Morocco is generally a safe country, and AALIM students have enjoyed exploring Meknes and Morocco as a whole both with the program and independently. AALIM encourages students to use common sense when out and about: use the buddy system and situational awareness. Remain vigilant of your personal belongings. Our staff will be happy to answer your questions and advise you about avoiding difficult situations when you travel.
In accordance with State Department guidelines, AALIM advises students to try their best to blend in and not draw undue attention to themselves by loud behavior or inappropriate clothing, stay in well-lit popular areas, and avoid places catering uniquely to tourists. Avoid carrying large sums of money or wearing expensive jewelry. You may notice that dress in Morocco is generally more conservative than in the United States. While you may see a wide variety of clothing worn around Meknes, we recommend that students wear loose, lightweight clothing that covers the shoulders, knees, midriff, and cleavage in public and around others to avoid attracting unnecessary attention and to respect local cultural norms. Summers in Meknes are extremely hot and dry, with daytime highs consistently in excess of 100ºF; students should consider this when packing clothing. Winter and spring in the city are moderate, with daytime temperatures staying in the 50s and 60s. Nevertheless, nighttime temperatures in winter regularly dip near freezing and snow is a common occurrence in the mountains around Meknes. Students coming to AALIM for semester and year-long programs should be sure to pack clothing in anticipation of the cooler weather and consider the possibility that they may want to visit much colder or snowier areas in winter — this is a favorite pastime of many Moroccans, and you will likely find the mountains around nearby Ifrane and Azrou packed with Moroccan tourists after a snowfall.
AALIM has a security plan and provides students with contact information for the American Embassy, and offers a security briefing with the Embassy upon arrival for all students. Ensuring students have a safe, fun, and educational experience is our highest priority.
If you are staying in Morocco for any extended period of time, you’ll likely experience some degree of illness while living here. While it is no fun to be sick, fortunately medical care in Morocco’s large cities is excellent, though the doctor-patient relationship may be more formal than you are used to.
All medical expenses are the student’s individual responsibility and must be paid at the time of service. You will receive a receipt which you can turn in to your insurance company. If the student requires attention at a clinic or hospital, AALIM will accompany the student, but the student must pay the medical costs involved. If the student requires medical evacuation, AALIM will work with his or her family and insurance company to facilitate that, but all students must carry medical evacuation insurance valid for the duration of their program.
If a student is ill enough to require medical attention but refuses a doctor, Moroccan law requires that AALIM call a doctor for him or her, and the costs of the doctor’s visit are the student’s responsibility. (A doctor’s visit generally costs less than $50). If a student refuses medical attention on religious grounds, a notarized statement to that effect must be provided with the paperwork before traveling to Morocco.
If you take prescription medication, you should plan to bring enough of it with you to last the duration of your stay in Morocco, in its original bottles or packaging, along with the original prescription for the drug as a precaution. While Moroccan pharmacies offer many common drugs over-the-counter, such as painkillers, cold/flu medicines, birth control, and antibiotics, the exact medicines you take in the U.S. may not be available in Morocco. Epi-pens are not accessible in Morocco and those who carry them should keep this in mind when preparing to travel. Please work with your doctor and insurance company to ensure you have access to the medicines you need during your time in Morocco. AALIM staff will be happy to answer any specific questions you have about obtaining medication here.
Morocco launched a widespread and generally successful COVID-19 vaccination campaign in early 2021, but as in the rest of the world, contracting COVID remains an inherent risk of traveling, interacting, and living with others. AALIM strongly recommends that students are up-to-date on COVID-19 and other vaccinations before traveling to Morocco, as this will facilitate entry into the country (check the latest COVID-19 travel requirements here). PCR and rapid antigen tests are widely available, and AALIM will facilitate PCR testing for students who present with COVID-19 symptoms during their studies.
If a student tests positive for COVID-19, AALIM will facilitate providing them a hotel room, meals, and medicines for their isolation period. Students will be responsible for covering the initial costs of isolation (which may last up to 10 days), but we will provide receipts for all incurred costs in order to facilitate reimbursement via your health insurance provider. More information on COVID-19 protocols will be provided to accepted students prior to the program start date.