Feasible to live in Morocco for a year?
October 8, 2013 1:56 PM   Subscribe

Here's my question: Is it feasible for someone like me to spend a year in Morocco, and possibly find work, even if it's just tutoring English?

I've always wanted to spend some time living outside of the US, learning another language, possibly teaching, and see how I do. I think now is the time! I've been preparing to go to law school for about a year now, but if I don't do this before more school, I think will forever regret it. My goal with law school is to study international law, and possibly/maybe/hopefully work in international development. I know how incredibly difficult and competitive this is, so I'm seriously considering delaying applying to school for a year to get some international living experience and hopefully pick up conversational language skills. My main goal is to live somewhere outside of the US and Europe, language skills are a secondary goal.

Here's my question: Is it feasible for someone like me to spend a year in Morocco, and possibly find work, even if it's just tutoring English? I have a good friend from there (lives in the States), his family is still there, and he has offered to travel there with me in the next few months and help me get connected with some work (hopefully to start next summer). I have been there before for a short trip, and met his family and thought it was beautiful and amazing and definitely somewhere I could spend some time exploring. He thinks with my Master's degree I may also be able to get a job teaching at the American University (I am in no way counting on that). I plan to save plenty before I go, but would like to be able to earn day to day living expenses while there if possible. I currently teach/tutor/volunteer (a lot) and have a full time job for evil corporation that I do not wish to continue to pursue.

I would be ok with tutoring or teaching or doing whatever work I can find part time, and finding groups within the community that I can volunteer my time with. I prefer immersion experience to doing this through an organization. I am somewaht wary of Volunteer Tourism, and would prefer to get involved organically based on what I see while living there, which is what I do in my own community now in Los Angeles.

Said friend has also expressed interest in setting up a hostel in Marrakech, and would be interested in being an investor, and using me to set it up while I am there (he lives in the US). This of course is just another tentative possibility.

I'm sure there are a million questions I'm not asking, so you can help me think about this, or tell me why this is a not great idea, or why this IS a great idea, I'd like to hear about what I'm not thinking about.

Relevant Stats: 29, female, undergrad degree (english and history (mostly African history), will have Master's Degree in Conflict Studies by the time I go. I have at least 9 months to a year to prepare.

I'm also open to other ideas, I have some contacts in Mexico, and speak (minimal) spanish, but would prefer to travel a little farther. I would definitely start studying Arabic soon, so that I have the basics before my arrival.

Final thoughts (sorry so long): I have a strong desire to be of service both professionally and in my day to day life. I spend a lot of time researching structural injustice...I think sometimes programs that send you abroad can be more exploitative and neo-imperialist than they intend to be, and so I'm looking at non-traditional ways to gain experience and entry into a new culture, preferably witholding my judgement about the way things should be. It's possible I'm completely over thinking this, but I'd just like to try something new, and get out of California for a bit. *overthinking*
posted by thankyouforyourconsideration to Travel & Transportation around Morocco (14 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Yes you can do this. You have to be flexible, determined, and resilient, but besides that you will find a way. Just wanted to chime in to say that make sure you have it clear with your friend what expectations (or if no expectations, then that) that you can both agree to for this hostel idea- you don't want to be in a situation where you are dependent on their goodwill in a foreign land with a pile of expectations that you don't want to meet or on terms that you don't want to meet them on. It's easy when you're in a foreign place to "lose your strength" and become overly reliant on the few connections that you have, and when they are compromised, life psychologically (and somewhat in reality) becomes difficult very fast.
posted by cacao at 2:06 PM on October 8, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks Cacao...the hostel thing is definitely something I would only do if I was already making enough to get by, and not relying on him- or a brand new business- for income.
posted by thankyouforyourconsideration at 2:09 PM on October 8, 2013

Learn some French; it's still widely taught (universally?) in schools and is both a lingua franca and the main language for business and government.
posted by rtha at 2:20 PM on October 8, 2013 [2 favorites]

It is somewhat unclear from your question: do you intend to live and work there legally on a visa or do you plan to live and work off the books?
posted by elizardbits at 2:25 PM on October 8, 2013

Best answer: I just brought it up because your friend said they might go with you to help set you up there... sounds like they might end up expecting help with the hostel.

More along the lines of the kind of advice you're looking for: you might want to consider saving up enough to go there for a month and take language lessons. This'll help you with the learning language goal, with adjusting the the country, and will give you a lot of infrastructure to help you settle in. During this month look for various jobs which will definitely be easier to get when you're actually on the ground. Try not to get too distracted from looking by being in an amazing new country and having classwork and new friends.

Tell yourself that you can always "bail" at the end of this one-month period (or a bit longer period if you would like) if it doesn't look like you can manage it. This will give you the confidence to go ahead and take the plunge. I'm sure that if you take the plunge and go about it wisely, that you can pull it off.
posted by cacao at 2:26 PM on October 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I'd like to go there on a visa and work legally, but I don't know how difficult or possible that would be.
posted by thankyouforyourconsideration at 2:34 PM on October 8, 2013

Types of visas? Google is your friend.
posted by Mister Bijou at 2:42 PM on October 8, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks Mister Bijou, I can definitely do research on visas independently, that's why I didn't really ask specific quesitons about it. I guess I'm looking to hear if others have taken off for a year, and been able to do it, and what they thought about it?
Trying to do a sanity check to make sure this isn't a crazy idea... sorry if I'm a little vague. General or specific advice is appreciated. Sometimes people will immediately respond saying "you'll never be able to get a work visa there" or "it's actually way overpriced in Marrakech and you'd better off in Fes", or a million other things that I may not know, so any info about travel, living abroad, working abroad, difficulties, dangers or just what a couple others have said, basically, "Sure, with a little determination, you'll be fine." Is all appreciated!!
posted by thankyouforyourconsideration at 2:48 PM on October 8, 2013

Best answer: Teaching English is probably your best bet. It's possible you might need a cert like the CELTA, but since you studied English, perhaps not. Contact all of the centers here: http://morocco.usembassy.gov/alc.html
posted by StrikeTheViol at 2:50 PM on October 8, 2013

http://www.eslbase.com/schools/morocco is a broader list. I have no firsthand experience, but ads seem to average about $1200-$1300 a month for these jobs, allowing you to cover expenses if you live frugally, but not exactly rake in cash.
posted by StrikeTheViol at 3:01 PM on October 8, 2013

In case you are interested, the Peace Corps operates in Morocco. Here is a blog for you.
posted by gudrun at 3:22 PM on October 8, 2013

Best answer: Of course it's feasible. I taught English abroad for a year, although not in Morocco.
Go for it, and definitely do it before law school... it will influence if and what you study. World/life experience is good. You might like this blog too: http://www.yesandyes.org/.
posted by jrobin276 at 6:42 PM on October 8, 2013

Oh and if you decide not to go to Morocco, there are a LOT of countries father away than Mexico that speak Spanish... ;)
posted by jrobin276 at 6:43 PM on October 8, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks all. Sorry I think my question was poorly phrased, as I'm still formulating my plan. Appreciate the thoughtful answers!
posted by thankyouforyourconsideration at 7:29 AM on October 9, 2013

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