apart.  When twelve people spend as much time together as these students do, having news can be rare.  As students settled back into the routine of classes, they looked forward to their upcoming trip to the desert.  While not part of the CIEE program, almost everyone participated. 

          On Friday night, the group set out for the desert, courtesy of the amazing CIEE driver Abderrahim.  After ten hours of driving, they arrived at their hotel in Merzouga, a small village in central-eastern Morocco where they spent the day relaxing and looking forward to the evening to come.  Then—the highlight of trip, and a check off the bucket lists of many—students rode camels into the Sahara.  They were stunned by the otherworldly dunes of sand stretching as far as the eye could see in every direction.  After arriving at camp, students climbed the highest dunes in order to enjoy a panoramic view of the Sahara, as well as the silence and stillness so rarely found in city life.  Then they ate a special meal of soup and tajine, cooked there in the desert, before gathering around the campfire to enjoy some traditional music and even try their hands at the instruments.  Some even slept outside under the desert night sky, stars just peeping out from behind clouds.

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            Students returned to classes at the study center that Monday, already looking forward to the next excursion in just a few days: Chefchouane.