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Morocco Trip Open to the Public, March 9-18, 2018 - Registration deadline January 15 - Price Rising December 22, 2017

Friday, March 9, 2018 (All day)

DC Internationals, LLC -- Middle East South Asia Language Institute – MESALI
1050 Connecticut Avenue, NW Fifth Floor
Washington, DC 20036
Dcinternationals.com

Morocco Educational and Cultural Trip

DC Internationals’ MESALI will once again sponsor an all-inclusive unique educational and cultural trip to the exotic lands of the Kingdom of Morocco. Open to the public, this eight night, nine day immersion experience scheduled March 9--March 18, 2018 will expose trip participants to an array of Moroccan cities and villages, including Rabat, Fes, Erfoud, Marzooga, Ouarzazate, Marrakech, Essoura, and more surprise venues. The main purpose of this trip is to experience the true Morocco, while having a fabulous time. To truly differentiate this exceptional immersion experience from generic tours, DC Internationals’ MESALI has worked with its local partners to arrange private workshops at local Moroccan artisan cooperatives, including workshops in Argan oil and cosmetics production, tanneries and leather goods production, pottery and tajine sculpting, cane/straw weaving,  as well as Moroccan cookie baking, and much more. We will have dinner in Moroccan families' homes, learn how to cook couscous and tajine, and then enjoy our newly acquired culinary skills.

To gain a deeper perspective  into  the fascinating Moroccan culture, travelers will hear lectures in English from university professors, non-profit leaders, and professionals who will address cutting edge issues affecting modern Moroccan politics, religion, art, and life.

From MESALI's Rabat and Washington,DC school venues, MESALI  Adjunct Professors  will provide optional Arabic lessons throughout the trip that are suitable for a wide range of skills and backgrounds, with emphasis on practical interaction with locals at shops, restaurants, etc.  These multiple levels of daily Arabic lessons are for beginners through advanced Arabic speakers to enrich daily interactions with everyday Moroccan artisans, shopkeepers, coffee shop workers, and whomever we meet during this adventure. With your newly acquired basic or improved Arabic skills, you will become more local, as you negotiate in Arabic, prices in the "souk" market spice shop, pottery shop etc. Again, all lectures and Arabic lessons are voluntary, welcoming to beginners, and unintimidating.

We will gaze upon the blue waters of the African Atlantic Ocean, hike through the Berber Middle Atlas Mountains, and in the Sahara Desert, we will take a camel trek, overnight in the dunes, and marvel in wonder as the Moroccan Sahara glows red from the sun rising over Algeria in the distance. Travelers will explore by foot the labrynth Old City of Fes, "Medina Qadima", the largest UNESCO pedestrian area in the world, "love Jamma Al-Fanna" -- the largest merchant and entertainment square in Africa, and become enchanted by the famous Moroccan music styles of Andalusia, Ganawa, and Shaab music styles, during private concerts for our group.

Highlight of a Few Destinations We Will Visit

Rabat: Located on the blue waters of the African Atlantic Ocean, Rabat serves as the seat of the modern Moroccan capital, home to the national Parliament, Mohammed V University, and King Mohammed VI’s home and “le palais royal.” One can walk along the ramparts of the Ouidaya, the old city over looking the river and see Shalla, Rabat’s sister city. Exuding charm and sophistication, Rabaties might go shopping in the souk of Medina Qadima(old city), before enjoying an evening play at the Mohammed V National Theatre.

Fez: Known as the religious capital and venue of the annual religious spiritual festival,   Fez lays claim to the home of historical Jewish thinker,  Rabbi Rambam,  and Qadais, the oldest Islamic university in the world. This relatively conservative city is home to a UNESCO heritage site,  the world’s largest pedestrian area, within the Medina Qadima(old city). One may observe Fezis making leather goods in tanneries, creating beautifully colored tiles in shops, and or listening to a uniquely Fezi-Andalusian musical performance, which stems from Andalusia, where the Moors ruled Southern Spain for hundreds of years.

Ouarzazate: In South Central Morocco, Ouarzazate is at an elevation of 3,810 feet in the middle of a bare plateau South of the High Atlas Mountains. Known as the gateway to the Sahara and the Hollywood of Morocco, Ouarzazate has in part helped produce “Lawrence of Arabia,” “The Mountains Have Eyes,” and “The Mummy.” Nearby UNESCO World Heritage Site Ait Ben Haddou Qasba has featured scenes in “Gladiator,”and “Game of Thrones.” Surrounded by the Middle Atlas Mountains, villages around this city highlight the Tamizeert language, carpet making, and Berber music.

Marzooga: Epitomizing a once in a lifetime experience, the village of Marzooga is located in Morocco’s Southeastern Sahara Desert. Travelers experience the Berber culture by taking a camel trek across the Sahara, camping in tents beneath the desert star lit sky, and watching the sunrise over the reddish dunes.

