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IFMSA-Morocco Logo
Flag of Morocco
Location of Morocco
IFMSA-Morocco
Morocco
Participating cities (Local committees)
Rabat
Casablanca
Languages French & Arabic.
Currency (how much is a Bigmac?) 1 Moroccan Dirham=0.11US$=0.09€
(Bigmac = 3.2 €)
(but McDonald's is not the cheapest
place to eat in Morocco)
Time zone GMT
Number of Doctors and beds per 1000 people 0.68 doctors and 1.30 beds.
Member of IFMSA since... 2012
Number of incoming students per year 100 students.
Who is our NEO Omar CHERKAOUI
Mail: neo@ifmsa-morocco.org
Our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/IfmsaMorocco

Welcome Note

Salam Alaykoum, Merhaba bikoum fil Maghrib (Hello, Welcome to Morocco )
We do our best to provide you the best exchange program ever. Please, read this WikiSCOPE so you can learn more about our country, our traditions and customs, our health care system and our social program.

About IFMSA-Morocco

IFMSA-Morocco was founded in April 2012 by the collaboration of 2 LCs :

  • Local Committee of Rabat : Méd'Ociation
  • Local Committee of Casablanca : AEMC

IFMSA-Morocco was accepted by the International Federation of Medical Students' Associations (IFMSA) as candidate member during the August Meeting 2012 in Mumbai (India).

Any student of a medical faculty in Morocco, moroccan or not, can become a member of IFMSA Morocco. The membership is voluntary. We have 373 Active Members and we represent 5835 medical students.

Our missions are :

  • Representing IFMSA-Morocco at an international level
  • Increasing the participation of Moroccan medical students in different projects
  • Providing opportunities for internships, training and activities

Overview

About the country

Morocco, officially the Kingdom of Morocco, is an exciting destination in Northern Africa. It is bordered by Spain to the north, Algeria to the east, and Mauritania to the south. It has a population of over 32 million and an area of 710.000 Km². The political capital of Morocco is Rabat, although the largest city is Casablanca. Morocco has both Atlantic and Mediterranean coastlines, and many of the large towns are also coastal, including the fabulous trading cities of Casablanca, Agadir and Rabat. Inland, on the edge of the Atlas Mountains, lie the equally enticing towns of Fés, Marrakesh and Meknès. Morocco is a safe and moderate country that offers a fascinating taste of Africa and gives you the opportunity to learn more about the Arabic and Islamic influences that are shaping the world. Almost all Moroccans speak either Berber, Moroccan Arabic or French as mother tongues.

Map of Morocco

History

Coat of arms of Morocco

The History of Morocco spans over 12 centuries, without considering the Classical antiquity. The country was first unified by the Idrisid dynasty in 789, representing the first Islamic state in Africa autonomous from the Arab Empire. Under the Almoravid dynasty and the Almohad dynasty, Morocco dominated the Maghreb and Muslim Spain. The Reconquista ended Almohad rule in Iberia and many Muslims and Jews migrated to Morocco. Under the Saadi dynasty, Morocco would consolidate power and fight off Portuguese and Ottoman invaders, as in the battle of Ksar el Kebir. The reign of Ahmad al-Mansur brought new wealth and prestige to the Sultanate, and an invasion of the Songhay Empire was initiated. However managing the territories across the Sahara proved to be difficult. After the death of al-Mansur the country was divided among his sons. In 1666 the sultanate was reunited by the Alaouite dynasty, who have since been the ruling house of Morocco. The organization of the state developed with Ismail Ibn Sharif. With his Black Guard he drove the English from Tangier (1684) and the Spanish from Larache (1689). The Alaouite dynasty distinguished itself in the 19th century by maintaining Moroccan independence while other states in the region succumbed to European interests. In 1912, after the First Moroccan Crisis and the Agadir Crisis, the Treaty of Fez was signed, effectively dividing Morocco into a French and Spanish protectorate. In 1956, after 44 years of occupation Morocco regained independence from France as the Kingdom of Morocco.

