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2 posts from November 2015


Volunteer Newsletter Issue I, Fall 2015

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CIEE Rabat Study Center is honored to present you the first volunteering newsletter. We are happy to share with you special moments from our student's volunteering experience, as well as recent updates.

We are going to start by introducing the newsletter staff.

We could not think of any better way to share this beautiful experience with you than through pictures and interviews with all those involved in the program.


Oumaima Farik, CIEE Program Assistant

Untitled  " I had the idea of creating CIEE volunteering newsletter a year ago after working on CIEE Volunteering diaries for Fall 2014. Being able to read students testaments, get to know them and the challenges they have faced, and how they were able to succeed, was a blast. I started thinking about documenting our students’ volunteering experience and share it with our community. I am so grateful for all the help and support I got from CIEE Staff, Buddies and volunteers. They show a lot of commitment and perseverance. CIEE Newsletter staff is so honored to share with you the first edition of "CIEE Volunteering Newsletter " Enjoy every line of it!”


Maroine ElForssa, Newsletter Leader             Untitled 1

“Volunteering with CIEE has been inspiring, life changing, eye opening and an overall fantastic experience. I had the opportunity to learn new things and gain other points of view. I also had an absolutely great time volunteering at Orient Occident, where we had the chance to help teach English to the sub-Saharan refugees.”




Chaimaa Mahmou , Articles Editor 

“Working with CIEE on the volunteering program and then becoming a buddy has had a huge impact on my life; so being able to document everything we do and share it with you makes me so happy. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed working on it.”





Ayoub Bachar, Photographer

“Being part of the CIEE group is one of the best things that has ever happened to me. As a volunteer leader, I had to experience new things that changed my life and made me think that as long as you are helping others, life is going to be easier. Apart from that, CIEE staff gave me an amazing opportunity to ameliorate my photography skills as a lead photographer, it was challenging sometimes, since not all people are into being photographed, yet theyare so just perfect to have their image captured. In a nutshell, working on this was a great experience and I am looking forward to working on the next.” second edition.”

Untitled5Safae Krichel, Interviewer 

“Being part of this experience, interviewing those sub-saharans at the Orient-Occident foundation, has changed my entire outlook and attitude towards them. I am appreciativefor the fact that they have opened up to me and were very honest about how they feel upon moving to a foreign country, uncapable of speaking its language, nor mixing up with its people, yet not giving up. It deeply touched me because I could see through their eyes, how genuine they were. For me personally, it made me grateful for all that I have, family, food, education and shelter. I wish I could do something moer to help them get what they want for I believe that no one on this entire planet deserves to be treated any less than a human being due to gender, religion, race or nationality.”

BadrEddine Morsadi, Interviewer  Untitled6

“It's been wonderful working with CIEE and meeting people of different culture and language. At some point, my heart broke many times for what refugees go through but, on the brighter side, I still have some hope in this new generation in Morocco to treat refugees and sub-Saharan Africans equally and more respectfully. We are all humans after all ,no matter how different our languages and cultures are.”




Ayoub Ouaddi, Volunteer

“Everytime, when I am at the CIEE centre, I think of how lucky I am to be surrounded by those beautiful, inspiring people. People that trust and believe in each other, something which motivates one to be a better person than they were yesterday. Since the first meeting, I had so much fun at that game we played... it kind of made us more comfortable around each other; and since then, I knew that we are going to have a great year, Indeed, and it is so far. The day after we had an open discussion in which we shared our ideas and perspectives openly. I like how everyone was open to accept others' points of view and super tolerant toward everything.”




Armani Gladden Graphic Editor



The First Day

Visiting Orient- Occident for the first time with the students was such a great experience for us, usually the first day is always a challenge but not this one. Oumaima had a meeting with us as with the volunteers and the students, each one of us had to go through procedures and got trained on what one is supposed to do in the volunteering sessions and what not. On the way to the foundation the students and new volunteers had different perspectives on how it would look, and how they would deal with the whole situation.

We stepped in and everything went smoothly, the students were amazed of how big and well organized the association was. We had a tour through which everybody knew the place well and the places everyone would be working in. We had a talk with the staff and the refugees there, and everyone was excited to start volunteering the next Wednesday; I’ve had a few first visits with the CIEE students to Orient Occident but this First Visit is definitely my favorite.”~Chaimaa

“Everyone of us at some point of their lives need to go through a certain experience that will give some special purpose and Untitled3meaning to their being. As for myself, that particular experience, which has contributed so much meaningful value to my life and has given it a unique sense, is volunteering. Therefore, and this such a purpose, I joined the super amazing CIEE Center.
     After having visited and discovered the Orient-Occident Foundation, we kicked off working there the following week, on October, 14, 2015. I joined the artistic workshop with some other volunteers and students in order to guideand encourage African kids who seemed to be shy and nervous at the beginning of the session. Yet they soon got more engaged in drawing, and coloring papers with an unconditional interest and passion despite the fact that there were just little kids, whose passion was to disturb the peace of mind from time to time!!                                  