Marrakesh: As Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young sing, “all aboard the Marrakesh Express,”  to Morocco’s most famous city. Learn the history of and visit the Ben Yousef Madrassa, Bahia Palace, and the Koutobia Mosque. Visit artisan sections of the souks to witness traditional Moroccan handicrafts in the process of being created. At Jemaa El F’na, Africa’s most famous public square,  take a picture with a monkey on your shoulder, watch a snake charmer, and enjoy Berbe music. At night, eat dinner at Jemaa El F’na for impromptu set up food stalls. Dinner may include harira, cous cous, tajine, or even sheep’s head.

How we are different from other Moroccan trips

  • Accessing Moroccan cutting edge experts delivering  professional lectures you can’t arrange on your own,
  • Supporting local cooperatives and artisans’ crafts, professions, and livelihoods,
  • Engaging locals,
  • Learning  first-hand how Moroccan products are made through custom made workshops,
  • Teaching Arabic everyday in classes with MESALI adjunct professors, no matter one’s language level—Arabic classes are optional
  • Providing academic readings prior to the trip, to prepare for on the ground lectures, tours, and experiences
  • Providing medical and baggage insurance

This comprehensive package includes:

  • Round trip airfare from Washington,  Dulles to Casa Blanca
  • Eight nights and nine days of housing in local Moroccan traditional Riads and Moroccan accommodations,
  • All inter and intra-city ground transportation via mini-bus. This includes gas, parking, tolls etc.
  • Nine breakfasts
  • Five dinners
  • Five lunches
  • All daily Arabic group classes and private lessons. Absolute beginners through advanced levels of Arabic lessons will be taught.
  • Participation in privately arranged Moroccan cooperative workshops and subsequently receiving artisan craft gifts,
  • Participation in all professional lectures in English, English, Arabic, and French officially licensed tour guides and translators,
  • Accompanying DC Internationals’ MESALI staff

Cost and Refund Policy

This comprehensive group package, including airfare and ground transportation,  only costs $2,900. To benefit from this price, full payment must be received no later than December 22, 2017. The registration deadline is January 15, 2018.  Prices rise after December 22, 2017. There are no refunds after January 5, 2018. Group size is limited, so we recommend enrolling before seats sell out.

To secure participation at the $2,900 price, please send  a check or money order to DC Internationals:

DC Internationals
1050 Connecticut Ave, NW, Fifth Floor
Washington, DC 20036

To pay by credit card, visit dcinternationals.com, and click "make a payment".

Preparing for the Trip

Dates: March 9—March 18, 2018

Accommodations: The aforementioned package provides combinations of double and single beds per room. Sleeping arrangements presumes sharing rooms with friends, newly made friends, or strangers. Optional private bedrooms are available for $20 extra per night.  Plans for private rooms must be made in advance and conveyed to DC Internationals’ staff, when registering for the program.

Flight Details

Royal Air Maroc (RAM)
Depart Washington, DC, Dulles(IAD), Friday March 9, 2018, 9:30PM
Arrive Casablanca (Mohammed V), Saturday, March 10, 2018, 9:20AM
Depart Casablanca (Mohammed V), Sunday March 18, 2018, 3:20PM
Arrive Washington DC, Dulles (IAD), Sunday, March 18, 2018, 7:40PM

Insurance

As part of this package deal, DC Internationals is purchasing for each traveler, medical and baggage insurance through Travel Guard Insurance (travelguard.com). Each traveler is required to have this medical and baggage insurance, and is expected to work with DC Internationals and Travel Guard Insurance, to secure the arrangements. Upon request, DC Internationals can provide the details of the insurance.

Optional Preparatory Academic Reading

Far in advance of the trip, Mesali will provide reading lists for all enrolled travelers. The reading lists are meant to enhance travelers’ context and understanding of Morocco’s history, society, religions, and politics, as well as the lectures that will enrich these readings. While the readings are not mandatory, they are strongly recommended.

Preparatory Meetings Before the Trip

For its guest travelers’, DC Internationals’ MESALI will arrange some voluntary meetings and lectures.  Prospective meetings include a meeting with the former U.S. Ambassador to Morocco, U.S. Department of State Morocco desk officer, and think tank Moroccan experts. At these meetings, we will have opportunities to discuss the trip and any concerns.

DC Internationals’ MESALI and its local partners carefully crafted the trip and its activities, to provide a full, enriching, and exceptional experience. While everyone is fully encouraged to participate in all the activities, we understand and welcome travelers’ personal decisions to opt out of any particular activity; however, doing so does not entitle participants to any compensation.

Please feel free to send questions to ross@dcinternationals.com