Climate

The climate is Mediterranean in the North and in some mountains (West of Atlas), which becomes more extreme towards the interior regions. The terrain is such that the coastal plains are rich and accordingly, they comprise the backbone for agriculture, especially in the North. Forests cover about 12% of the land while arable land accounts for 18%; 5% is irrigated. In the Atlas (Middle Atlas), there are several different climates: Mediterranean (with some more humid and fresher variants), Maritime Temperate (with some humid and fresher variants too) that allow different species of oaks, moss carpets, junipers, atlantic cedars and many other plants, to form extensive and very rich humid cloud forests. In the highest peaks a different climate may occur. On the other side of Atlas mountains (East Atlas), the climate changes, due to the barrier/shelter effect of these mountainous system, turning it very dry and extremely warm during the summer (that can last several months), especially on the lowlands and on the valleys faced to the Sahara. Here it starts the big Desert Sahara and it is perfectly visible, for example, on the Draa Valley, on which it is possible to find oases, sand dunes and rocky desert landscapes. So the climate in this region is desert.

Health care system

University Hospital "Ibn Sina"

At present, Morocco is looking into ways and means for the setting up of a health system liable to satisfy the requirements of the end of this century while taking into account the socio-economic constraints. The current health system comprises three sectors: a public sector consisting of the structures of the ministry of public Health together with those of the Health services of the Royal Armed Forces, a semipublic sector, and a private sector.

There is 5 medical schools in Morocco :

  • Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy of Rabat (Which is the first one created, in 1962)
  • Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy of Casablanca
  • Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy of Marrakech
  • Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy of Oujda
  • Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy of Fès.

Medical students from Rabat attend their clerkship in 11 University Hospitals (9 in Rabat, and 2 in Salé, which is a city seperated from Rabat by a river : Bouregrag)
Medical students from Casablanca attend their clerkship in 2 different University Hospitals.

The hospitals

Working Conditions
Working Conditions

Interning on our University Hospitals in Morocco will provide you with an excellent opportunity to learn about medical practices in another culture. On your first day of work, you will be introduced to your internship supervisor who will always be on hand to help you throughout your stay at the hospital. Although you will find that you spend a lot of time learning by shadowing staff. As our clerkships are more practical than observational, it is frequently possible to have a more active role. If you show enthusiasm and initiative and you manage to develop a good relationship with the medical staff, you may find that you gain enough trust to be given more to do. The clinic expects you to arrive punctually. You're expected to work from 8 or 9 until 12 or 13. If you ask nicely enough, a day or two off is possible for longer trips around the country. You can also work willingly in the emergency department. Please,notice that only poor patients go to public hospitals where we attend our clerkships; so, consider it as a humanitarian job.

Education

Faculty of Medicine of Casablanca
Faculty of Medicine of Rabat

We have 5 universities in Morocco that provides medical studies : Rabat, Casablanca, Marrakech, Fès and Oujda. You can enter university after the High School that takes 12 years.
In first and second year, students learn about fondamental sciences, human and social sciences, cellular and molecular biology, physiology, anatomy, immunology, bacteriology and some other sciences. At the end of our second year, we start our clerkships in hospital by 3 weeks of nurse training.
In third yead we treat semiotics, parasitology, haematology, dermatology, pathologic anatomy, infectious diseases, radiology...
We also have during all the year and for the rest of our studies clerkships in hospital in the morning, and classes in the afternoon.
In our sixth year, we can start our internship (2 years) and then we can choose residency (3 to 4 more years)

Exchange conditions

All necessary information can be found on this website : Soon

Must see in Morocco

Marrakech

Place Jamaa El Fna
Koutoubia Mosque
Majorelle Garden


A holiday in Morocco is not complete without an extended visit to Marrakech, the Imperial City of Morocco situated at the base of the Atlas Mountains. There are many things to experience in this city, but you should visit the Jamaa el Fna in the centre of the old city. This square is the home of orange juice stalls and snake charmers, dancers and story tellers, magicians and peddlers. It is a kaleidoscope of colours and as dark falls it becomes a food market where you can purchase some of the amazing culinary delights of Morocco and eat them in the chill of the desert evening.
Around the edge of the Jamaa el Fna you will find the Koutoubia Mosque which is the largest mosque in Marrakech. The minaret was completed under the reign of the Almohad Caliph Yaqub al-Mansur (1184-1199) and was used as the model for the Giralda of Seville and for the Hassan Tower of Rabat.
Finally, you have to visit the Majorelle Garden which is a twelve-acre botanical garden and artist's landscape garde designed by the expatriate French artist Jacques Majorelle in the 1920s and 1930s.


Ramparts of Essaouira



Essaouira
This Atlantic coast beach is a favourite of wind and kite surfers due to the often shallow waters. It was once a favourite haunt of Bob Marley and Jimi Hendrix, though times have moved on since then.

