Aaron Bhatt - Capstone 2016-2017
Maya Hardimon - Capstone 2016-2017
Sarah Brown - Capstone 2016-2016
Things to Bring
For those of you who plan to go on Capstone next year or just want an overview of what to bring/expect for a year abroad in Morocco, here's the guide for you!
Boy can wear whatever they like - tank tops, shorts, etc. For girls it is advisable to wear clothes that cover your shoulders and your knees. You can wear tight pants or leggings but in that case you may want to wear a longer shirt - in the end, it is all about what you're comfortable with.
Besides the normal underwear/socks/shirts/pants/pajamas, here are things of note:
- scarf for girls (to wear as a hijab if needed or as an accessory)
- one pair of dress clothes (for special occasions)
- one sundress/cover-up (for beach weekends)
- bathing suit (one-piece or two-piece for girls - again, it's what you're comfortable with)
- warm long pajamas to wear under clothes (it gets cold in winter and there's no indoor heating)
- workout clothes
- shoes: sandals (try to get one with a thicker sole, like Tevas or Birkenstocks) or slip-ons, boots for colder weather, rain boots, tennis shoes, slippers/flip-flops to wear exclusively indoors (Moroccans think you'll get sick if you walk barefoot on cold floors)
A winter coat is recommended, but if you want to save room in your suitcase there is a pretty good selection of coats in the clothing stores around Hamriya.
Be prepared to get sick of wearing the same things over and over - but on the plus side you can always donate these items at the end of the program to make room in your suitcase!
The rule of thumb seems to be that if you have special products that you use, bring them from home - if not, wait to buy until you're in country so you can open up more space in your luggage. The exception to this would be ...
- deodorant (most will agree that deodorant in Morocco is ineffective/of poor quality)
- conditioner (more expensive in Morocco - rather than bring a big bottle that would take up space I filled up a bunch of travel bottles)
- sunscreen (also more expensive in Morocco)
There are brands here familiar to Americans such as Vaseline and Nivea. Girls, there is not a wide selection of makeup so it may be best to bring from home, and both tampons and pads are available at Carrefour.
Also bring travel bottles to use during weekend/program trips! They will also come in handy during Pre-Departure Orientation in DC before leaving for Morocco. When I did the summer program, I only brought travel bottle quantities of my toiletries and was able to make it last for two months.
BOOKS & RESOURCES
If you really like writing on lined paper and not graph paper, I would definitely recommend bringing your own notebooks for the year - lined paper notebooks are really expensive here. Index cards also aren't very available, so I would bring your own or revert to online flashcards such as via Quizlet.
There are many dictionary type resources online (including Hans Wehr), so I would not waste space with an Arabic dictionary. You can bring all your Al-Kitaabs if you really want, but I haven't heard from anyone who wishes they had brought them.
For those who like staying organized, bring a planner - you won't regret it! You can also write all of your family and friends' contact info inside!
If you really like mechanical pencils, pack them. Also pack Sharpies if you think you'll use them. Most other pens, highlighters, and standard pencils can be found easily here - and for the artists out there, acrylic and watercolor paints, canvases, and paintbrushes are also around.
In case you were considering not bringing one, BRING YOUR LAPTOP. You will need it for research and writing papers. Also considering bringing a back-up drive for your computer (we had a couple of computers die this year). You'll need at least one flash drive (4GB or higher) in order to print stuff at the center, and transfer audio files for class from the center's computers to your own.
Do pack an extra phone cord/charger and earbuds in case of loss/theft/damage.
Concerning plugs - most fit Type C, but Type E & F are also present. More info can be found both here and below concerning what types of plugs to bring:
- plug converters to change the wattage for a small electronic device or small appliance that has a low voltage (cell-phone, Kindle, hair-dryer, etc. - you can potentially damage your device not using a converter)
- plug adapters to change the plug shape for electronic devices which automatically convert the voltage (for your laptop, for example)
- plug transformers to plug-in larger devices (less likely to need)
Other things to consider:
- portable charger/power pack for cell phone
- small external speaker for music or watching movies on your computer
- travel fans (such as hand-held battery powered fan or USB-powered fan - the summer is hot!)
It may not be worth it to pack food at first since you'll be with a host family (assuming you plan to move out) and there are more important things to pack initially, but keep in mind that these food items are harder to find in Morocco:
- brown sugar
- vanilla extract
- chocolate chips (there are chocolate bars you can cut up for baking as well)
- cocoa powder
- peanut butter (it's at Carrefour, but it's expensive for the quantity you get)
- baking powder and soda (they use baking yeast instead)
- brown rice and quinoa
- some spices (such as cajun seasoning, curry powder, etc.)
Now if you're looking ahead to Thanksgiving, definitely bring cranberry sauce (cranberries are not to be found in Morocco), pumpkin puree (there are pumpkins but they're different), and pumpkin pie spice with you. I personally also brought agave, chia seeds, and Sriracha back from break with me!
Additionally, if you really like coffee but don't like Nescafe (instant coffee), I have friends who have brought French presses with them for the ground coffee here (coffee machines aren't common) or Starbucks VIA packets. Carrion Cafe (Moroccan coffee supplier) has a shop near Souq Markazi in Hamriya that stocks good ground coffee.
- beach towel (I bought a microfiber quick-dry towel via Amazon which did save me a lot of room, and doubled as a regular towel when I needed it)
- medicine (Pepto Bismol, NyQuil, DayQuil, aspirin, vitamins, whatever else you may need)
- reusable grocery bags (definitely been useful for apartment life)
- travel wine bottle opener and wine stoppers (you'll thank me later)
- Kleenex and hand sanitizer (both can also be found at Carrefour - not all bathrooms have toilet paper or soap)
- duffel bag or smaller suitcase (for weekend trips)
- water bottle and/or travel mug for coffee/tea (both are hard to find)
- measuring cups + spoons for baking
If any other Capstone friends are reading this, feel free to comment with your own suggestions!