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Updated Program Itinerary

Hello students!

In a little over 20 days, you’ll be touching down in Morocco. Are you excited? We are!

In this Yak post, we wanted to give you a taste of our rough itinerary. Keep in mind that travelling in Morocco is a dynamic process and things can change. Although our location and dates are fixed, our day-to-day schedule can and does shift depending on student interests, availability of guest speakers, and a myriad of other ways life in Morocco can alter our plans. We know this can be challenging for some travelers, so we will do our best to let you know about schedule changes as soon as we do. Yet often some of the most profound and magical times for students can happen during these random, unplanned moments!

Please reach out to us if you have any questions about the itinerary or packing list (which has also been posted). Feel free to post your question to the yak board or you can reach out to your Dragons Instructors: Shino ([email protected]) or Cara ([email protected]) directly.

See you soon!

Your Instructor Team,

Shino and Cara

 

Rough Itinerary – VMS Morocco 2018

February 10 (Saturday) – Casablanca to Moulay Idriss

After a long day of travel, touch down in Casablanca in the morning. Meet Shino and Cara at the Casablanca airport and take the train and taxis to Moulay Idriss. Moulay Idriss is a holy town for Moroccans and located just north of Meknes. This is the place where Moulay Idriss (a great-great-great grandson of the Prophet Mohamed) first arrived in Morocco and he is credited with bringing Islam to the country. What better place for us to begin our journey in Morocco and our investigation of Islam and Moroccan culture?! We will settle into our guest houses and enjoy some bonding activities before a big night of sleep!

February 11 (Sunday) – Moulay Idriss

We spend our first day building a solid group culture of tolerance, inclusion, and support, orienting to important topics of Moroccan cultural norms, health and safety, the basic tenants of Islam, and survival Arabic language skills. We also have some time to explore this unique community that will host us during our orientation.

February 12 (Monday) through February 14 (Wednesday) – Moulay Idriss to Azrou

After another language lesson and some prep for our upcoming homestay, we travel to the town of Azrou (Great Rock) on Sunday late-morning. Azrou is a quaint town surrounded by cedar forests of the Middle Atlas Mountains. Monday through Wednesday, we learn local habits and customs owhile living with host families in this community. We continue to learn about culture and Islam, with guided discussions, guest speakers, and activities aimed at establishing a solid understanding of this traditional culture and important world religion. We also continue to engage in basic Arabic lessons in which students learn useful expressions to help navigate their daily routines. We spend our afternoons and evenings engaging with our Moroccan families and learning about daily life through observation and interaction.

February 15 (Thursday) through February 16 (Friday)

After bidding farewell to Azrou, it’s off to the imperial city of Fez! A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Fez is the largest car-free urban area in the world and home to the oldest existing, continually operating mosque-educational institution on the planet (University of Al Quaraouiyine). We explore the old city (medina), wending our way along the labyrinthine passageways to experience the diversity of the souqs and practice bargaining skills with our newly-acquired language skills. In addition, we continue to engage in discussions and/or guest speakers related to culture and Islam including a focus on the Morocco’s approach to gender rights, indigenous issues, and traditional beliefs. We host a special meal in Fez and also have the option to visit traditional Moroccan baths.

February 17 (Saturday)

Rising very early, we catch a train to Casablanca in hopes that we can catch one of the last tours of the grand Hassan II mosque, one of the largest in the world and the only active mosque in Morocco open to visitors. On our last evening, we have a celebratory meal and begin to reflect on our experience in addition to beginning to discuss how we’ll bring our experience in Morocco back to VMS with us. We spend our last night in the old-city of Casablanca – sleeping early to wake up for our early morning flight the next day.

February 18 (Sunday)

In the morning we make our way to the Casablanca airport, bid Morocco (and Shino and Cara) goodbye, and take off for Denver.