DC Internationals MESALI

Washington DC International School and Institute -- Foreign Language Classes, Morocco Cultural Trips, and Performances

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MOROCCO TRIP OPEN TO THE PUBLIC, MARCH 1-10, 2019 - REGISTRATION DEADLINE NOVEMBER 28

DC Internationals’ MESALI will once again sponsor a comprehensive 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 1 - March 10, 2019 will expose trip participants to an array of Moroccan cities and villages, including Rabat, Fes, Rissani, Merzouga, Ouarzazate, Marrakech, Essaouira, 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, tile artistry, as well as Moroccan cookie baking, and much more. We will have dinner and cooking classes in Moroccan families' homes, learn how to cook couscous and tagine, 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.

For travelers interested to participate in charitable, social justice and social services work, DC Internationals can arrange optional volunteer experiences throughout the journey. Through our wide on-the-ground local partnerships with Moroccan schools for the disabled, women’s and development Non-Governmental Organizations, DC Internationals participants can make the world better through volunteering and service to others. See how it feels to see through the eyes of blind children, as you work with teachers and students to improve disabled children’s lives at a Moroccan school for the blind. Cook and deliver Moroccan meals at an NGO for abused women, to help strengthen their financial independence and provide them a safe space, to live and work.

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 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.

 

Moroccan Cooking Class in Morocco:

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 overlooking 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.

Fes: Known as the religious capital and venue of the annual religious spiritual festival,  Fes 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 Fes locals making leather goods in tanneries, creating beautifully colored tiles in shops, and or listening to a uniquely Fesi-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 High Atlas Mountains, villages around this city highlight the Tamizeert language, carpet making, and Berber music.

Merzouga: 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 Youssef Madrasa, Bahia Palace, and the Koutoubia Mosque. Visit artisan sections of the souks to witness traditional Moroccan handicrafts in the process of being created. At Jemaa El Fna, Africa’s most famous public square,  take a picture with a monkey on your shoulder, watch a snake charmer, and enjoy Berber music. At night, eat dinner at Jemaa El Fna for impromptu set up food stalls. Dinner may include harira, couscous, tajine, or even sheep’s head.

How we are different from other Moroccan trips

  • Accessing Moroccan cutting edge experts delivering  guided tours and professional lectures you can’t arrange on your own,
  • Supporting local cooperatives and artisans’ crafts, professions, and livelihoods,
  • Volunteering and providing  social services for blind children and abused women at an NGO for abused women, and a school for the blind,
  • 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 optional academic readings prior to the trip, for context and enrichment for on the ground lectures, tours, and experiences
  • Providing medical and baggage insurance

This comprehensive package includes:

  • Round trip airfare from either Washington,  Dulles or New York JFK to Casablanca
  • 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
  • Nine breakfasts
  • Five dinners
  • Five lunches
  • All daily Arabic group classes and private lessons. Arabic lessons will teach absolute beginners through advanced levels.  
  • Participation in privately arranged Moroccan cooperative workshops  ,
  • Participation in all professional lectures in 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 $3,200 . Couples receive a combined $400 discount, $2,999 x 2 persons, and must share a double bed.  To benefit from this early bird price, full payment must be received no later than November 28, 2018. The price will increase. There are no refunds after December 21, 2018. Group size is small and limited, so we recommend enrolling before seats sell out.

To secure participation, please email ross@dcinternationals.com, and 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". Checks are preferred.

Preparing for the Trip

Dates: March 1—March 10, 2019

Accommodations: The aforementioned package provides combinations of double and single beds per room; however couples receive a double bed.  Sleeping arrangements presumes sharing rooms with friends, newly made friends, or strangers. Optional private bedrooms are available for $30 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 - Direct round trip flight!

Option One:

Royal Air Maroc (RAM)

Depart Washington, DC, Dulles(IAD), Friday March 1, 2019, 9:30PM

Arrive Casablanca (Mohammed V), Saturday, March 2, 2019, 9:20AM

Depart Casablanca (Mohammed V), Sunday March 10, 2019, 3:20PM

Arrive Washington DC, Dulles (IAD), Sunday, March 10, 2019, 7:40PM

 

Option Two:

Royal Air Maroc (RAM)

Depart New York, JFK  Friday March 1, 2019, 8:05 PM

Arrive Casablanca (Mohammed V), Saturday, March 2, 2019, 9:20AM

Depart Casablanca (Mohammed V), Sunday March 10, 2019, 3:20PM

Arrive New York , JFK  Sunday, March 10, 2019, 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.

Expectations of Participants 

Participants are expected to show respect for local cultures’ customs and morays. Additionally, absolutely no alcohol or drugs are permitted in the housing accomodations, bus, or group activities.

Participants should expect to walk, on sidewalks and  cobblestone alleyways. Additional walks may occur on sand or optional mountain trekking.

Preparatory Optional Academic Reading

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. 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.

 

 

What Past Participants Say:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Preparatory Optional Academic Reading

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. 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.