Untitled4     The positive vibes, energy, and joy were evident due to the fun each and everyone of us was having, especially when we started taking pictures and « selfies » together after having been done.”

~Hajiba, Volunteer




Humans of Orient Occident

“I am from Guinea Conakry. My French is not that good but I will try my best. I was born in a Grio family, mostly known by playing music and also singing. Raised in music, I started playing this instrument 'Balafon' at a very young age, I guess I was 5 Untitled5years old. Balafon is a very traditional instrument, can't be fabricated anywhere but in our country, we make them and export them to Europe, China, USA.
 It's peaceful around the foundation, It has been 6 months since I came to Morocco. I come here every day to rehearse and then

leave. We are umpteen, we endeavor to create different themes as well as organizing as much festivals as possible in order to earn money and become popular, yet this would never come easy. The biggest issue we face is not having a rehearsal room; we only practice here, in the garden, as you can see. Kids in classrooms are distracted by the music but we cannot do a thing. We are anxious. It's so difficult, affording the transportation to come here at 10 o'clock in the morning and then just keep waiting hopelessly.”

DjellyCamara, Musician & Choreographer



“I am from Senegal- Mboursaly. I’ve started playing music when I was 6 years old along with playing football. I used to teach African dance to Europeans residing in Senegal. I've signed a Untitled6two years contract in order to play football with a Moroccan team. I play football in the morning and I dance in the afternoon, both are equally important to me. I gained popularity therefore self-confidence, within my neighborhood though. My friends and I have organized the 9th edition of Africa’s festival in Rabat. I am very satisfied with the foundation. I love Morocco, it’s a welcoming country. They are so nice to me but I don’t know what the others think. I want to marry a Moroccan woman.”

Camara Seydouba, Artist and Choreographer



What is your experience as an immigrant in morocco

"As a matter of fact, I've been in Morocco for 8 months only. I have signed up to this foundation in order to contribute in Untitled7intellectual growth. 

I really love this place. I love the people and the fact it is culturally diverse. Particularly in this foundation, I received such a good support and help. I'm really satisfied. With such hospitality and love, people consider everyone equally with no discrimination. I really love this till this moment without any doubt."

If you had the chance to change one or a couple of things within or through immigration organizations, what would it be?

"To answer this question I would like to say that places people immigrate to, are universal. We are human beings and we cannot neglect humans. Since immigrants live here in Morocco, I think what could change in their life conditions is the employment. I'd create job opportunities so that they live in appropriate conditions. They simply cannot live without money. Employment would be the ultimate quick fix."

Jack,  Immigrant


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Fall 2015, Issue II

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This edition of our newsletter comes from our current student, Samantha Fitzpatrick of Lincoln University. Originally from Detroit (a point of pride for her!), Samantha is currently in her third year of undergraduate with Law School aspirations in the future. Thank you for sharing your experience thus far Sam!


Samantha exploring the Sahara desert. 

Writing this edition is bittersweet. I am overjoyed to be sharing our experiences but saddened to note that we are quickly approaching the halfway point of our time here. Since we last checked in, students have celebrated Eid with their host families and had the opportunity to partake in various family celebrations including wedding ceremonies and birth celebrations. 


Students Tal, Samantha, Natalie, and Jason with some of their host family members at a birth ceremony. 


Students have traveled to Chefchouen and Fez with the program and organized individual trips, one of which was Merzouga, at the edge of the Sahara. There we rode out on camels in the evening and camped overnight in the desert.


Sunset in the Sahara.

Some students have begun volunteering at the Occident Orient Foundation here in Rabat. Students teach English, Spanish, and Computer Science classes alongside Moroccan university students. There is also a student-led art workshop. 


In addition to time spent volunteering together, we have been able to spend time bonding with our Moroccan peers. Many students consider time spent with local friends as one of the best parts of the Morocco experience.


We are all preparing for a much needed break from classes. Morocco has again shown limitless options as students made plans for the week-long break. Destinations include the Canary Islands, Madrid, Barcelona, Paris, London, Marrakech, Casablanca and more. Some students will focus on domestic travel to really experience Morocco and benefit from more time with host families and local friends.



Student of the Month


This Month’s Student(s) of the Month are being honored for their courage and strength because they conquered the highest peak in North Africa, Mount Toubkal, in a single day. Hiking for seventeen hour straight has earned these ladies the utmost respect. Ladies you are the real MVPs!!!


Madeline, Celia, and Sarah at the summit of Mount Toubkal

Madeline Atchison

Hometown: All Over California

School: University of California, Santa Barbara


Celia Ringstrom

Hometown: Sacramento, CA

School: University of California, Santa Cruz


Sarah Willey

Hometown: Coventry, CT

School: Loyola University, New Orleans