As well as the beach there is also plenty to experience in the town, which is typical of many small fortified Moroccan townships. At one time it was a very important port, it is still a fishing port, and it was a trading post in 400 BC; it is now a World Heritage City.

Leather tannery in Fes

Fes
Fes is the oldest city in the country and the Medina (or Fes el-Bali) is a World Heritage site. There is nowhere in Morocco that has quite the vibrancy and culture of Fes, and in particular the Fes el-Bali, so a visit to it should be an essential destination on your itinerary. It is worthwhile paying for a guide to take you through its maze of streets and to show you the important sites and explain some of its history. Hiring a guide for a half or even a full day is quite inexpensive and an investment worth making.

In the Fes el-Bali you will take a trip back in time, you will find yourself in a place that is unique to your experience and which others have described as life changing. Many of the houses to be found in the labyrinth of tiny streets can only be accessed by drop ladders; you will find Royal gardens, Mosques, the workshops of local artisans, fountains and several monuments; but most of all your senses will be overwhelmed by the variety of things you will experience.

Film props at Atlas Studios

Ouarzazate
The town is chiefly inhabited by Berbers, who constructed many of the prominent kasbahs and buildings for which the area is known. Ouarzazate is an important holiday destination in Morocco, as a base for excursions across the Draa Valley and into the desert. The Ouarzazate area is also a noted film-making location, with Morocco's biggest studios inviting many international film companies to shoot their films (Films such as Gladiator, Legionnaire, Kingdom of heaven ...)

Kasbahs in Aït Benhaddou

Ait Benhaddou
At the west of Ouarzazate, you'll find Ait Benhaddhu, in the Draa Valley, which is a desert fortress that will make you think of Hollywood films, mainly because it has been in so many of them and yet this set is the real thing. There’s a reason Hollywood loves it so much. Aït Benhaddou has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987.

Chefchaouen
Sand dunes in Morocco

Sahara
Visit the Sahara. Whether you go to Ouarzazate, Ait Benhaddou, Merzouga or another spot, the essential thing to do in Morocco is to visit the world’s largest desert of sand. You can ride a camel or take a 4×4 but you must see the Sahara.

Chefchaouen
Stroll through Chefchauen. The funky town of Chefchauen in the northwest of Morocco is painted blue because it has always been a refuge for those who move to the beat of a different drum. In this case Jewish refugees from Europe. It’s like being in a different world.

Ifrane, "Morocco's Switzerland"

Ifrane
Ifrane (nicknamed Little Switzerland)is a town and ski resort in the Middle Atlas region of Morocco. Developed by the French during the protectorate era for their administration due to its Alpine climate, this Moroccan town has a remarkable European style, as if it were an Alpine village.

Malabata Coast in Tangier

Tangier
Tangier is a city in northern Morocco. It lies on the North African coast at the western entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar where the Mediterranean meets the Atlantic Ocean off Cape Spartel. The history of Tangier is very rich due to the historical presence of many civilizations and cultures starting from the 5th century BC. Between the period of being a Berber settlement and then a Phoenician town to the independence era around the 1950s, Tangier was a refuge for many cultures. In 1923, Tangier was considered as having international status by foreign colonial powers, and became a destination for many European and American diplomats, spies, writers and businessmen.

Accommodation and Boarding

It depends on the Local Committee. Please check the pages of the different LC's for more information.

Social program

Social program depends on LC, please check the LC's page for more information.

Cultural differences

Zellige, the Moroccan mosaic
A moroccan Kaftan

Morocco is a country with a multiethnic society and a rich culture, civilization, and etiquette. Throughout Moroccan history, Morocco has hosted many peoples, in addition to the indigenous Berbers, coming from the East (Phoenicians, Jews, and Arabs), South (Sub-Saharan African), and North (Romans and Vandals). All of these have had an impact on the social structure of Morocco. It has also hosted many forms of belief, from Paganism, Judaism, Christianity to Islam.

Traditional clothing

The traditional dress for men and women is called djellaba; a long, loose, hooded garment with full sleeves. For special occasions, men also wear a red cap called a bernousse, more commonly referred to as a Fez. Women wear kaftans decorated with ornaments. Nearly all men, and most women, wear balgha —- soft leather slippers with no heel, often dyed yellow. Women also wear high-heeled sandals, often with silver or gold tinsel.

