I chose to go to Morocco after teaching in Costa Rica because I wanted an experience that was totally different. I didn’t speak the language there and had limited knowledge of the religion, but I was eager to learn. I knew, no matter what, it was going to be a big adventure!
I found my job on Dave’s ESL Café, a website that posts teaching jobs in countries all over the world. The position was teaching all ages at a language school, and it required a TEFL certificate, a college degree in any subject, and some previous experience teaching abroad. The salary was about 1,200 USD per month, and though accommodations were not included in the contract, the employer would help me find an apartment. I sent my resume, was asked to set up a Skype interview with the school director, and before I knew it, I had the job.
Arriving in Morocco was surreal, especially after travelling for 20 hours from the States. As the director drove me home from the airport, I remember looking out the car window and asking him about the people exercising in the grass on the side of the road. I was pretty embarrassed when he explained with a smile that they weren’t exercising, but kneeling in prayer, as they did five times a day. I definitely had a lot to learn.
Even with the giant learning curve I faced adjusting to life in Morocco, it was an amazing place and actually a lot like you probably picture it. I drank mint tea in sidewalk cafes, shopped for spices in the winding chaos of the souks, and ate couscous on Fridays with my students. I quickly got used to hearing the city-wide call to prayer five times a day, stopping people in their tracks to drop and pray (not exercise!) or sending them streaming silently into the many mosques. Though I felt like an outsider with my light hair and “strange” American ways, I found the culture unlike anything I had experienced before, and fascinating to observe.
I will never forget my year-long adventure teaching English in Morocco. Though it was not the three-year fiesta that Costa Rica was, I learned a lot living there, and I would encourage anyone looking to leave their comfort zone and get a taste of something totally different, to go ahead and make the leap. With any luck, you will never be the same.