Riad in Morocco

Domestic architecture

Dar, the name given to one of the most common types of domestic structures in Morocco, is a home found in a medina, or walled urban area of a city. Dar exteriors are typically devoid of ornamentation and windows, except occasional small openings in secondary quarters, such as stairways and service areas. These piercings provide light and ventilation. Dars are typically composed of thick, high walls that protect inhabitants from thievery, animals, and other such hazards; however, they have a much more symbolic value from an Arabic perspective. In this culture the exterior represents a place of work, while the interior represents a place of refuge. Thus, Moroccan interiors are often very lavish in decoration and craft. Consistent with most Islamic architecture, dars are based around small open-air patios, surrounded by very tall thick walls, to block direct light and minimize heat. Enjoy typical Moroccan hospitality with a stay at a riad, which is usually a palace or grand courtyard home that has been turned into a luxury boutique hotel or bed and breakfast.

Couscous

Cuisine

Moroccan cuisine is home to Berber, Moorish, and Arab influences. It is known for dishes like couscous, pastilla, and others. Sweets like halwa are popular, as well as other sweets. Cuisines from neighbouring countries also influence the country's culinary traditions. Delicious Moroccan cuisine will have you asking for more. You also have to try tajine, a subtly-flavoured stew using lamb, chicken or fish.
Taste the moroccan tea, which is a green tea with mint leaves. It is served not only at mealtimes but all through the day, and it is especially a drink of hospitality, commonly served whenever there are guests. It is almost impolite to refuse it ;)

After your exchange in Morocco, you will have tasted almost all the moroccan dishes/drinks.

Fantasia

Music

Music, dance and Arab traditions such as storytelling and horse riding are at the fore of Morocco’s moussems, held throughout the country and incorporating a fair and a religious celebration. Top picks include the rose moussem at Kelaat M’Gouna near Ouarzazate and the date festival at Erfoud on the edge of the desert. Many festivals are held during all the year, in different cities. The most famous are : Jazzablanca, Festival de fès des musiques sacrées du monde(June), Festival international du film de Marrakech (November), ESSAOUIRA Gnaoua (June), Mawazine Festival (A world known festival, May) ...



Local & national transportation

Air

Mohammed V International Airport in Casablanca, on the west coast of Morocco, is the country’s main air gateway. It operates frequent domestic flights as well as European connections to mainly French and Spanish airports and some North American, Middle Eastern and African destinations. There is also a smaller airport, Casablanca Anfa Airport, to the west of the city, which offers flights to Sydney, Tunis and Damascus. Airlines operating from here include Air France, Emirates, GB Airways and Lufthansa. Facilities at the airport are adequate, with waiting lounges, eateries and limited shopping and banking facilities.

Other primary air hubs are stationed at Rabat, Marrakech, Al Hoceima, Fez, Laayoune, Nador and Tangier, but they invariably only offer international connections to France and other limited European cities.

Road

  • Unless you don’t plan to travel far, taking a train is a more comfortable alternative than taking a bus; however, a ride on a Moroccan bus can be a memorable experience that saves you money. Buses are particularly useful if you want to reach destinations that are not served by train.
  • Car rental agencies are available at all of Morocco’s major airports and in many of the main towns and cities, with both reputable international firms and local agencies represented. While sometimes a hair-raising experience in the larger cities, car travel trough rural Morocco can be a fantastic experience, giving you the freedom to get off the beaten track.
  • Taxis are a popular means of getting around in Morocco, with both short distance (petite) and long distance (grande) services in place. Meters are supposedly obligatory by law, but in reality you will find many cabs don’t use them, making it essential you agree on the fare before setting off on your journey.

Rail

Travelling by train is an excellent way to get around the country, with all major cities well linked and they have major train stations with services across the country. The larger train stations have good facilities including left luggage, newsstands and cash machines. A ticket for the train ride Marrakesh-Rabat costs 101 Dirhams (About 9 euros) in second class, from Rabat to Fes it is 72 Dirhams (About 6 euros). First class costs half more. There is not so much difference in luxury. The main difference is actually that you are sure of a seat in first class, as there is a seat number on your ticket; on busy days and hours, there is a big chance you will have to stand a long part of your trip in the hall when choosing second class. All times and fares of the Moroccan railways are available online on http://www.oncf.ma

Drugs, alcohol and smoking

In Morocco it is illegal to take any kind of recreational drugs. The legal drinking age is 18 for alcoholic drinks. Note that smoking is allowed in public places, unless explicitly specified.

Cities offered for exchange

Rabat

Casablanca